Milestones: Friday, September 22, 2023
FIRST DRAFT? — PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN ON SEPT. 22, 1862, ISSUED A PRELIMINARY EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION, which set a date for the freedom of more than three million enslaved persons in the United States and recast the Civil War as a fight against slavery. Lincoln, who had been inaugurated just five weeks before the outbreak of the Civil War, held in check both his own views about slavery being repugnant, and pressure from abolitionists. When, in July 1862, he announced that he would issue an emancipation proclamation, he exempted the border states, those that stayed with the Union but were slaveholder states: Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri and, in 1863, the new state of West Virginia. However, his cabinet advised him to wait for a Union victory, which happened at the Battle of Antietam that September. It was on Sept. 22 1862 that Lincoln announced that slaves in areas that had rebelled would be free within 100 days.
The later Emancipation Proclamation of Jan. 1, 1863, declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebel states “are, and henceforward shall be free,” and called for the recruitment of Black military units to fight for the Union.
KEY VICTORY FOR KENNEDY — THE PEACE CORPS, WHICH PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY SIGNED INTO LAW on Sept. 22, 1961, was a key victory for his Cold War foreign policy and it turned out to be a popular humanitarian outreach. President Kennedy had, shortly after his inauguration, conceived the idea during an impromptu late-night talk as an innovative way, without the horrors of war, for Americans to serve their country and their world as an “army” of civilian volunteers (teachers, medical staff, builders, engineers) to build wells, improve agriculture and assist the people of developing nations. The Peace Corps would be an independent federal agency, separate from civil service. However, Congress, which was balking at the $40 million price tag, first had to be persuaded that the idea was viable. A successful pilot program convinced Congress to approve the legislation and financing, and President Kennedy did the signing on Sept. 22.
Although one of the Peace Corps’ missions was to stop the spread of communism, goals over the past six decades have shifted to international aid.
ACQUITTED BY FIRST ALL-WOMEN JURY — THE FIRST ALL-WOMEN JURY WAS EMPANELED IN THE COLONY OF MARYLAND on Sept. 22, 1656 (old calendar date). The selection of seven married and four single women was by necessity because of their expertise in childbirth, the central issue in the murder trial of an indentured servant. The 11 women whom the General Provincial Court at Patuxent, Maryland., empaneled heard the case of Judith Catchpole, whose accuser, a fellow passenger on a ship from England, claimed she had murdered her infant, slashed the throats of other passengers on the transport ship from England and practiced witchcraft. The all-women jury examined Ms. Catchpole and determined there was no evidence of her ever being pregnant, and they dismissed the idea of witchcraft. The jury acquitted Catchpole; her accuser died.
Although women were not permitted to serve on juries even after the passage of the 19th Amendment giving them the right to vote, common-law jurisprudence during 17th-century colonial America allowed it for the need to accommodate practical situations.
ANGEL DETECTIVES — THE 1970s DETECTIVE SERIES ‘CHARLIE’S ANGELS’ made its TV premiere on Sept. 22, 1976, featuring three slender, attractive women crime-solvers working for detective agency Charles Townsend Associates. Never seen on-screen, Charlie was an enigma and delivered his assignment to the Angels via intercom speakerphone and a desk manager named Bosley (actor: David Doyle). The original Angels were Sabrina Duncan (actor: Kate Jackson), Jill Munroe (Farrah Fawcett-Majors) and Kelly Garrett (Jaclyn Smith), but in later seasons, Cheryl Ladd replaced Fawcett. The show ran from 1976 to 1981.
Feature films based on “Charlie’s Angels” were released in 2000, 2003 and 2019. Along the way, Bosley went rogue, betraying the Angels and forming a crime syndicate.
AN ITALIAN CONFECTION — THE ICE CREAM CONE WAS INVENTED AS AN IMPROV on Sept. 22, 1903, when Italian immigrant Italo Marchiony went into business, selling lemon ices from a pushcart on Manhattan’s streets. The lemon ices proved popular, and Marchiony prospered and expanded into a fleet of pushcarts. He then decided to make a cone: first from paper and then later from pastry, to hold the frozen confection. A shrewd businessman, he filed on Sept. 22, 1903, his application for a patent for his new mold and, just under three months later, received U.S. Patent Number 746971.
The sweetened cookie-like ice cream cone, made from flour, water and sugar, could well have developed as a variation of the pizzelle, which dates back to the Abruzzo region in the 8th century.
FIRST POSTMASTER GENERAL — THE OFFICE OF U.S. POSTMASTER GENERAL WAS ESTABLISHED on Sept. 22, 1789, The Continental Congress had, in 1775, appointed founding father Benjamin Franklin as postmaster general, as he had served in that role under the crown. Succeeding Franklin was his son-in-law, Richard Bache. But Samuel Osgood was the new nation’s first postmaster general, a role that the president appointed until 1971 when the U.S. Post Office Department was reorganized into the U.S. Postal Service and its department head removed from the president’s cabinet. The Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service now appoints the postmaster general, who is currently Louis DeJoy, a native of Brooklyn.
The U.S. Post Office Department had a front-and-center role in a climactic scene of the classic holiday 1947 film, “Miracle on 34th Street.” John Payne, playing Fred Gayley, the young defending attorney for Kris Kringle, reads from an encyclopedia about the Post Office and names the actual postmaster general of that time, Robert E. Hannegan, whom President Truman appointed in 1945.
See previous milestones, here.
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