Good News in History, December 6

Good News in History, December 6

13th-Amendment-natl archives-326px150 years ago today, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was signed, which formally abolished slavery in the nation. Although many slaves had been declared free by President Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, it wasn’t until the Civil War had been settled that the basic freedom to self-determination – a core value upon which America was founded – was confirmed for African-Americans throughout the land in every state. Check out a list of books on the topic. (1865)

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • American abolitionist Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery (1849)
  • The Washington Post newspaper was first published (1877)
  • The aluminum capstone, the largest single piece of aluminum cast at that time, was set atop the Washington Monument, the world’s tallest stone structure, to officially complete the memorial obelisk in Washington D.C. (1884)
  • Finland declared independence from Russia (1917)
  • A US judge ruled James Joyce‘s novel, Ulysses, was not obscene (1933)
  • Everglades National Park in Florida was dedicated, the first national park created to protect a fragile ecosystem and the largest wilderness of any kind east of the Mississippi River and containing the largest mangrove ecosystem in the western hemisphere (1947)
  • A group of 10th-graders from Israel arrived in New York to help in the ongoing clean-up efforts after Hurricane Sandy (2012)

Dave Brubeck-RIP95 years ago Dave Brubeck was born (1920-2012). The American jazz pianist and his band, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, produced the first million-selling jazz single, “Take Five” in 1959, on the album, Time Out, which is one of the top highest-selling jazz albums of all time. (Paul Desmond, the sax player in the band who wrote the song, even donated all profits from his Take Five hit to the Red Cross.)

Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer-RankinBassAnd on this day in 1964, Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the animated stop-motion Christmas special, was first broadcast on television. The beloved Rankin/Bass production chronicles the bullying endured by Rudolph (at reindeer school) and a misfit elf Hermey, who wants to be a dentist. They run away from home–but towards trouble. The show introduced now-iconic Christmas songs to the holiday lexicon, like Silver and Gold, and Have a Holly Jolly Christmas. Filmed entirely in Japan, the show’s original characters include Rudolph’s love interest, Clarice; the antagonistic Abominable Snowman, a loud, boisterous prospector named Yukon Cornelius; and, as narrator, the anthropomorphic Sam the Snowman, voiced by Burl Ives.