March 27 in History
For the week of Mar. 22, 2015
Robert Smalls (1839-1915): African American. War hero and legislator. As a slave forced to serve in the Confederate navy, Smalls took control of his vessel and turned it over to Union forces. He then served as a pilot and later captain in the United States Congress.
Emancipation Day: Puerto Rico. On this day in 1873 the Spanish colonial government of Puerto Rico abolished slavery, fulfilling the commitment made after the Lares uprising of 1868. (September 23 is commemorated in Puerto Rico as the anniversary of the uprising that initiated the movement for Puerto Rican independence. On this date, a 400-man army of liberation led by Manual Rojas, under orders from the exiled leader Ramon Emeterio Betances, gathered and took the town of Lares. They formed a provisional government and issued four proclamations, including one promising freedom for all slaves who joined the rebel army. Although the army was defeated and disbanded the following day, some of its aims were realized nearly immediately (the Spanish government decreed the gradual abolition of slavery by 1873), and the revolt is *remembered as the first large-scale armed rebellion against Spanish colonial rule. *
Independence Day: Greece. During the early 19th century, Greeks throughout the world *Joined a secret society, the Philike Hetairia (Friendly Association), whose purpose was to collect money and arms for a revolution to free Greece from Turkish rule. In March of 1821 the head of the organization, Alexander Ypsilanti, entered Turkish territory with a group of armed followers and declared the independence of Greece. Although his uprising was crushed, it is remembered as the first event in Greeceis struggle for independence. *
Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957): Italian American. Orchestra conductor. Toscanini, one of the great virtuoso conductors of the early twentieth century, first came to prominence as a conductor of operas. After serving as musical director of La Scala, the opera house of Milan in his native Italy, and then of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, he became conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and finally of the NBC Symphony, sponsored by the radio network, which broadcast his performances to millions of homes across the nation. He was legendary for his phenomenal memory, his attention to detail, and his powers of interpretation, particularly in his performances of Verdi, Beethoven, and Wagner.
Independence Day: Greece. During the early 19th century, Greeks throughout the world joined a secret society, the Philike Hetairia (Friendly Association), whose purpose was to collect money and arms for a revolution to free Greece from Turkish rule. In March of 1821 the head of the organization, Alexander Ypsilanti, entered Turkish territory with a group of armed followers and declared the independence of Greece. Although his uprising was crushed, it is remembered as the first event in Greeceis struggle for independence.
The Annunciation: Christian. Based on the gospel in Luke 1:266-56, this holy day celebrates the Angel Gabrielis announcement to Mary of Galilee that she would become the mother of Jesus.
Henry O. Flipper (1856-1940): African American. Military officer. Henry Flipper was the first Black West Point graduate. Although the fifth Black accepted to West Point, he was the first to graduate and in 1877 became the first Black commissioned officer in the United States Army. Flipper described his successful struggle against ostracism and prejudice in The Colored Cadet at West Point (1878). He joined the Tenth Cavalry, one of two all-Black army units. At Fort Sill in the Oklahoma territory, he perfected a system for draining mosquito ninfested stagnant water that caused outbreaks of malaria at the fort. In 1881, he was court-martialed on charges of embezzlement. A review of the trial record at the time concluded that the charges were dubious, but President Chester Arthur refused to set the verdict aside. In 1976, the United States Army lifted Flipperis dishonorable discharge, recognizing that the conviction was racially motivated. On February 19, 1999, President Clinton granted a posthumous pardon to Flipper. Flipper has also been honored at West Point with an annual award given in his name to an outstanding cadet, and with a section of the library named after him.
National Day: Bangladesh. Formerly the eastern part of Pakistan, Bangladesh is the worldis 139th independent nation, having emerged as a sovereign, independent state on December 16, 1971. March 26, 1971 marks the day the newly formed Bangladesh government declared independence form Pakistan.
Muharram (New Year): Islam This begins the New Year of 1422 based on the Islamic lunar calendar for Muslims. The Islamic lunar calendar dates from the hegira, the flight of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in 622 (based on the solar calendar.)
Edmund Muskie (1914-1996): Polish American. Governor, senator, presidential candidate, secretary of state. Edmund Muskie was a long-time leader of the Democratic Party, holding many high offices in both state and federal government. Born in the mill town of Rumford, Maine, and later its senator for 21 years. He ran as the Democratic Partyis vice presidential candidate with Hubert Humphrey in 1968. Under the Carter administration, he became secretary of state.
Respect for Ancestors Day (Thanh Mimh): Vietnam. This is similar to the holiday in all other Asian cultures for paying respects to oneis ancestors by visiting and decorating their graves.