This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
February 29 is the 60th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 305 days remaining until the end of the year.
February 29, known as a leap day in the Gregorian calendar, is a date that occurs in most years that are evenly divisible by 4, such as 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Years that are evenly divisible by 100 do not contain a leap day, with the exception of years that are evenly divisible by 400, which do contain a leap day; thus 1900 did not contain a leap day while 2000 did. Years containing a leap day are called leap years.
On this day in 1940, Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar
On February 29, 1940, Gone with the Wind is honored with eight Oscars by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. An epic Southern romance set during the hard times of the Civil War, the movie swept the prestigious Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Art Direction, Film Editing, and Actress categories. However, the most momentous award that night undoubtedly went to Hattie McDaniel for her portrayal of “Mammy,” a housemaid and former slave. McDaniel, who won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award, was the first African American actress or actor ever to be honored with an Oscar. [..]
Her most famous role was as Mammy in the 1939 film Gone with the Wind. Directed by Victor Fleming and based on the best-selling Margaret Mitchell novel of the same name, the movie remains the highest-grossing movie of all time when inflation is taken into account. Although she was honored with an Oscar, liberal African Americans sharply criticized McDaniel for accepting a role in which her character, a former slave, spoke nostalgically about the Old South.
McDaniel’s film career declined in the late 1940s, and in 1947 she returned to radio as the star of the nationally broadcast The Beulah Show. In the program, she again portrayed an effervescent Southern maid but in a markedly un-stereotypical manner that won praise from the NAACP. In 1951, while filming the first episodes of a television version of the popular show, she had a heart attack. She recovered to do a few more radio programs but in 1952 died of breast cancer at the age of 57.
1504 – Christopher Columbus uses his knowledge of a lunar eclipse that night to convince Native Americans to provide him with supplies.
1644 – Abel Tasman’s second Pacific voyage began.
1704 – Queen Anne’s War: French forces and Native Americans stage a raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts, killing 56 villagers and taking more than 100 captive.
1712 – February 29 is followed by February 30 in Sweden, in a move to abolish the Swedish calendar for a return to the Old style.
1720 – Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden abdicates in favour of her husband, who becomes King Frederick I.
1768 – Polish nobles formed Bar Confederation.
1796 – The Jay Treaty between the United States and Great Britain comes into force, facilitating ten years of peaceful trade between the two nations.
1864 – American Civil War: Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid fails – plans to free 15,000 Union soldiers being held near Richmond, Virginia are thwarted.
1892 – St. Petersburg, Florida is incorporated.
1916 – Child labor: In South Carolina, the minimum working age for factory, mill, and mine workers is raised from twelve to fourteen years old.
1920 – Czechoslovak National assembly adopted the Constitution.
1932 – Time magazine features eccentric American politician William “Alfalfa” Murray on its cover after Murray stated his intention to run for President of the United States.
1936 – Baby Snooks, played by Fanny Brice, debuts on the radio program The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air.
1936 – February 26 Incident in Tokyo ends.
1940 – For her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind, Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African American to win an Academy Award.
1940 – Finland initiates Winter War peace negotiations
1940 – In a ceremony held in Berkeley, California, because of the war, physicist Ernest Lawrence receives the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics from Sweden’s Consul General in San Francisco.
1944 – World War II: The Admiralty Islands are invaded in Operation Brewer led by American General Douglas MacArthur.
1952 – The island of Heligoland is restored to German authority.
1956 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower announces to the nation that he is running for a second term.
1960 – An earthquake in Morocco kills over 3,000 people and nearly destroys Agadir in the southern part of the country.
1960 – Family Circus makes its debut.
1964 – In Sydney, Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser sets a new world record in the 100-meter freestyle swimming competition (58.9 seconds).
1972 – Vietnam War: Vietnamization – South Korea withdraws 11,000 of its 48,000 troops from Vietnam.
1972 – Hank Aaron becomes the first player in the history of Major League Baseball to sign a $200,000 contract.
1980 – Gordie Howe of the then Hartford Whalers makes NHL history as he scores his 800th goal.
1984 – Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau announces he will retire as soon as the Liberals can elect another leader.
1988 – South African archbishop Desmond Tutu is arrested along with 100 clergymen during a five-day anti-apartheid demonstration in Cape Town
1988 – Svend Robinson becomes the first member of the Canadian House of Commons to come out as gay.
1992 – First day of Bosnia and Herzegovina independence referendum.
1996 – Faucett Flight 251 crashes in the Andes, killing 123 people.
2004 – Jean-Bertrand Aristide is removed as President of Haiti following a coup.
Christian Feast Day:
Oswald of Worcester (in leap year only)