This Day in History

Women in Canada Finally Recognized as "Persons" (1929)
In the early 20th century, Canadian women were often prohibited from hearing court testimony deemed inappropriate. Emily Murphy protested and became the first woman magistrate in Canada—and all of the British Empire—but her rulings were often challenged because women were not legally considered "persons." Murphy and four other women, the "Famous Five," submitted a petition for constitutional clarification. The subsequent Persons Case granted Canadian women personhood. What else did it establish? Discuss

Loma Prieta Earthquake Disrupts World Series (1989)
Game 3 of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics was scheduled to begin at 5:35 PM on October 17, 1989, but Mother Nature intervened. The Loma Prieta earthquake struck San Francisco at 5:04 PM with 60,000 fans already inside Candlestick Park. Due to the timing, it was the first major earthquake to be broadcast on live TV, and a blimp covering the game was able to coordinate emergency efforts. What did broadcaster Al Michaels say before the network feed was lost?

World Food Day (1981)
More than 150 countries celebrate World Food Day every year on October 16, the anniversary of the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. World Food Day aims to heighten public awareness of the world food problem and to promote cooperation in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. It has been observed since 1981 with different themes each year, such as "United against Hunger" and "The Right to Food." What was the theme of the first World Food Day?

Today

Pierre Trudeau (1919)
As prime minister of Canada from 1968–79 and 1980–84, Trudeau advocated a strong federal government and took a determined stand against the Quebec separatist movement. Despite his opposition to Quebec's independence, he supported Canadian sovereignty and secured for the country a new constitution in 1982 that precipitated its official independence from Britain. He also had French adopted as an official state language. How did Trudeau figure into an alleged plot to assassinate Fidel Castro? Discuss

Mae Carol Jemison (1956)
Born in America at a time when being black and female were considered distinct disadvantages, particularly in the scientific community, Jemison nevertheless had big dreams and intense drive. She studied medicine and was a practicing physician until the late 1980s, when she made history by becoming the first black female astronaut. In 1992, she skyrocketed to fame aboard the US space shuttle Endeavour as the first African-American woman in space. Why did she resign from NASA the next year?

Oscar Wilde (1854)
Wilde was an Irish poet, novelist, and playwright who mocked social conventions and scandalized English society with his unorthodox ideas and conduct. He is best known for his sophisticated, witty plays, among them Lady Windermere's Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest, as well as his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, about a handsome young man who purchases eternal youth at the expense of his soul. Why did Wilde spend his final years living abroad under an assumed name?