Dante Alighieri engraving shutterstock

This Day in History – May 9th – Hijinx, Humor, and Insight


NewsWhistle is pleased to feature Gary Jenneke’s “This Day In History” column.

You can read the original at Gary’s THIS DAY IN HISTORY blog — or scroll down to enjoy Gary’s unique look at life’s comings and goings.




1788 – Slave Trade Act.

uk slavery cartoon shutterstock

British Parliament places limits on the number of slaves that could be transported. It was the first step in the slow process of England eventually outlawing slavery. The British were decades ahead of America in abolishing this horrid practice.

Lest they become too smug, however, many in England were responsible for the slave trade and reaped huge financial gains from it.


1914 – Mother’s Day.

Woodrow Wilson issues a presidential proclamation that the second Sunday of May will be Mother’s Day.

Nice idea, but didn’t he realize that the second weekend of May is always the fishing opener in Minnesota?


1944 – Gerard Musch arrested by Nazis.

A strict Calvinist, Gerard, living in Amsterdam, opposed what the Nazis were doing to the Jews. Along with his brother, Jaap, he helped organize the NV, an underground resistance group. NV arranged to spirit Jewish children out of Amsterdam and place them with families in other parts of Holland. They provided ration cards and clothes for the children and ensured that they were treated like family members.

The organization was finally busted by the Gestapo and most of the members died in concentration camps. Gerard was arrested in Amsterdam while in possession of five ration cards. He was tortured and sent to a concentration camp, but survived the war, and married another NV member who also had survived.

In one of the darkest moments in world history some light shone through.



1265 – Dante Alighieri.

Poet, philosopher, politician. Writer of “The Divine Comedy,” a work that has endured for over six centuries, Dante is considered one of the greatest writers ever. The poet T.S. Eliot wrote, “Dante and Shakespeare divide the world between them, there is no third.”

And his description of hell has certainly given fire and brimstone preachers plenty of inspiration over the years.


1824 – William “Grumble” Jones.

Confederate general. A graduate of West Point, he led a cavalry brigade under J.E.B. Stuart, who respected but disliked him. In fact most people disliked him, and his nickname was well deserved. He was irascible, short-tempered, and extremely profane. He was also a very effective fighting general and covered Lee’s retreat after Gettysburg. He died in the field leading a charge in 1864. Jones came by his sour temperament through tragedy. Newly wed, his wife was swept from his arms in a shipwreck. Embittered, he led his life as a recluse until the Civil War came along and revitalized him.

When it takes a war to rejuvenate your spirit you know you’ve been in a bad place.


1921 – Daniel Berrigan.

Catholic priest, writer, anti-war activist, and prisoner. He became one of the leaders of the anti-Vietnam War movement. Along with his brother, Philip, he broke into a draft board office and destroyed draft records. He was sentenced to two years in prison for that act. Undeterred, he kept up his activism his whole life. He continued to engage in acts of civil disobedience and helped form the Plowshares Movement. Even in his nineties, he offered support for the Occupy Wall Street movement. Berrigan died April 30th, 2016.

At one point “Question Authority” buttons were in vogue. Daniel Berrigan certainly could have been the inspiration for that design. Also, which I didn’t know, he was born in the Iron Range town of Virginia, Minnesota.



At various junctures of his life, Gary has been an indifferent grade school student, poor high school student, good Navy radioman, one-time hippie, passable college student, inveterate traveler, dedicated writer, miscast accountant (except for one interesting stint at a Communist café), part-time screenwriting teacher, semi-proud veteran, unsuccessful retiree and new blogger.

You can reach him at gary@newswhistle.com.



The above information was sourced from the following sites and newspapers.









We’d also thank to the following photographers and videographers for the use of their images:

* Lead-In Image (Dante Alighieri engraving) – Georgios Kollidas / Shutterstock.com – “Dante Alighieri (1265 -1321). Engraved by C.E.Wagstaff and published in The Gallery Of Portraits With Memoirs encyclopedia, United Kingdom, 1837.”

Dante Alighieri engraving embed shutterstock

* UK Slave Trade (cartoon) – Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com – “British cartoon of a true event, in which Captain John Kimber had a 15 year old captive suspended, whipped, and tortured, causing her death for her ‘virgin modesty.’ 1792 cartoon by Isaac Cruikshank.”

* The History of Mother’s Day (video) – Reading Through History / YouTube.com

* Dante Alighieri (video) – Romana Cortese / YouTube.com

* William “Grumble” Jones (video) – The Appalachian Project / YouTube.com

* Daniel Berrigan (video) – Quest For Peace / YouTube.com

* Outro (Man-In-Museum Cartoon) – SkyPics Studio / Shutterstock.com



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* Stay tuned for more!