On this day in 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified, guaranteeing the right to vote regardless of race and intending to ensure, with the Fourteenth Amendment, the civil rights of former slaves.
On this day in 1990, South African President F.W. de Klerk lifted the 30-year ban on the African National Congress, resulting in the release from prison of Nelson Mandela and marking the beginning of the end of apartheid.
in full Frederik Willem de Klerk politician who as president of South Africa (1989–94) brought the apartheid system of racial segregation to an end and negotiated a transition to majority rule in his country. He and Nelson Mandela jointly received the 1993 Nobel Prize for Peace for their collaboration in efforts to establish nonraciaDe Klerk was the son of a leading politician. He received a law degree (with honours) from Potchefstroom University in 1958. Soon afterward he began to establish a successful law firm in Vereeniging, becoming active in civic and business affairs there. In 1972 he was elected to Parliament for the National Party. His legal talents and the respect in which he was held won him a number of key ministerial portfolios, including mines and energy affairs (1979–82), internal affairs (1982–85), and national education and planning (1984–89). He was elected leader of the House of Assembly in 1986.
After President P.W. Botha fell ill in January 1989, de Klerk was elected leader of the National Party and successfully opposed Botha’s resumption of office after his recovery. De Klerk was formally elected president by South Africa’s tricameral Parliament on September 14. He owed his political success to the power base he had built up in the Transvaal, where he had been chairman of the provincial National Party from 1982.
As president, de Klerk committed himself to speeding up the reform process begun by his predecessor and to initiating talks about a new postapartheid constitution with representatives of what were then the country’s four designated racial groups (white, black, Coloured, and Asian [Indian]). Though faced with a strengthened right-wing opposition in Parliament (the Conservative Party), de Klerk quickly moved to release all important political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela (in 1990), and to lift the ban on the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan-African Congress. Thereafter, he frequently met with black leaders, and in 1991 his government passed legislation that repealed racially discriminatory laws affecting residence, education, public amenities, and health care in South Africa. In 1992 he called a referendum in which almost 69 percent of the country’s white voters endorsed his reform policies. That same year, de Klerk undertook serious negotiations with Mandela and other black leaders over a proposed new constitution that would enfranchise the black majority and lead to all-race national elections. In the meantime his government continued to systematically dismantle the legislative basis for the apartheid system.
Under de Klerk’s leadership, the governing National Party reached agreement with the ANC in the summer of 1993 on a transition to majority rule. De Klerk led his party’s campaign in South Africa’s first all-race elections in April 1994, in which the ANC obtained a majority of seats in the new National Assembly. De Klerk subsequently joined a government of national unity formed by Mandela, taking the post of second deputy president. He resigned as head of the National Party in 1997, when he announced his retirement from politics.
l democracy in South Africa.
Definitive historical dictionary of the English language, originally consisting of 12 volumes and a 1-volume supplement. The dictionary is a corrected and updated revision of A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (NED), which was published in 10 volumes from February 1, 1884, to April 19, 1928, and which was designed to provide an inventory of words in use in English since the mid-12th century (and in some cases even earlier). In 1933 the New English Dictionary was reissued in 12 volumes (together with a 1-volume supplement) as The Oxford English Dictionary. Both the NED and OED were published by the Clarendon Press of Oxford.
Arranged mostly in order of historical occurrence, the definitions in the OED are illustrated with about 2,400,000 dated quotations from English-language literature and records. The aim of the dictionary (as stated in the 1933 edition) is “to present in alphabetical series the words that have formed the English vocabulary from the time of the earliest records down to the present day, with all the relevant facts concerning their form, sense-history, and etymology.”
The publication of the dictionary was first suggested to the Philological Society (London) in 1857, and the collection of materials began soon thereafter. Editorial work began in 1879 with the appointment of James Murray, who was at that time president of the Philological Society, as editor in chief. Murray, during his term as editor, was responsible for approximately half of the dictionary, including the letters a through d, h through k, o, p, and t. Succeeding editors included Henry Bradley, William Alexander Craigie, and C.T. Onions.
A micrographically reproduced 2-volume edition of the 1933 12-volume OED and its supplement appeared in 1971, entitled The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.
A Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary, 4 vol. (1972–86), treating words that came into use in the English-speaking world after the preparation of the OED, was begun in 1955 under the editorial direction of R.W. Burchfield and was published by the Clarendon Press.
The second edition of The Oxford English Dictionary, known as OED2, was published in 20 volumes in 1989 by the Oxford University Press. Its coeditors were John A. Simpson and Edmund S.C. Weiner. The second edition includes in one alphabetical sequence all the words defined in the original 12-volume OED and the 5 supplementary volumes. A CD-ROM version of the OED2 became available in 1992. Two volumes of Additions were published in 1993 and 1997, and work was begun on a complete revision of the entire corpus for the projected third edition. Material from this project, as well as the entire second edition and its supplements, was accessible on the dictionary’s Web site.
Any of a series of unmanned Soviet lunar probes. Luna 2 (launched Sept. 12, 1959) was the first spacecraft to strike the Moon, and Luna 3 (Oct. 4, 1959) made the first circumnavigation of the Moon and returned the first photographs of its far side. Luna 9 (Jan. 31, 1966) made the first successful lunar soft landing. Luna 16 (Sept. 12, 1970) was the first unmanned spacecraft to carry lunar soil samples back to Earth. Luna 17 (Nov. 10, 1970) soft-landed a robot vehicle for exploration. It also contained television equipment, by means of which it transmitted live pictures of several kilometres of the Moon’s surface. Luna 22 (May 29, 1974) orbited the Moon 2,842 times while conducting space research in its vicinity. Luna 24 (Aug. 9, 1976) returned with lunar soil samples taken from a depth of seven feet (about two metres) below the surface.
Renegade lawman in the American West, a fictional character of American radio and television programs, books, films, and comics.
In all media the Lone Ranger fictions are similar. John Reid was born in 1850 and was the sole survivor of a group of Texas Rangers who were ambushed by outlaws who killed five rangers, including his older brother, Daniel. The Indian Tonto found him and nursed him to health. Reid then donned a black mask made from his dead brother’s vest, mounted his stallion, Silver, and roamed the West as the Lone Ranger to aid those in need, to fight evil, and to establish justice.
The character was created in the Lone Ranger radio program by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker. First aired on radio station WXYZ in Detroit, Mich., on Jan. 30, 1933, the radio program was carried by more than 400 American stations by the end of the decade. It was radio that made the Lone Ranger’s theme song, Gioacchino Rossini’s “William Tell Overture,” a familiar tune in every child’s repertoire, and it was radio that made “Hi-yo Silver, Away!” a familiar playground exclamation.
The Lone Ranger’s first movie serial appeared in 1938. In 1949 the radio show moved to television, and the sounds were linked to images and actors who became equally familiar. Clayton Moore played the Lone Ranger for all but a few episodes, and Jay Silverheels became the embodied Tonto. The television show was syndicated for four years, then picked up by the Columbia Broadcasting System, on which it ran until 1958. The show continued to run in syndication, and in 1980 an entirely new movie, The Legend of the Lone Ranger, appeared.
On this day in 1886, German mechanical engineer Karl Benz—whose original three-wheeled Motorwagen ran for the first time in 1885—patented the first practical automobile powered by an internal-combustion engine.
Although the original Benz car (a three-wheeled vehicle, the Motorwagen, now preserved in Munich) first ran early in 1885, its design was not patented until Jan. 29, 1886. Benz & Co. was founded in Mannheim in 1883 to build stationary internal-combustion engines; the company completed its first four-wheeled automobile in 1893 and produced the first of a series of racing cars in 1899. In 1926 the Benz company merged with Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft to form Daimler-Benz, maker of Mercedes-Benz automobiles. Benz had left the firm about 1906 to organize C. Benz Söhne, Ladenburg, with his sons, Eugen and Richard.
On January 28, 1986, Challenger, carrying seven astronauts, exploded shortly after liftoff, killing all aboard including a private citizen, schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe. The presidential commission appointed to investigate the accident determined that a joint seal in one of the solid rocket boosters had failed as a result of mechanical design problems, which were exacerbated by the unusually cold weather on the morning of the launch. Hot gases leaking from the joint eventually ignited the fuel in the shuttle’s external tank, causing the explosion. After the accident, the shuttle fleet was grounded until September 1988 to allow NASA to correct the design flaws and implement associated administrative changes in the shuttle program. In 1992, Endeavour, a replacement orbiter for the destroyed Challenger, flew its first mission.