Today in history
- Mona Mahmudnizhad and Nine Other Baha'i Women Are Hanged in Iran (1983)
Prior to the 1979 Iranian revolution, the approximately 1 million Iranian Baha'is had generally prospered, despite widespread societal discrimination. Under the Iranian Islamic republic, which regards the religion as heresy, Baha'i was banned, Baha'i property was confiscated, thousands were imprisoned, and several hundred were executed. Among the youngest victims was 17-year-old Mona Mahmudnizhad, who was arrested in 1982 and hanged after several months in prison. What were the official charges? Discuss
- Last Dusky Seaside Sparrow Dies in Captivity (1987)
Thousands of dusky seaside sparrows once inhabited the natural salt marshes around Merritt Island and the area along the St. Johns River in southern Florida. The non-migratory birds lived exclusively in this small area, and this proved to be their undoing. From the 1940s onward, pesticides, pollution, and habitat loss caused the subspecies' population to decline precipitously. By 1979, just six males remained. Why were the remaining birds eventually relocated to Walt Disney World theme park?
- The Soweto Riots (1976)
In 1974, the South African government passed a decree making it mandatory for black schools to split instruction between English and Afrikaans—a language that many associated with the segregationist apartheid government. Two years later, at least 10,000 people—most of them young students—marched to Orlando Stadium in the city of Soweto to protest the change. Violence erupted when police began firing shots, and the resulting Soweto Riots continued for months. How many died during the riots?