The Thing About Today – December 1

December 1, 2020
Day 336 of 366

December 1st is the 336th day of the year. There are 30 days remaining in 2020.

It is Great Union Day (Ziua Marii Uniri) in Romania, marking the unification of Transylvania, Bessarabia, and Bukovina with the Romanian Kingdom in 1918.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Pie Day, National Eat a Red Apple Day, Bifocals at the Monitor Liberation Day, Rosa Parks Day (in Ohio and Oregon), World Trick Shot Day (typically on the first Tuesday in December), and National Day of Giving – #GivingTuesday (typically on the day following Cyber Monday).

Historical items of note:

  • In 1824, the United States Presidential election was decided by the House of Representatives. None of the candidates received a majority of Electoral College votes, so the House of Representatives exercised their rights under the provisions of the Twelfth Amendment and held a contingent election. On February 9, 1825, John Quincy Adams was elected as President, defeating Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, and William Crawford. It is one of three presidential elections (along with the 1800 election and 1876 election) that have been decided in the House. It is also one of five in which the winner did not achieve at least a plurality of the national popular vote (along with the elections of 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016), and the only U.S. election in which the candidate who had the plurality of votes in the Electoral College did not win the election.
  • In 1834, slavery was abolished in the Cape Colony in accordance with the Slavery Abolition Act 1833.
  • In 1865, Shaw University, the first historically black university in the southern United States, was founded in Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • In 1913, Crete, having obtained self rule from Turkey after the First Balkan War, was annexed by Greece.
  • In 1919, Lady Astor became the first female Member of Parliament to take her seat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.
  • In 1940, comedian, actor, producer, and screenwriter Richard Pryor was born.
  • In 1945, singer-songwriter, actress, and producer Bette Midler was born.
  • In 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man. She was arrested for violating the city’s racial segregation laws, an incident which led to that city’s bus boycott.
  • In 1959, the Antarctic Treaty was signed. It set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and banned military activity on the continent.
  • In 1967, actor Nestor Carbonell was born.
  • In 1970, singer-songwriter and guitarist Jonathan Coulton was born.
  • In 1977, Pinwheel is launched. It later became Nickelodeon.
  • In 1982, English actor and rapper Riz Ahmed was born.
  • In 1984, Beverly Hills Cop premiered.
  • In 2018, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse premiered.
  • In 2019, the first known case of COVID-19 appeared.

In 1988, World AIDS Day was designated by the World Health Organization (WHO).

This international day is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease. Government and health officials, non-governmental organizations, and individuals around the world observe the day, often with education on AIDS prevention and control.

December 1st is also Day Without Art, an observance established in 1989 as the national day of action and mourning in response to the AIDS crisis, which had rapidly hurt the artistic community. To make the public aware that AIDS can touch everyone, and inspire positive action, some 800 U.S. art and AIDS groups participated in the first Day Without Art, shutting down museums, sending staff to volunteer at AIDS services, or sponsoring special exhibitions of work about AIDS.

Since then, Day With(out) Art has grown into a collaborative project in which an estimated 8,000 national and international museums, galleries, art centers, AIDS service organizations, libraries, high schools and colleges take part.

The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.


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