July 12th in history:
On this day in 1862, members of Congress authorized the Medal of Honor to be given by the U.S. Army for acts of valor. More than 3,500 Medals of Honor have been awarded, with nearly half going to people who served in the Civil War. As of 2018, Civil War physician Mary Edwards Walker is the only woman to receive the medal.
Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro made history on this day in 1984, when Walter Mondale announced that she would be his running mate in the presidential election. Ferraro was a former school teacher who became a lawyer and eventually a representative from New York. She became the first woman nominated for vice-president by a major party.
Political activist Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan has traveled the world, advocating education for young girls. Malala, born on this day in 1997, survived being shot in the head during an assassination attempt to stop her campaign to let girls attend school. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, making her, at age 17, the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate.
The sons and daughters of the King of Siam are taught by governess Anna Leonowens in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The King and I.” Oscar Hammerstein II, born on July 12th, 1895, wrote the book and lyrics to “King and I” and other famous musicals, including “Show Boat,” “The Sound of Music,” and “South Pacific.”
The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution took effect on August 26th, 1920, giving American women the right to vote.
It’s the birthday of the first woman to be nominated as Vice President by a major political party, Democrat Geraldine Ferraro, born in 1935.
Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke to the Democratic Party convention in Denver on this date in 2008, the night before she officially conceded the party’s presidential nomination to Barack Obama.
Women still cannot be elected pope or vote for the pope. On August 26th, 1978, Catholic Cardinal Albino Luciani was elected pope to succeed Paul the 6th. Luciani combined the names of the two most recent popes in naming himself John Paul the 1st.
August 26th is also the birthday of Mother Teresa (born 1910), the European-born nun who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work with the poor people of Calcutta.