This Week in History

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Cat Madish, Editor-in-Chief

  • On Nov. 7, 1916, Jeannette Rankin became the first woman to win a seat in the U.S. Congress. After a career in social work, Rankin set to work towards the suffragette movement. Many believe that Rankins speaking and organizational efforts were a huge factor that led women to gain the right to vote in 1914. Four years later, she decided to run as a representative from Montana. Rankin ran on a nonpartisan campaign due to the animosity towards the parties; however, Rankin was a progressive and pledged to work for women suffrage and social welfare. Besides being the first Congresswoman, Rankin is also known as the only member of congress to vote against world war 1 and 2.
  • On Nov. 3, 1957, Laika became the first creature to orbit space. Sent by the USSR, Laika was a husky-spitz mix that was rescued from the streets of Moscow. She was trained to go into space by subsisting on gel food, as well as being trained to be in small, dark places. She was to spend seven days in space, where she would eventually die from oxygen deprivation. Laika was originally known as Kudryavka, meaning “little curly”, but became known as Laika, “barker” when she barked when being introduced on public radio. Laika did not make it the seven days expected of her and was only able to orbit the earth once as she died of overheating and panic.
  • On Nov. 6, 1962, the UN condemned apartheid in South Africa. Beginning in 1948, apartheid, meaning “apartness” in Afrikaans, was the legislation of segregationist policies against non-white people in South Africa. Under this legislation, non-white South Africans were forced to limit contact with white South Africans by living separately and using separate public facilities. This lasted for about 50 years when resistance began gaining momentum around 1960. The resistance woke the rest of the world up to what was happening, and the UN spoke up against apartheid. However, the legislation wasn’t officially struck down until a new constitution took effect in 1994.
  • On Nov. 4, 2016, the ambitious international pledge to reduce carbon emissions, known as the Paris Agreement, came into effect. The main goal of this agreement was to keep the global average temperature from rising 2 degrees, however, many believed (and still believe) that this goal did not go far enough; this average had already risen 1.3 degrees and island nations and coasts were already in danger. While the US was initially a member of the agreement, Trump announced the intention to pull on June 1, 2017.