Saturday, March 21, 2009

On March 21

On this day in ...
... 1857, Alice Henry (left) was born in Melbourne, Australia, to parents who had emigrated from Scotland. Following a brief stint as a schoolteacher she began writing features for the Melbourne Argus and its magazine, the Australian, a job she held for neatly 20 years. Henry became active in politics, opposing imperialism and lecturing on women's rights, temperance, and labor rights. She went to England in 1905 and the United States in 1906. In Chicago she became the office secretary of the local Women's Trade Union League and was active in Progressive movement. She wrote, edited, or published a number of journals and books, all relating to women and the labor movement. Henry died in 1943 in Melbourne, having returned to her birthplace a decade earlier.

... 1960, the BBC reported, "More than 50 black people were killed when police opened fire on a 'peaceful' protest in the South African township of Sharpeville." The report continued: "Eye-witnesses said men, women and children fled 'like rabbits' as up to 300 officers began randomly shooting into a 5,000-strong crowd outside the municipal offices in Sharpeville," located southest of Johannesburg. In all, 69 persons were killed and 180 wounded. Soon after the apartheid government: banned many public meetings; banned the opposition Pan Africanist Congress and the African National Congress; and declared a state of emergency. "No police officer involved in the massacre was ever convicted." Today IntLawGrrl Amy Senier considers Sharpeville's legacy in her post above.

(Prior March 21 posts are here and here.)

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