Tuesday, April 22, 2008

On April 22

On this day in ...
... 1980, at an army barracks near Monrovia, Liberia, 13 top officials of the deposed government, among them the brother of assassinated President William Tolbert, were publicly executed by shootings that journalists described as "cruel and messy." The executions took place on orders of coup leader Samuel Doe; eventually he would lose power to Charles Taylor, who served as president of Liberia (flag above right) for a decade but now is on trial before the Special Court for Sierra Leone, sitting at The Hague, Netherlands.
... 2003 (5 years ago today), Martha Wright Griffths (below left) died in Amarda, Michigan, at age 91. Born and raised in Missouri, in 1940 she was graduated from the University of Michigan Law School, and practiced law in that state. In Michigan she served as an elected official -- 1st a legislator, then a judge -- from 1948-54, and again as lieutenant government from 1982-91. As a Member of Congress from 1955-74, Griffiths came to be known as a "graceful feminist": the Democrat introduced the Equal Rights Amendment during her 1st year in Congress, and thereafter fought for its adoption continuously, albeit unsuccessfully. A 1970 Time Magazine article reported:

Although the other nine women Representatives in the House recently urged that she be considered for appointment to the high court because she is a highly competent lawyer as well as legislator, Mrs. Griffiths considers such an event 'out of the range of possibility.'

As we've posted, it'd be another 11 years before the 1st woman, Sandra Day O'Connor, won a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. (photo courtesy Library of Congress)

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