Today in History
October 18

1648   The “shoemakers of Boston”–the first labor organization in what would become the United States–is authorized by the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1685   The Edict of Nantes is lifted by King Louis XIV. The edict, signed at Nantes, France, by King Henry IV in 1598, gave the Huguenots religious liberty, civil rights and security. By revoking the Edict of Nantes, Louis XIV abrogated their religious liberties.
1813   The Allies defeat Napoleon Bonaparte at Leipzig.
1867   The Alaska territory is formally transferred to the U.S. from Russian control.
1867   The rules for American football are formulated at a meeting in New York among delegates from Columbia, Rutgers, Princeton and Yale universities.
1910   M. Baudry is the first to fly a dirigible across the English Channel–from La Motte-Breil to Wormwood Scrubs.
1912   The First Balkan War breaks out between the members of the Balkan League–Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Montenegro–and the Ottoman Empire.
1918   Czechs seize Prague and renounce Hapsburg’s rule.
1921   Russian Soviets grant Crimean independence.
1939   President Franklin D. Roosevelt bans war submarines from U.S. ports and waters.
1944   Lt. General Joseph Stilwell is recalled from China by president Franklin Roosevelt.
1945   A group of the Venezuelan armed forces, led by Mario Vargas, Marcos Pérez Jiménez, and Carlos Delgado Chalbaud, stages a coup d’état against president Isaías Medina Angarita, who is overthrown by the end of the day. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
1950   The First Turkish Brigade arrives in Korea to assist the U.N. forces fighting there.
2003   Bolivian president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada resigns in the wake of protests centered around Bolivia’s natural gas resources.
2007   A suicide attack on a motorcade in Karachi, Pakistan, kills at least 139 and wounds 450; the subject of the attack, Pakistan’s former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, is not harmed.
Born on October 18
1896   H.L. Davis, novelist and poet.
1904   A.J. Liebling, journalist and author.
1926   Chuck Berry, rock ‘n’ roll performer.
1939   Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of President John F. Kennedy.
1926   Ntozake Shange (Paulette Williams), poet, playwright and novelist.
1950   Wendy Wasserstein, playwright (The Heidi Chronicles).
1951   Terry McMillan, novelist (Waiting to Exhale).
1952   Chuck Lorre (Charles Levine), TV writer, director,  producer and composer. Created several successful sitcoms including Dharma & Greg and The Big Bang Theory.
1952   Bao Ninh (Hoang Au Phuong), Vietnamese author known for his novel The Sorrow of War about the Vietnam War, in which he served.
1956   Craig Bartlett, animator, writer; known for his work on Rugrats , Hey Arnold! and Dinosaur Train animated TV series.
1956   Martina Navratilova, Czechoslovakian-born tennis player; won a record 9 Wimbledon singles competitions.
1960   Erin Moran, actress; best known for her role as Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days TV series and its spinoff Joanie Loves Chachi.
1960   Jean-Claude Van Damme, martial artist, actor, director (Bloodsport, The Expendables 2).
1961   Wynton Marsalis, Grammy-winning jazz trumpeter; presently (2016) artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York.
1970   Jose Padilla, American terrorist convicted of conspiring with overseas terrorists in death plots; held from May 8, 2002, as an enemy combatant, he was tried in a civilian court in 2006

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  1. On October 18th, 1929, a landmark decision changed the face of Canadian politics. Women were declared “persons” under the law and were granted the right to be appointed to the Senate. Their victory was the result of an arduous struggle by five Alberta women.

    Alberta’s Famous Five – Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Emily Murphy, and Irene Parlby – helped guarantee that women are represented in all levels of Canadian politics.

    By 1929, Alberta’s women had secured many of the liberties commonly withheld because of gender, but surprisingly, women could not be appointed to the Senate because The British North America (BNA) Act declared, “women are persons in matters of pain and penalties, but are not persons in matters of rights and privileges.”

    Emily Murphy selected four prominent supporters of social reform: Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, and Irene Parlby to initiate an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada to make changes to The BNA Act. The Famous Five asked the question “does the word ‘person’ in Section 24 of The British North America Act include female persons?”

    The disappointing decision from the Supreme Court stated that individuals must be “fit and qualified” to be appointed to a public office and therefore only men were eligible. Relentless in their quest for reform, the Famous Five approached the Privy Council of England – at that time Canada’s highest court of appeal. On October 18, 1929, the Lord Chancellor of the Privy Council declared, “women are eligible to be summoned and may become Members of the Senate of Canada.”

    In Alberta, the achievement of the Famous Five provided a context for future legislation, which prevented discrimination on the basis of gender and improved the quality of life of many women.

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