Tuesday, October 21, 2008

On October 21

On this day in ...
... 2003 (5 years ago today), a politician who'd made her name opposing desegregation of Boston schools, Louise Day Hicks (right), died at age 87. She was elected to the city's Schools Committee, to its City Council, and to a term in Congress. In the words of the Boston Globe, Hicks "came within 12,000 votes of being elected mayor of Boston in 1967 and earned a national reputation as a symbol of racial divisiveness." In those of an NAACP official: "'She was a tragic figure. She became an object of hate -- and she asked for it.'" She was, as well, a feminist: an attorney, a member of the National Organization of Women, and a supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment.

... 1952, "following the declaration of a state of emergency in the British colony of Kenya" came the arrest of nationalist leader Jomo Kenyatta and a hundred other Kenyans. Kenyatta was "accused of leading the extremist wing of the Mau Mau and of inciting hatred and violence against Europeans"; 6 months later, he would be convicted and sentenced to 7 years' hard labor. Kenyatta resumed political activity upon his release, becoming Kenya's 1st Prime Minister in 1963 and its 1st President in 1964; today he's featured on the Kenyan bank note at left.

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