On This Day
960 – The coronation of Zhao Kuangyin as Emperor Taizu of Song, initiating the Song dynasty period of China that would last more than three centuries.
Emperor Taizu of Song (21 March 927 – 14 November 976), personal name Zhao Kuangyin, courtesy name Yuanlang, was the founder and first emperor of the Song dynasty in China. He reigned from 960 until his death in 976. Formerly a distinguished military general of the Later Zhou dynasty, Emperor Taizu came to power after staging a coup d’état and forcing Emperor Gong, the last Later Zhou ruler, to abdicate the throne in his favour.
During his reign, Emperor Taizu conquered the states of Southern Tang, Later Shu, Northern Han, Southern Han and Jingnan, thus reunifying most of China proper and effectively ending the tumultuous Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. To strengthen his control, he lessened the power of military generals and relied on civilian officials in administration. He was succeeded by his younger brother, Zhao Kuangyi (Emperor Taizong).
Born On This Day
1899 – Virginia M. Alexander, American physician and founder of the Aspiranto Health Home (d. 1949)
Virginia M. Alexander (February 4, 1899 – July 24, 1949) was an American physician, public health researcher, and the founder of the Aspiranto Health Home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Virginia M. Alexander was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 4, 1899 to Hilliard Alexander and Virginia Pace. She had four siblings, including the prominent attorney Raymond Pace Alexander. Alexander’s mother died when she was 4 years old, and at age 13 her father’s riding academy closed. Alexander withdrew from school to help relieve the resulting economic strain on her family, but her father insisted that she finish her education.
Alexander attended high school at the William Penn High School for Girls, where she graduated with honors before receiving a scholarship that allowed her to attend the University of Pennsylvania to complete her undergraduate education. Alexander took work as a waitress, clerk, and maid in order to cover her living expenses through college. She was also a member of the black sorority Delta Sigma Theta. She continued her medical education at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. With the help of private philanthropy, Alexander finished medical school in good standing.
When Alexander began looking for a medical internship, she faced rejection from many Philadelphia hospitals on the basis of race. The hospital operated by the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania would also not accept her, but the school did help Alexander and another student, Mae McCarroll, secure internships at the Kansas City Colored Hospital in Missouri in 1925. Alexander remained in Kansas City to complete a pediatrics-surgery residency at Wheatley-Provident Hospital.
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