This Day in History – November 7 – Hijinx, Humor, and Insight

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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.

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THIS DAY IN HISTORY… NOVEMBER 7

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1837 – Elijah Lovejoy killed.

Lovejoy was a journalist and editor of the newspaper The Saint Louis Observer. He was also an abolitionist, and the paper was anti-slavery. This raised the ire of any number of good and decent pro-slavery citizens. Speaking against him was a future senator from Missouri, Thomas Hart Benton, who said freedom of speech did not include the right to speak against slavery. Lovejoy had moved his operation across the Mississippi River from Missouri to Illinois, but nevertheless his printing presses had been destroyed on more than one occasion. A new press had been delivered by steamboat and put in storage in a warehouse. Learning of this, a drunken, angry mob was intent on burning down the warehouse. Lovejoy rushed to the scene to try dissuade the mob, but was shot and killed, leaving behind a wife and two children. His death was met with outrage and across the nation many people joined abolitionist societies. Murder charges were brought, but there was no convictions. The jury foreman had been a member of the mob. Lovejoy was called the first casualty of the Civil War.

Some viewed him as a hero, although even back then others might have called him “an enemy of the people.”

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1876 – Rutherford Hayes elected president.

Despite losing the popular vote, in a contentious Electoral College battle Hayes was awarded the presidency. The Democrats conceded only after Hayes, a Republican, agreed to end the Reconstruction Era in the South.

The Electoral College may have been a good idea at first but if its time was past in 1876, it certainly is now.

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1936 – Battle of Madrid.

The exact date for the start of the battle is a bit uncertain because Madrid had been under siege since October. Heavy shelling began on the 7th and the next day Nationalist General Mola launched an attack led by 20,000 assault troops. Opposing them were Loyalist forces consisting of civilian militias, trade unionists, anarchists, socialists, communists, and members of the International Brigade. The Loyalists, although they had more men, were untrained and facing a professional army. The Nationalists, supplied by Hitler and Mussolini, had superiority in arms and equipment. In addition the Nazis’ Condor Legion provided air support for them. The fighting was intense, but the Nationalists were never able to break through. Madrid held out until the war was lost in 1939 and the Fascists declared victory. Two famous slogans came out of the battle. “The Fifth Column” and “No Pasaran.” Nationalist General Mola, marching on Madrid with four army columns declared he had a fifth column inside the city consisting of those trapped there but who still politically favored the Fascists. He counted on them to sabotage and undermine the Spanish Republic. No Pasaran means “They shall not pass.” It was first uttered publicly by La Pasionaria, a spokeswoman for the Loyalists.

I’ve read extensively about Madrid during this period. Despite the death, destruction, and hardship, the spirit of the people, the resistance, the passion makes me wish I could have been there to witness it.

As I write this the world is battling a COVID-19 pandemic. Political strife has muddled and weakened American’s response. I look upon those who refuse to wear masks as part of our own “Fifth Column.”

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Birthdays:

1913 – Albert Camus.

Writer. Others, although not Camus himself, described him as an existentialist writer. The French-Algerian writer presented a wide range of moral philosophy in such novels as “The Plague,” “The Stranger,” and “The Fall.” By the middle of the 20th century the one-time member of the French Resistance during WWII had received international acclaim for his writing. Winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, the Nobel committee lauded his efforts to “illuminate the problem of the human conscience in our time.” This from the Internet Encyclopedia in Philosophy best describes his writing: “He is still admired today, for being a writer of conscience and a champion of imaginative literature as a vehicle of philosophical insight and moral truth.” Camus tragically died in an automobile accident in France in 1960.

As a young man I read “The Stranger” and to this day it is still one of the most memorable and engrossing literary experiences of my life.

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1932 – Dick Stuart.

Baseball player. Stuart was a power hitting first baseman who played in the Major Leagues for ten years. He was a member of the 1960 World Champions Pittsburgh Pirates. A very large man, he was also known as being a notoriously bad defensive player. It earned him one of the better nicknames in baseball history: Dr. Strangeglove. Hank Aaron also called him Stonefingers. Stuart retired from baseball in 1969, after at one point having led the league in errors for a first baseman for seven consecutive years.

I liked him, based entirely on one televised spring training game I watched. He got into a dispute with an umpire and got ejected from the game. First off, who gets ejected from a spring training game? The clubhouse, not under the stadium, was beyond the fence in right field. So to leave he had to walk to a gate in foul territory. He took his time to irritate the umpire and then, holding his arms out to his side like a tightrope walker, he began walking right on the chalk line for foul territory. The umpire was beside himself as this huge man delicately tiptoed down the line. I found it hilarious and it made Stuart one of my favorite players.

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1938 – Jim Kaat.

Baseball player. A left-hander, Kaat pitched in the Major Leagues for 25 years, spanning four decades. In that time he pitched for five teams and won 287 games. Fourteen of those years he played for the Minnesota Twins. He also won a Gold Glove sixteen times for being the best defensive player at his position. After he retired he became a baseball announcer.

I had a cousin, Roger, who passed away this last year. Roger was a good golfer who later went on to become a pro at a golf course. While Kaat was with the Twins he and Roger played at the same club. Roger had one of the more fun, outgoing personalities possible and the two became good friends. They played golf and socialized together. Then Kaat was traded from the Twins, Roger went to an Arizona country club, and they drifted apart. When Roger retired he came back to Minnesota and over the years I heard some stories about Kaat and their time together. So after Roger passed I found an address on where to write to get Jim Kaat’s autograph. Instead of including the requested S.A.S.E, I informed him about my cousin and left my email address. It took a couple of weeks but I heard back from him. In a most gracious note he thanked me for letting him know and spoke of the fun they had had together. As a baseball announcer I always thought Jim Kaat was the best one out there, and he seemed like a class act, now I have further evidence of that.

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ABOUT GARY JENNEKE

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.

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CREDITS

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

Sources:

OnThisDay.com

LOC.gov

en.wikipedia.org

IEP.utm.edu/camus

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

* Lead-In Image (Rutherford B Hayes) – Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash –  “[President Rutherford B. Hayes, half-length portrait, seated, facing left]. Photograph from the Brady-Handy Collection, [between 1877 and 1893, printed later]. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division. https://www.loc.gov/resource/cph.3a53292/”

* Rutherford B Hayes (video) – CBS Sunday Morning / YouTube.com

* Albert Camus (video) – The French Project / YouTube.com

* Jim Kaat (video) – MLB / YouTube.com

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

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OTHER DAYS IN HISTORY …

December 2

December 3

December 5

December 8

December 9

December 11

December 12

December 13

* December 15

December 16

December 18

December 19

December 22

December 23

December 24

December 25

December 28

January 1

January 3

* January 4

January 6

January 7

January 8

January 11

January 12

January 14

January 15

January 17

January 19

January 22

January 23

January 24

January 28

January 29

February 1

February 2

February 3

February 5

February 9

February 10

February 12

February 14

February 15

February 20

February 21

February 22

February 25

February 28

February 29

March 2

March 4

March 6

March 9

March 11

March 12

March 14

March 15

March 17

March 19

March 21

March 22

March 23

March 27

March 28

March 29

April 2

April 3

April 4

April 6

April 9

April 11

April 13

April 16

April 18

April 21

April 22

April 23

April 26

April 28

April 29

May 1

May 2

* May 3

May 5

May 6

May 9

May 10

May 11

* May 13

May 16

May 17

May 22

May 24

May 26

May 27

* May 28

May 29

May 31

June 1

June 3

June 4

June 8

June 10

June 11

June 13

June 16

June 17

June 18

June 21

June 22

June 24

June 27

June 28

June 29

July 2

July 3

July 4

July 9

July 10

July 13

July 14

July 15

July 19

July 20

July 23

July 24

July 25

July 29

July 30

July 31

August 2

* August 3

August 6

August 7

August 10

August 11

August 13

August 16

August 17

August 19

August 21

August 23

August 24

August 25

August 28

August 29

August 31

September 2

September 4

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September 12

September 15

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September 23

September 25

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September 29

September 30

October 1

October 3

October 4

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October 12

October 13

October 14

October 15

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October 18

October 19

October 20

October 23

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October 29

October 30

October 31

November 1

November 2

November 3

November 4

November 5

* November 6

November 8

November 9

November 10

November 11

November 13

November 14

November 15

November 16

November 17

November 18

* November 19

November 20

November 23

November 24

November 26

November 28

November 29

November 30

* Stay tuned for more!

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