Milestones: Tuesday, September 19, 2023
‘FIRST CITIZEN’ OF THE COLONIES — CHARLES CARROLL, born Sept. 19, 1737 in Annapolis, Maryland was an American Revolutionary leader and the only Roman Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was also the Declaration’s longest surviving signer. Known as the “First Citizen” of the American Colonies, Carroll was a delegate to the Continental Congress and Confederation Congress, and later served as the first United States Senator for Maryland.
Carroll, who received his education from the Jesuits in France, was fluent in five languages.
WHAT WAS THE ‘ICEMAN’ MUMMY’S LAST MEAL? — AN “ICEMAN” MUMMY FROM THE LATE NEOLITHIC PERIOD WAS DISCOVERED on Sept. 19, 1991. Two hikers in the Austrian-Italian Alps who had ascended to 10,531 feet, discovered the frozen mummy, estimated to be 5,300 years old. The mummy was in statis, and had been carrying a rough bow and arrows, as well as a copper ax, and was clad in a grass cloak for warmth and shoes made from bearskin, deer hide and tree bark. Scientists conducted a ‘gentle thaw’ nine years after the discovery to do a DNA analysis and determine what his last meal had been.
The Iceman is again frozen, with his final resting being the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology at Bolzano, Italy.
THE SINGLE CAREER GIRL — “THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW,” WHICH PREMIERED ON SEPT. 1970, focused on a career girl, starring the eponymous actress, but with her character’s having a different surname. Mary Richards was an associate producer at a fictional Minneapolis TV station, WJM, with a cast of co-workers which included her irascible but wise boss, Lou Grant (actor Ed Asner); the gentle and even-tempered news writer Murray Slaughter (actor Gavin McLeod) and the interminably-conceited news anchor Ted Baxter (actor Ted) Knight. Betty White, as Sue Ann Nivens, playing the poisoned-honey “Happy Homemaker” who was really a backbiter. Mary Richards’ other great love was her apartment (albeit with a tiny kitchen).
The program ran for seven seasons and 168 episodes; and not all fans loved the ending: everyone but the self-loving and hapless Ted Baxter was fired when a new producer came on board.
WIDELY-RESPECTED JURIST — LEWIS F., POWELL, JR., born Sept. 19, 1907, always aspired to law as a profession and was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court during the Nixon administration, taking office on January 7, 1972. During his law school studies, Powell focused on the rules behind judicial decisions rather than on their respective contexts. As an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Powell was a centrist and well-respected among his colleagues. His first votes dealt with abortion and affirmative action decisions, and he was on the winning side in about 30 major decisions.
Powell had succeeded Justice Hugo Black. Succeeding Powell upon his 1987 retirement was Justice Anthony Kennedy. Though a conservative, Kennedy was a proponent of individual rights, including of women, in cases regarding abortion.
ICONIC ITALIAN STREET FAIR — THE FEAST OF SAN GENNARO, on Sept. 19, commemorates the miracle of his blood liquifying in response to prayers. San Gennaro was a 4th-century bishop of Benevento, who was martyred near Naples, Italy, supposedly during the persecution under Roman emperor Diocletian in 305. San Gennaro’s reliquary is housed in the cathedral at Naples. A legend reportedly came true when, on Sept. 19, 1979, five thousand people witnessed that “the blood liquefied after 63 minutes of prayers.”
New York City’s own annual San Gennaro street festival, which began in 1926 as a one-day event, has blossomed into a beloved Little Italy tradition, lasting 11 days. The festival turns 97 this year and runs through next Sunday, Sept. 24. EATER NY recommends that festival-goers try the zeppole (fried dough sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar; my grandmother made them as rings of dough) and of course the famous Umberto’s Clam House.
FIRST NATION TO GRANT SUFFRAGE TO WOMEN — That nation was New Zealand which, on Sept. 19, 1893, gave national voting rights, the first country in the world to do so. Governor Lord Glasgow signed the Electoral Bill on that day, which was the culmination of a suffragette campaign. The women of New Zealand got their first chance to vote that November.
It would be 27 years before the United States granted women the right to vote (1920), and Great Britain granted full voting rights for women in 1928.
See previous milestones, here.
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