Jun. 4, 2013
The Day Goes On Forever
We're alone my shadow and me
You're alone with your shadow too
The first day and the last day the same
First song same as last song
The stream weeps passing under concrete
Habitual deer have retreated
The earth is covered with vehicles
Meant to secure the unknown against us
The caged bird said this place is very pretty
Excellent for lunch fine for sleeping
But if I might ask one thing more
How come nobody thought to put in a door
On this date in 1896, a young electrical engineer named Henry Ford completed, and successfully tested, his first experimental automobile. He called it the "Quadricycle" because it rolled around on four bicycle tires. He worked on it for two years, out in the shed behind his house on Bagley Avenue in Detroit. It was finally ready to test when he hit an unexpected snag: It was too wide to fit through the workshop's door. Ford took an ax to the doorframe, and he was soon rolling down Grand River Avenue.
The Quadricycle had a two-cylinder, four-horsepower engine and could achieve speeds up to 20 miles per hour. It had two gears and no brakes. It ran on pure ethanol, and it was steered by the means of a tiller, like a boat. It wasn't much to look at, just a 500-pound skeleton with a steel frame and no body. The first test drive was a success.
On this day in 1940, Carson McCullers' (books by this author) novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter first appeared. She was twenty-three, and the only thing she had published before was a short story. The novel, about a group of outcasts all drawn to the same deaf man, was a huge success.
On this date in 1919, the 19th Amendment passed the Senate. Fifteen months later, it was ratified by the necessary 36 state legislatures, giving American women the right to vote.
Susan B. Anthony drafted the original amendment, with the help of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and it was first formally introduced in 1878. It sat in committee for nine years before it went before the Senate in 1887 and was voted down. Over the next decades, several individual states approved women's voting rights, but a Constitutional amendment wasn't considered again until 1914. It was repeatedly defeated, and an anti-suffrage movement campaigned against it, claiming that it was unfeminine for women to venture outside their natural domestic sphere.
But in 1918, Woodrow Wilson threw his support behind the suffrage movement. Women had entered the workforce in large numbers during World War I, and in a speech that President Wilson gave in September 1918, he said: "We have made partners of the women in this war. Shall we admit them only to a partnership of suffering and sacrifice and toil and not to a partnership of right?" The amendment passed both houses of Congress the following May.
It was on this day in 1989 that the Chinese government cracked down on students conducting pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. The demonstrations had begun months earlier, after the government accused them of planning a coup d'état. They drew thousands of supporters from three dozen universities and staged hunger strikes and sit-ins. The Chinese government declared martial law, and troops approached the square with tanks in the late evening of June 3.
Ordinary workers had been demonstrating in support of the students for weeks, and they crowded into the streets to block the advance of the tanks toward the square. Violence broke out around midnight on this day in 1989, with some people throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at the troops, and the troops responding with gunfire.
Soldiers surrounded the perimeter of the square, and the students expected that they would kill everyone at the center. Around 4:00 a.m., all the lights went out, and it got quiet. The students debated whether or not they should surrender. They heard the engines of the tanks start up, and finally they made the decision to evacuate. Almost all the students survived.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®