Good News in History, July 23

On this day, 130 years ago, Emperor Haile Selassie was born. One of the seminal figures in Ethiopian history, he was a member of the Menelik dynasty that traced its ancestry to the union of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. As emperor of Ethiopia, he introduced the first written constitution, abolished slavery, presided over the formation of the Organization of African Unity, the precursor of the African Union, and served as its first chairman. READ about his role in reggae music…

Haile Selassie in 1942

He is believed to have been the reincarnation of Christ on earth in the eyes of the Rastafarian movement, and he is referred to as “Jah” or “Jah Rastafari.” When he eventually traveled to Jamaica to address the growing religious movement, his plane landed on a runway of covered people and couldn’t leave the airplane.

The leader of the Rastafarians was invited up to “negotiate the Emperor’s disembarking”  which was eventually done, marking the day as “Grounation Day,” the second holiest day on the Rasta calendar.

Rita Marley, Bob Marley’s wife, supposedly saw the marks on his hands from where his previous form had been nailed to the crucifix by the Romans, hence Bob’s transition to Rastafarianism and the growth of its notoriety thereafter. Marley’s song Iron Lion Zion is about Haile Selassie.

MORE Good News on this Day:

The ice cream cone was invented by Charles E. Menches on the occasion of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri (1904)
The first successful liver transplant was performed by Dr Thomas Starzl at the University of Colorado on 19-month-old Julie Rodriguez, a cancer patient who lived for 400 days with her new liver (1967)
Democracy returned to Greece as military factions, which forced him out, invited the former prime minister Constantine Karamanlis to return and huge crowds gathered to greet him ar the Athens airport as jubilation arose in the streets (1974)
More than 25 countries joined together to end commercial whaling following more than a decade of public pressure, with major whaling forces like the US becoming strong proponents of the anti-whaling convention (1982)

Happy 51st Birthday to the amazing musician and singer Alison Krauss, who has won more Grammys than almost anyone.

A teenage prodigy in Decatur, Illinois, she was attracted to bluegrass music and was winning contests at age 10—and at 16 showed off her extraordinary fiddle playing on a debut album with a major label. Her soundtrack performance for O Brother, Where Art Thou? was credited with helping renew Americans’ interest in bluegrass music. As of 2019, she had won 27 Grammy Awards from 42 nominations, ranking her fourth behind Beyoncé, Quincy Jones, and classical conductor Georg Solti for most wins overall.

Her collaboration with Robert Plant, Raising Sand, was certified platinum and won five Grammys, including Album and Record of the Year. She’s sold more than 12 million records to date and will be inducted in 2021 to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

Krauss has teamed up with many country musicians, but also across genres with stars like Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift, The Chieftains, James Taylor, Yo-Yo Ma, Cyndi Lauper, Heart, and Phish. Check out her fiddle skills in Man of Constant Sorrow on YouTube, playing with her longtime band, Union Station—and WATCH her perform the ballad, When You Say Nothing At All... (1971)

Happy Birthday to Harry Potter—the actor Daniel Radcliffe—who turns 33 years old today.

2015 Photo by Gage Skidmore, CC license

At age 11, he was cast as Potter in the debut film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone—and he learned the life-changing news while in the bathtub chatting with his mum in London. While starring in all 8 films of the series for 10 years, until 2011, he became one of the highest paid actors in the world, and earned critical acclaim in his role as the young wizard.

Later, he portrayed Allen Ginsberg, the famed beat poet, in the 2013 independent film Kill Your Darlings, and won praise in the Broadway musical revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. He recently co-starred with Steve Buscemi (who plays God) in a TBS comedy series Miracle Workers about working in heaven as a low-level angel responsible for handling all of humanity’s prayers.

And, on this day in 1983, an Air Canada 767 jet ran out of fuel at 41,000 feet elevation but, thanks to the pilot’s experience in flying gliders, it made a miraculous deadstick landing at Gimli, Manitoba, with no injuries to the 61 passengers or the festival goers attending a drag-racing event at the closed air force base where Captain Bob Pearson, 47, had planned to land. The plane was dubbed ‘The Gimli Glider’.

This TV show segment from The National produced five years ago on the 30th anniversary didn’t include some of the juicier details about the pilots’ calculations and the landing, which you can read on Wikipedia. They encountered good fortune when the nose landing-gear did not stay open and they were able to use a guardrail that had been installed down the center of the old runway to produce added friction for stopping the plane’s momentum.

WATCH the dramatic video from CBC News…

Also on this day 22 years ago, Tiger Woods became the youngest golfer to win a complete Grand Slam. At age 24, he held all four modern major championships simultaneously — the U.S. Open, The British Open Championship, the PGA Championship and the Masters. He won the British Open that year at St. Andrews, with the best score ever recorded—19 under par.

His father Earl, a former Vietnam War lieutenant colonel and a formidable amateur golfer, first lost to his son in a golf match when Tiger was 11 years years old. Even with his dad trying his best, he lost to the boy every time after that.

After personal problems and a divorce he dropped to 58th in the rankings, but in 2013 he climbed back to #1. An injury followed, but with back surgery Woods recovered and just won his first major in 11 years at the 2019 Masters. (2000)

Photo by Deutsche Bank at a Birdies For the Brave charity tournament, CC license

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