Milestones: Wednesday, September 6, 2023
USSR RECOGNIZES BALTICS’ INDEPENDENCE — THE BALTIC STATES OF LATVIA, ESTONIA AND LITHUANIA declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and were finally recognized as separate nations on Sept. 6 of that year. The independence came 51 years after the Soviet Union had annexed the Baltic States in June, 1940 and after the January 1991 confrontations — particularly in the Vilnius Massacre when Soviet troops tried to crush Lithuania’s efforts to become independent; and in Latvia during the Barricades. when the citizens built defense fortifications against the Soviet army, and for which a national award is now named. The USSR collapsed within a few weeks of the Baltic States becoming independent. For Latvia, this was actually a restoration of independence from 1918 and for which the nation had to fight afterward.
Although Finland sits on the Baltic Sea and neighbors Russia to the west, it is not technically a Baltic nation but rather grouped with the Nordic countries. While Finland is geographically part of the Scandinavian peninsula and sits to the northeast of Sweden; Finnish linguistically is closer to Estonian (Finno-Ugric) family) and more distantly, to Hungarian (Uralic language family).
ANOTHER FAMOUS BEECHER — Catharine Beecher, born at East Hampton, NY on Sept. 6, 1800, was the eldest Beecher child of Presbyterian minister Lyman Beecher and his wife, Roxana Foote, and sister to both Plymouth Church’s famous abolitionist preacher Henry Ward Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe. She was educated at Miss Sarah Pierce’s Litchfield Female Academy, one of the best schools of its time for girls and young women. (The famous Miss Porter’s School, in Farmington, Connecticut, was established decades later in 1843; its founder was also named Sarah and was a minister’s daughter.) Catharine Beecher opened the Hartford Female Seminary in 1824 along with siblings Edward and Mary; Catharine later joined the staff and wound up writing her own textbooks after discovering that the available ones were unsuitable. The subjects taught were rhetoric, logic, natural and moral philosophy, chemistry, history, Latin, algebra and drawing.
Later, Catharine Beecher went on to establish other schools, including the Western Female Institute, when her father became president of Lane Seminary in Cincinnati, then part of the Midwest. She was also a prolific author; she and Harriet penned The American Woman’s Home in 1869.
KENNEDY PATRIARCH — JOSEPH P KENNEDY, born in Boston on Sept. 6, 1888, was a prominent businessman, diplomat and patriarch of the large and politically-savvy Kennedy dynasty. A Harvard graduate, he had careers as a bank president, movie producer and even a shipbuilder, and retired as a multimillionaire. at the age of 41. In addition to being appointed as the first Irish-American U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom — a highlight of his career, Kenedy also became the first chair of both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Maritime Commission, both during the 1930. He helped advance his sons’ political careers.
Although the Kennedy patriarch was not a drinker, he invested heavily in liquor imports, as he had with movie theaters and with production companies. He reportedly incentivized his sons to shun liquor until their 21st birthdays —by promising them each $1,000.
FOUNDER OF THE U.S. LUTHERAN CHURCH — HENRY MELCHIOR MUHLENBERG, born Sept. 6, 1711 at Hanover Germany, was a Lutheran pastor who helped establish congregations in the colonies. Having immigrated to America in 1742, Muhlenberg started congregation-building in Pennsylvania and expanded through the Eastern seaboard. However, the very first presence of Lutherans in the New World dates a century earlier, to April 17 1640, when Reorus Torkillus, the first Lutheran clergyman in North America, arrived in the Delaware Valley area in a community named New Sweden (modern-day region of Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania). But it was Muhlenberg who established organized Lutheranism in North America — the Pennsylvania Ministerium, which was the first Lutheran synod — in 1761, some 15 years before the Declaration of Independence was written. He is now considered the founder of the U.S. Lutheran Church.
Since the new nation’s founding, more Lutheran synods have been established, the largest of which are the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Lutheran Church/Missouri Synod, and the Lutheran Church/Wisconsin Synod.
FANNY BRICE’S 3RD HUSBAND — BILLY ROSE, BORN as William S. Rosenberg on Sept. 6, 1899, was an American theatrical producer, author, songwriter and the third husband of real-life comedian, singer and actress Fanny Brice. A young Billy Rose had developed a flair for stenography, which came in handy during World War II. He had studied shorthand under John Robert Gregg, who invented the famous Gregg System for shorthand notation. Later, he became a lyricist and had numerous Broadway works, notable among them the Ziegfeld Follies of 1934, a revue for which he was the featured lyricist for “Soul Saving Sadie,” “Suddenly,” “Countess Dubinsky,” and “Sarah, the Sunshine Girl.” During the 1930s, Fanny Brice was also performing in the Ziegfeld Follies. Billy married Brice in 1929, two years after she had divorced professional gambler Nick Arnstein, who had fleeced her financially during the couple’s time together.
Billy Rose, who had the uncanny ability to write backward or forward with either hand, won a dictation contest using Gregg notation, taking more than 150 words per minute, and almost became the poster boy for the Gregg method, according to several sources.
THE UNITED NATIONS HELD ITS MILLENNIUM SUMMIT on Sept. 6–8, 2000, with more than 150 world leaders convening at the UN headquarters in Manhattan. The largest meeting of its kind in history, the meeting brought heads of state to discuss the role of the UN in the new, 21st century. US President Bill Clinton, Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat and Cuban leader Fidel Castro were among those who drafted and adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration, calling for a greater respect for human rights, reduction of poverty, curbing the AIDS epidemic, among other issues, and for a greater respect for nature: “Shown in the management of all living species and natural resources, in accordance with the precepts of sustainable development.”
U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a plea for world peace and disarmament, the latter of whom many would now find ironic.
TENNIS STAR SEEKS ASYLUM — AN 18-YEAR-OLD RISING TENNIS PRODIGY NAMED MARTINA NAVRATILOVA on Sept. 6, 1975 requested political asylum in the United States after she defected from communist Czechoslovakia. The youth who started playing tennis at age 7 was competing outside her native land, particularly at the Australian and French Open tournament, so was not on Czech soil at the time. Soon after competing in the U.S. Open in 1975 (where she reached the semi-finals before losing to Chris Evert), Navratilova announced her plans to defect. Her victories on the court may have helped her asylum plea; a spokesperson from the Immigration and Naturalization Service told the New York Times, “She’s from a Communist country. If she wants to stay here, she’ll be permitted to stay.”
Navratilova, who also became one of the first openly gay athletes — was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2000.
See previous milestones, here.
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