Saturday, August 18, 2007

On August 18, ...

... 1997 (10 years ago today), Beth Ann Hogan became the 1st woman to enroll at the Virginia Military Institute, a 158-year-old institution of higher learning. Her enrollment followed nearly a decade of legal wrangling: resolving a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Supreme Court required the publicly funded academy to admit women. In her opinion for the Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that the Equal Protection Clause requires that gender-based classifications be supported by an "exceedingly persuasive" justification. As for the 17-year-old from Junction City, Oregon, Hogan left after her 1st semester of study; nonetheless, as indicated by the photo at right, VMI's website now prominently features its female cadets.
... 1977 (30 years ago today), authorities of South Africa's apartheid government arrested Steve Biko, leader of the Black Consciousness movement, and detained him pursuant to the country's Terrorism Act. Weeks later Biko died while in custody. A book chronicled the abuses that Biko suffered during interrogation, but the 1st official report to find government agents responsible was that of the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

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