Wednesday, April 23, 2008

On April 23

On this day in ...
... 1702, a founder of the Society of Friends, Margaret Fell, died in Swarthmoor, England. She'd been born in the same country in 1614. Her husband, an older man who rode circuit as a judge and served in Parliament, left to her the duties of managing their estate. In 1652 she and her daughters heard the preaching of George Fox. She married Fox upon her 1st husband's death, and helped Fox to establish the Friends, a group known colloquially as "Quakers," despite persecution and loss of her estate. In 1666, amid a 4-year term of imprisonment, she issued the pamphlet at right, which "[f]eminist historians have recognized ... as a key document, one of the first by a woman, in the evolution of woman's vision as an equal partner with man": Women's Speaking Justified, Proved and Allowed of by the Scriptures, All Such as Speak by the Spirit and Power of the Lord Jesus And How Women Were the First That Preached the Tidings of the Resurrection of Jesus, and Were Sent by Christ's Own Command Before He Ascended to the Father (John 20:17).
... 1984, Margaret M. Heckler (right), then the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, announced that scientists had discovered a virus believed to cause AIDS, which the BBC described as "the fatal disease sweeping through America." It was hoped that the discovery of the virus, eventually known as HIV, would lead to development of a vaccine; that has not yet occurred. The BBC further reports:
An estimated 24 million people, both homosexual and heterosexual, have died of Aids since the disease emerged in the United States. It has now reached pandemic proportions in some parts of southern Africa, where two million died in 2001 alone.

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