106 B. C. Cicero was born.
1521 Martin Luther was excommunicated. (See October 31st and November 10th entries.)
1833 The British seized control of the Falkland Islands.
1882 Oscar Wilde told U. S. customs officials: “I have nothing to declare but my genius.”
1938 The March of Dimes was organized.
1959 Alaska was given statehood.
1961 The United States severed relations with Cuba. (See January 7th entry.)
It may be coincidental that Cicero’s birthday occurs around the time when the U. S. Congress convenes in Washington D. C. Today’s Senate or House of Representatives may not be oversupplied with golden voices like Cicero’s, but it is safe to say that the nation has more voices, more issues, and probably more listeners. At least modern-day radicals, dissidents, and protesters can expect to be received more gently than Martin Luther, who on this day in 1521, was excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church for speaking his mind.
When Alaska was given statehood on this day in 1959, it was the first time the U. S. admitted a territory outside of the forty-eight contiguous states. This is also the day when, in 1833, the British seized control of the Falkland Islands off the southernmost tip of South America. There is no telling what borders will change or who will lay claim to a given possession in the not so distant future. But no matter where the border lies, it’s advisable to avoid Oscar Wilde’s state of mind when, on this very day in 1882, he said to U. S. Customs officials upon his arrival in New York, “I have nothing to declare but my genius.”
There comes a time when people who have much in common disagree so violently they sever all ties to each other. This was the case in 1521, when Martin Luther, a man devoted to the purity of religious faith, was excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church, the flagship of Christianity. Luther strongly protested a certain laxness that had become apparent amongst the clergy and the faithful, while the Church strongly objected to his
Criticisms. Also on this day, in 1961, the United States severed its relations with Cuba. American troops had fought for the island nation’s freedom during the Spanish American War, but the U. S., acting on strong anti Communist feelings, sanctioned Castro’s antiimperialist government by refusing to trade or communicate—even though the island nation had officially recognized its new leader and government two years earlier.
The March of Dimes, an organization dedicated to fighting polio, a crippling disease that has affected millions worldwide, was organized on this date in 1938. An out growth of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Warm Springs Foundation, the March of Dimes asks everyone to contribute what they can—a nickel, a dime, or a dollar—toward research, prevention, and treatment.