This week in history

 May 28 in History

 Today's birthday

For the week of May. 24, 2015

Ines Mexia (1870-1938) : Mexican American. Botanical explorer. Mexia discovered her vocation at the age of 55, when she took a summer course on flowering plants at the University of California. Over the next 13 years she traveled throughout the southwestern states, to Alaska, and through much of South America, often living in primitive conditions as she gathered thousands of specimens, many of them previously unclassified, for academic institutions and government agencies. Her intrepid spirit and her careful preservation of plant materials in difficult field conditions won her the admiration of her colleagues.

James Francis (Jim) Thorpe (1888-1953): American Indian (Sauk and Fox). Athlete. Chosen as the best athlete of the first half of the century in an Associated Press poll, Jim Thorpe won the decathlon at the 1912 Olympic Games and went on to play professional baseball and then professional football, and to be named to the college and professional football Halls of Fame. Thorpe was forced to give up his Olympic medals when it was discovered that he had briefly played professional baseball, disqualifying him from competition as an amateur. This action was rescinded in 1983 by the International Olympic Committee, which retroactively recognized his amateur status and presented his heirs with duplicates of his medals.

Coleman A. Young (1918-1997): African American. Politician. Coleman Young became the first African American Mayor of Detroit, Michigan, in 1973 and served in that office for the next twenty years, the longest period of time that any mayor had served in that position. During his administrations, Detroit rebuilt much if its business area, created the Renaissance Center and fought tirelessly the social and economic problems facing many of Americais cities.

Ascension Day: Christian. This marks the anniversary of the day Christians believe that Jesus rose to heaven.

Ascension Day: Eastern Orthodox Christian. This marks the anniversary of the day Eastern Orthodox Christians believe that Jesus rose to heaven.

Africa Day: Zambia and Zimbabwe. In these and some other African states, this is a holiday commemorating independence from colonial rule.

Anniversary of the May Revolution: Argentina. This commemorates the beginning of the war of independence from Spain in 1810 by Jose de San Martin.

Independence Day: Argentina. This day commemorates Argentinais declaration of independence from Spain in 1816.

Independence Day: Jordan. This marks the day in 1946 that Jordan under the Hashemite Monarchy gained independence from Britain.

Maulid an-Nabi (Prophet Muhammadis Birthday): Islam. This occurs on the 12th day of the Muslim month of Rabi ul-Awwal and marks the birth of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam in 570 A.C.E.

Susette LaFlesche Tibbles (1854-1903): American Indian (Omaha). Activist. Daughter of a chief, Susette La Flesche joined with her father, her brother , and her future husband, journalist Thomas Tibbles, to bring national attention to the plight of the Poncas, a kindred tribe that had been forcibly removed to Indian territory. This is the anniversary of her death.

Dragon Boat Festival (Tuan-wu): China. This is a holiday in honor of Chiu Yuan, Chinais first major poet, who drowned himself in 278 B.C.E. to protest the injustice and corruption of his princeis government. In the traditional dragon boat races, teams from different towns compete in long boats with bows shaped like large dragon heads. The customary holiday food is a dumpling made of rice with a sweet filling wrapped in a bamboo leaf.

Restoration of Statehood Day: Armenia. On this day, Armenians celebrate the establishment in 1918 of the first republic following the genocide of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire and the collapse of the Russian Empire under the Czars.

Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997): Chinese American. Physicist. Dr. Wu was one of the giants and the first woman to gain equal stature for her accomplishments in experimental physics with men in the field. Born near Shanghai, China she came to the United States in the 1930s and received a doctorate in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1940. She joined the physics faculty at Columbia University after World War II and was named a full professor in 1958 and the first Pupin professor of physics in 1973. In 1957, she and her colleagues conducted an experiment that overthrew a law of symmetry in physics called the principle of conservation of parity that had been considered incontrovertible In 1975, Dr Wu became the first woman to be elected president of the American Physical Society. She also received the National Medal of Science, the nationis highest award for achievement in science, as well as the Wolf Physics.

Ascension of Bahaiuillah: Bahaii. This observance commemorates the anniversary of the death of the founder of the Bahaii faith in 1892.

Memorial Day observed: United States. Originally a day of remembrance for those who died for the Union in the Civil War, this national holiday, observed on the last Monday in May, now honors those who gave their lives in all wars. (A number of southern states also have designated days for honoring the Confederate dead.) Many American families observe Memorial Day as a time for paying respect to deceased family members.

Founding of the NAACP (1910): African American. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was formally established on this date. The NAACP is the largest membership organization supporting African American interest in the United States.

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