November 28: This Day In History

Richard WrightNovember 28, 2014 – Segment 1

Marc talks about what happened on this day in history, including the day author Richard Wright passed away, the day the International Brotherhood of Electrical Worker was founded, and the birthday of educator Helen Magill White, who was the first woman to earn a PhD.

Today is,

–Ascension of `Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Faith

–Christian feast day of Kamehamaeha and Emma, Episcopal Church, USA

–Independence Day of Albania from Turkey in 1912.

–Independence Day, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania gained its independence from France on this day in 1960.

–Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Panama from Spain in 1821.

–Republic Day (Burundi)

–Republic Day Chad, commemorating the nation becoming an autonomous republic within the French community.

On this day,

1520 – Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan reaches the pacific Ocean after navigation throught the strait a  the southern end of South America that now bears his name.  It took Magellan and the three ships under his command 38 days to navigate through the strait.

1582 – William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway pay a 40pound bond for their marriage license.

1660 – At London’s Gresham College, twelve men, including Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, and Sir Robert Moray decide to found what is later known as the Royal Society.

1785 – The Treaty of Hopewell is signed.

1843 – Ka La Hui: The Kingdom of Hawaii is officially recognized by the United Kingdom and France as an independent nation.

1891 – The International Brotherhood of Electrical Worker was founded on this date.  The IBEW currently represents approximately 750,000 members in utilities, construction, telecommunications, broadcasting and railroad workers.  (Workaday Minnesota)

1893 – New Zealand becomes the first country in which women vote in a national election.

1895 – The first automobile race took place, between Chicago and Waukegan, Ill.

1905 – Sinn Fein was founded in Dublin, by Irish nationalist Arthur Griffith.

1907 – King Leopold II of Belgium hands over the administration of the Congo to the Belgian parliament.

1912 – Albania declares its independence from the Ottoman Empire.

1918 – Bukovina votes for union with the Kingdom of Romania.

1919 – Lady Astor is elected as a Member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.  She is the first woman to sit in the House of Commons.

1920 – A convoy of British Auxiliaries are ambushed by the Irish Republican Army, near Kilmichael, County Cork.  Seventeen British servicemen are killed.

1925 – The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, made its debut on radio station WSM.

1933 – Richard Bowie Spikes of San Francisco, California received patent number 1,936,996 for an improved transmission and gear shifting means for automobiles.  This was the first workable automatic transmission.

1943 – Meeting between President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British PM Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin, takes place in Tehran.

1953 – A strike by photoengravers shut down New York City’s newspapers for 11 days.                                                                                                                   

1961 – Ernest Davis became the first African American to e awarded the Heisman Trophy as college football’s top player of the year.  He attended Syracuse University where he was a running back from 1959 to 1961, winning first-team All-American honors in 1960 and 1961 and earning the nickname “the Elmira Express.” He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics in 1962. Davis was selected number one in the 1962 NFL Draft, the first African American to be drafted number one, by the Washington Redskins and traded to the Cleveland Browns. Before playing a game of professional football, Davis died May 18, 1963. More than 10,000 people filed past his coffin in a single day and President John F. Kennedy sent a condolence telegram. Despite never playing a game for them, the Browns retired his jersey number 45. Davis was posthumously inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979.

1980 – The ANC becomes signatory to the Geneva Convention of 1949 and Protocol 1 of 1977.

1987 – Over 60 people are killed by RENAMO in Mozambique.

2001 – Enron Corp., once the world’s largest energy trader, collapsed after Dynegy Inc. backed out of an $8.4billion deal to take it over.


1489 – Margaret Tudor, Eglih wife of James IV of Scotland (d,1541)

1757 – William Blake, English poet and painter, born on this day in London,, England.  A towering figure of the Romantic Age and a major poet and thinkern in Literary history.     (d.1827)

1810 – William Froude, English naval architect.

1820 – Friedrich Engels, German socialist Philosopher (d.1895)

1853 – Helen Magill White, American educator and first woman to earn a Ph.D. , born on thi day in Providence, Rhode Iwsland.  (d.1944)

1866 – Henry Bacon, American architect and designer of the Lincoln Memorial, (d.1924)

1868 – William Henry Lewis, college hall of fame football player and coach, lawyer and politician, was born in Berkley, Virginia but raised in Portsmouth, Virginia. Lewis played football at Amherst College, and is thought to have been the first African American college football player, where he was the team captain in 1891 and graduated in 1892 as the class orator. He then attended Harvard Law School where he also played football and was named All-American in 1892 and 1893, the first African American All-American. Lewis earned his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1895 and then coached the Harvard football team from 1895 to 1906, compiling a record of 114 wins, 15 losses, and 5 ties. In 1896, he published one of the first books on football titled “A Primer of College Football.” He was elected to the Cambridge, Massachusetts City Council where he served from 1899 to 1902 and was appointed to the Massachusetts legislature for one year in 1903. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Lewis an Assistant United States Attorney, the first African American to hold that position, and in 1910 President William Howard Taft appointed him United States Assistant Attorney General which was reported as “the highest office in an executive branch of the government ever held by a member of that race.” In 1911, Lewis became the first African American admitted to the American Bar Association. Lewis was outspoken on issues of race and discrimination, calling for “an army of Negro lawyers of strong hearts, cool heads, and sane judgment, to help the large number of Negroes who are exploited, swindled and misused.” In 1919, Lewis was one of the signatories to a call for a National Conference on Lynching. Lewis died January 1, 1949. (

1907 – Charles Henry Alston, artist and professor, was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. Alston earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1929 and his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1931 from Columbia University. He began his art career illustrating album covers for Duke Ellington and book covers for Langston Hughes. During the Great Depression, Alston co-directed the Harlem Art Workshop where he was a mentor to Jacob Lawrence, among others. Alston was the first African American instructor at the Art Students League of New York where he worked from 1950 to 1971. He became a full professor at the City University of New York in 1973. Alston died April 27, 1977. (

1915 – Yves Thériault, Canadian author (d.1983)

1929 – Berry Gordy, Jr., American songwriter and producer, founded Motown Records.

1942 – Manolo Blahnik, Spanish-English shoe designer

1949 – Alexander Godunov, Russian ballet dancer

1952 – Sharon Epatha Merkson, television, film and stage actress, was born in Saginaw, Michigan.  Merkerson is best known for her role on the television crime drama “Law and Order” where she appeared from 1993 to 2010.Merkerson has won two Off Broadway Theater (OBIE) Awards for Outstanding Performances, in 1992 for “I’m Not Stupid” and in 2006 for “Birdie Blue.” She also won the Emmy Award in 2005 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for “Lackawanna Blues” and in 2008 was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for “Come Back, Little Sheba.” Merkerson is an advocate against smoking and for lung cancer research and awareness and previously served on the board of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. She also teaches as City College of New York.

1956 – Fiona Armstrong, English Scottish journalist and author, made television programmes on Scottish life including Clan history and fishing.

1958 – Kris Akabusi, British sprinter and hurdler was born on this day in 1958.


1872 – Mary Sommerville, Scottish mathematician and author (b.1780)

1960 – Richard Nathaniel Wright, author. Wright was born in 1908 in Roxie, Mississippi.  At the age of 15 he had a short story published in a local Black paper.  . In 1940, his first novel, “Native Son,” was selected by the Book of the Month Club as its first book by an African American writer. Wright was awarded the NAACP Spingarn Medal in 1941 and in 1945 his semi-autobiographical “Black Boy” was published. In 1946, Wright became a permanent American expatriate when he moved to Paris, France where he died. In 2008, Julia Wright, his daughter, published his unfinished novel “A Father’s Law.” In 2009, the United States Postal service issued a commemorative stamp in his honor.  (

1968 – Enid Blyton, British children’s author using the pseudonym Mary Pollack (b.1897)

1969 – Elbert Frank Cox, the first Black person in the United States to receive a Ph. D. in mathematics, died. Cox was born December 5, 1895 in Evansville, Indiana.

1976 – Rosalind Russell, American actress and screenwriter. (b.1907)|135102/Rosalind-Russell/