Good News in History, August 18

Happy 35th birthday to Joanna Jędrzejczyk (yoon-JAY-check) the Polish female mixed-martial artist who held the UFC’s Women’s Strawweight title for two-and-a-half years, putting the women’s divisions on the map with her mixture of punishing Muay Thai strike combinations, and infectious personality. She holds the record for most successful strawweight title defenses (5), most consecutive wins at strawweight (8), and is the first Polish champion and first female European champion in the UFC. READ more about her story… (1987)

Joanna Jędrzejczyk – CC 3.0. KRK.TV

Jędrzejczyk discovered Muay Thai (kickboxing from Thailand) at 16 years old, and during her professional career Jędrzejczyk won five world titles with a record of 27-3.

This gave her a strong platform with which to launch a foray into the then-very-young world of women’s mixed martial arts. Signing with the UFC in 2014, she won her first two bouts before challenging the 115 pound women’s title in 2015 against Carla Esparza, whom she demolished in the second round via technical knockout.

She went on to fight regularly, defending the belt against Jessica Penne, and Valerie Letourneau during which Jędrzejczyk landed 220 significant strikes and 70 leg kicks, both records for numbers landed in a championship bout. She again defended her title for the 3rd time against Claudia Gadelha, and a 4th time against fellow Pole, Karolina Kowalkievicz, the latter at the organization’s first ever event at Madison Square Garden.

Jędrzejczyk beat Jessica Andrade in 2017 and successfully defended her title for the fifth consecutive time, breaking the records she set against Letourneau for significant strikes and leg kicks landed in a championship bout (225) and (75).

After losing her sixth title defense, a series of wins and losses saw her retire from mixed martial arts at 35, announcing in the octagon that “It’s been 20 years. I’m turning 35 this year. I want to be a mom. I want to be a businesswoman. I’ve been training two decades, more than half of my life. I appreciate you all. I love you guys.”

MORE Good News on this Day:

Ringo Starr made his debut with The Beatles at a horticultural society dance– the first appearance of John, Paul, George, and Ringo playing together in public (1962)
James Meredith became the first black person to graduate from the University of Mississippi (1963)
The Police played live for the first time as a three-piece band in Birmingham, England, in a style influenced by punk, reggae, and jazz that made themone of the first New Wave groups to achieve mainstream success (1977)
Canada’s ‘highway to the Arctic’ opened (Dempster Highway), from Dawson, Yukon, to Inuvik, Northwest Territories, stretching 457 miles/736 km – much of it following an old sled dog trail (1979)
Japan‘s election law was amended to allow for proportional representation (1982)
Liberia‘s civil war ended after 14 years when the Comprehensive Peace Accord was signed in Accra, Ghana (2003)

Happy 86th Birthday to Hollywood star Robert Redford. From his working class roots in California, he became an actor beloved for his roles in The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Way We Were, and the timeless political journalism thriller All the President’s Men.

Jemal Countess; featured image includes photos in 2007, 2009, by qbac07, CC licenses

He was the male lead in Out of Africa, which was an enormous 1985 box office success that won 7 Oscars, including Best Picture. We love whenever he plays a cowboy, including in The Horse Whisperer, which he also directed.

He won the Oscar for Best Director for Ordinary People—and further awards for directing The Milagro Beanfield War, A River Runs Through It, and The Legend of Bagger Vance, the spiritual golfing movie that co-starred Matt Damon and Will Smith.

He is also founder of the Sundance Film Festival and a noted environmental activist.

Most recently, Redford starred on 2 Netflix streaming films in 2017: The Discovery and Our Souls at Night (which was also produced by Redford and reunited him with co-star Jane Fonda, who played opposite him in Barefoot in the Park and The Electric Horseman). Redford played an aged bank robber in the 2018 drama The Old Man & the Gun, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination. He briefly reprised his role as Alexander Pierce, the head of S.H.I.E.L.D., in a cameo appearance in Avengers: Endgame. (1936)

Also, on this day in 1868, the colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas, Helium, was first discovered. Named for the Greek Titan of the Sun, Helios, it showed up as an unknown yellow spectral line signature during a solar eclipse.

Norman Lockyer was the first to propose that it was a new element, which he named. The second most abundant element in the observable universe, most helium in the universe is helium-4, the vast majority of which was formed during the Big Bang. Used in the cooling of superconducting magnets, in MRI scanners, and for arc welding, a well-known but minor use is as a lifting gas in balloons and airships.

102 years ago today, the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, finally giving women the right to vote. It was the culmination of decades of effort by the women’s suffrage movement, who lobbied for passage of such a bill in the House and Senate for 41 years.

In 1900, Carrie Chapman Catt succeeded Susan B. Anthony as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Catt refocused the group’s energy on the passage of the federal amendment, calling her strategy ‘The Winning Plan’. By 1915, NAWSA was a large, powerful organization, with 44 state chapters and more than two million members.

After they won in Congress, they had to convince 2/3 of the states to ratify. Tennessee was the last of the necessary 36 to secure adoption into law, thus enfranchising with a political voice 26 million American women. WATCH a Short History of Suffrage below… (1920)

And, 53 years ago today, the massive music festival at Woodstock, after many rain delays, concluded with a sunrise performance by Jimi Hendrix, who played The Star Spangled Banner. The guitarist and his band was the last act to perform at the festival, playing a two-hour set on Monday morning.

At 8:30 his surprise psychedelic rendition of the U.S. national anthem reminded the remaining 200,000 hippies that they were essentially Americans, just like all their neighbors—then he segued into Purple Haze. (1969)

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