Tuesday, February 10, 2009

On February 10

On this day in ...
... 2005, African National Congress member and activist Sophia Williams-De Bruyn was appointed the deputy speaker of the legislature of Gauteng, South Africa's 2d most populous province, home to the country's capital, Johannesburg. (photo credit) Born in 1938, Williams-De Bruyn entered a textile factory as a young girl, and soon became a labor activist; eventually she would help to found South Africa's Congress of Trade Unions. In 1955, she was appointed full-time organizer of the Coloured People's Congress. The following year Williams-De Bruyn, "then barely 18," helped lead 20,000 women in a march against the apartheid government's pass laws. Today, as a legislative leader, she works for gender equality.
... 1955, the U.S. Navy evacuated the Tachen Islands off of China's coast. Using "used 132 boats and 400 aircraft," it transported "14,500 civilians, 10,000 Nationalist troops and 4,000 guerrillas, along with 40,000 tons of military equipment and supplies," to what the BBC called "the anti-Communist, Nationalist power-base of Formosa (now called Taiwan)." The evacuation began a day a day after the U.S. Senate approved the Mutual Defense Treaty Between the United States and the Republic of China and a day before President Harry S. Truman ratified the document, which did not entered into force until March 3. The Tachens soon were seized by Communist troops; Nationalists remain on Taiwan (left) to this day.

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