When I woke up this morning I thought, well, it’s just another day. Then my curiosity got the better of me; and I wondered if anything notable had ever happened on September 20. At any time in history. Both good and bad. Google to the rescue.
From Historyorb.com, where their info goes back to 368, I learned that on this day in 1519, Magellan began his first successful circumnavigation of the world. Also, in 1664 Maryland passed it’s first anti-amalgamation law to stop the intermarriage of English women and black men. Sadly, almost 350 years later, there are still many states where mixed marriage continues to be an unpopular idea; and now, of course, the real hullabaloo is over gay marriage.
In 1830, the 1st Negro Convention of Free Men agreed to boycott slave-produced goods. In 1859 George Simpson patented the first electric range. Do you think that’s when they coined the phrase, “Now you’re cooking?” And on September 20, 1873 panic swept the NY Stock Exchange because of a railroad bond default/bank failure; and, in fact, New York banks were closed down for 10 days due to a bank scandal (guess we haven’t learned our lesson yet).
But what’s most interesting is that, in 1884 the Equal Rights Party nominated the first female candidates for President and VP. So I guess Hilary Clinton isn’t such a groundbreaker, after all.
Babe Ruth tied Ned Williamson’s major league record of 27 home runs in 1919. Ghandi began his hunger strike against the treatment of ‘untouchables’ in 1932; and the first Cannes Film Festival was held in 1946.
According to Wikipedia, Sophia Loren was born September 20, 1934, while Jack Thayer, who was a Titanic survivor, passed in 1945.
Last year on this day, the U.S. officially ended its Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell military policy; and in 2010 a stadium collapsed in Parana, Brazil, killing 110 and Jupiter made its closest approach to earth since 1963. In 1988 Greg Louganis won Olympic Gold and Wade Boggs was the first player to get 200 hits for 6 consecutive seasons.
This is also the official start of Autumn, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s the first day of Spring in the South. If you’re in the mood to party, today is also a Christian Feast Day, National Youth Day in Thailand and the seventh day of the Eleusinian Mysteries, when the secret rites in the Telesterion began, in ancient Greece.
On The People History website I learned that, in 1962, the black student, James Meredith was barred from enrolling at the University of Mississippi; and in 1942, as part of the British war effort to conserve fuel, every household was asked to bathe in no more than five inches of water. The much publicized match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs took place at the Houston Astrodome in 1973, while more than 16,000 perished in a 1978 earthquake in Iran. Stevie Wonder’s music was, once again, played on South Africa’s radio stations. It had been banned when Wonder dedicated his Oscar to the imprisoned, anti-apartheid activist, Nelson Mandella.
And trust me, I’m just scratching the surface, here. There are dozens and dozens and dozens more interesting, notable and historically significant birthdays, deaths and events that all have the day September 20 in common.
What will you be doing today?