Mar 31– A young Abigail Adams encouraged her husband John to give women voting privileges in the new American government. She wrote to her husband on March 31, 1777, while he was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention: “I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous to them than were your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention are not paid to the ladies we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound to obey any laws in which we have no voice or representation.” Twenty years later her husband was a candidate in America’s first real election.
Mar 31, Charlotte Bronte (b.1816), English author (Jane Eyre), died. In 1994 Lyndall Gordon authored “Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life.” In 2015 Clare Harmon authored “Charlotte Bronte: A Life.”
Mar 31, Madame Blavatsky was hoisted in an invalid chair onto a steamer in the Madras harbor of India and departed for London. In England she wrote “The Secret Doctrine” and had as guests to her salon William Butler Yeats, Annie Besant and the young Mohandas K. Gandhi.
Mar 31, Mexican-American singer Selena, 23, was shot to death in Corpus Christi, Texas, by the founder of her fan club. Yolanda Saldivar was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Mar 31, Terri Schiavo (41), the severely brain-damaged woman who spent 15 years connected to a feeding tube in an epic legal and medical battle that went all the way to the White House and Congress, died in Florida, 13 days after the tube was removed.
Mar 31, In Eritrea a ban on female circumcision went into effect. A health survey by Eritrea’s government in 2002 found 62 percent of circumcised women in the Red Sea state had the procedure done before their first birthday. Less than one percent had been performed by trained health professionals.
Mar 31, In Mexico Juana Barraza (50), a former female wrestler who terrorized Mexico City as the “Little Old Lady Killer,” was sentenced to 759 years in jail for killing 16 elderly women.
Mar 31, In Brazil a US woman studying Portuguese was held for hours and was sexually assaulted aboard a public transport van she boarded in Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach neighborhood. Three men, ages 20 to 22, were soon taken into custody and a third was being sought in connection with the attack. Police later detained a 14-year-old suspected of participating in the attack. On Aug 14 three men were convicted of grand theft, rape and extortion.