July 7, 2020
Day 189 of 366
July 7th is the 189th day of the year. It is World Chocolate Day.
Historical items of note:
- In 1456, a retrial verdict acquitted Joan of Arc of heresy 25 years after her death.
- In 1863, the United States began its first military draft. Exemptions cost $300.
- In 1865, Four conspirators in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln were hanged.
- In 1907, science fiction writer and screenwriter Robert A. Heinlein was born.
- In 1911, the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and Russia signed the North Pacific Fur Seal Convention of 1911. It banned open-water seal hunting and was the first international treaty to address wildlife preservation issues.
- In 1915, Colombo Town Guard officer Henry Pedris was executed in British Ceylon for allegedly inciting the persecution of Muslims.
- In 1919, actor Jon Pertwee was born. He portrayed the Third Doctor on Doctor Who.
- In 1928, sliced bread was sold for the first time (on the inventor’s 48th birthday) by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri. It is still unknown what was the best thing before sliced bread.
- In 1930, industrialist Henry J. Kaiser began construction of Boulder Dam, which is now known as Hoover Dam.
- In 1940, singer-songwriter, drummer, and actor Ringo Starr was born.
- In 1949, actress, writer, and producer Shelley Duvall was born.
- Also in 1949, Dragnet premiered on NBC radio. It would later become a television series in 1951 and 1967.
- In 1958, United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Alaska Statehood Act into law.
- In 1981, United States President Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States.
- In 1992, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that women have the same right as men to go topless in public.
July 7th is Saba Saba Day.
Saba Saba Day means many things, including the 1954 founding of the Tanzanian political party, the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). It means “seven seven” in Swahili, the national language of Tanzania, as well as Tanganyika and Zanzibar, the two countries whose union created the United Republic of Tanzania in 1964.
In Kenya, Saba Saba is remembered as the day when nationwide protests took place in 1990 to demand free elections. The politicians who had called for the protests, Kenneth Matiba and Charles Rubia, were beaten and detained by the then tyrannical dictator President Moi.
In present-day Kenya, Saba Saba has taken on a new meaning, with civil societies and Social Justice Working Groups asking for respect of the constitution, an end to police brutality and killings.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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