Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On June 17

On this day in ...
... 1924 (85 years ago today), Althea Simmons (left), who from 1979 until her death in 1990 would lead the Washington, D.C., branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and so serve as the NAACP's chief lobbyist in the capital, was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. She was a graduate of that state's Southern University, of the University of Illinois, and of Howard University School of Law in Washington. According to her obituary, Simmons

successfully lobbied for the extension of the Voting Rights Act in 1982, the creation of a holiday honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., sanctions against South Africa and the subsequent Congressional override of President Ronald Reagan's veto.
After Simmons' death, a tribute to her was read into the U.S. Senate record.
... 1944 (65 years ago today), the birthday of independence leader Jón Sigurðsson, Iceland became independent from Denmark and formed a republic. This day is celebrated every year as Iceland National Day. The Old Covenant of 1262 had established the sovereignty of Norway and ended the independent republic in Iceland. Late in the 14th century, Iceland became a Danish dominion. In 1918, by the Act of Union agreement, Iceland was declared a free and independent state, but the Danish king continued to function as king of Iceland. In a May 1944 referendum, Iceland voted to end the union. (credit for 2007 photo of national day procession in Reykjavík, Iceland)

(Prior June 17 posts are here and here.)

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