Ellen Wilkinson (1891–1947) was a British Labour Party politician,
Member of Parliament (MP) for Jarrow from 1935 to 1947 and Minister of
Education from July 1945 until her death. In 1936 she was a leader of
the Jarrow March, an iconic symbol of 1930s unemployment and
impoverishment. On graduating from the University of Manchester in 1913,
Wilkinson worked mainly as a trade union official, and was briefly a
member of the British Communist Party before becoming Labour MP for
Middlesbrough East in 1924. After losing her seat in the 1931 general
election she worked as a writer and journalist before resuming her
parliamentary career in 1935. A strong advocate for the Republican
faction in the Spanish Civil War, she made several visits to the battle
zones. During the Second World War Wilkinson served in Churchill’s
wartime coalition as a junior minister. By the time she achieved cabinet
office in Clement Attlee’s postwar Labour ministry she was in poor
health due to constant overwork, and was able to promote only modest
educational reforms. She died of an accidental overdose of medication
while under treatment for an acute bronchial disease.
Today’s selected anniversaries:
After a devastating defeat in the Northern Wars, King Frederick
III of Denmark–Norway was forced to give up nearly half his Danish
territory to Sweden to save the rest.
Nader Shah, founder of the Afsharid dynasty, was crowned Shah
Three violent explosions at a coal mine near Castle Gate, Utah,
US, killed all 171 miners working there.
The Ba’ath Party came to power in Syria in a coup d’état by a
clique of quasi-leftist Syrian Army officers calling themselves the
National Council of the Revolutionary Command.
The Cold War: During a speech to the National Association of
Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida, U.S. President Ronald Reagan described
the Soviet Union as an “evil empire”.
Wiktionary’s word of the day:
(South Africa) Grandmother; elderly woman.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
Certitude is not the test of certainty. We have been cocksure of
many things that were not so.
–Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
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