90 years ago today, César Chávez, the civil rights hero and labor leader of one of the most abused and exploited groups in America, was born. He co-founded the National Farm Workers Association in 1962 to help migrant workers–and like Mohandas Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., was a spiritual figure and crusader for nonviolent social change, using peaceful tactics such as fasts, boycotts, strikes and pilgrimages. When he died in 1993, at age 66, more than 50,000 marched in his funeral under a hot California sun. He was a migrant worker himself as a child… (1927)
Education was always a priority for Chávez because, after eighth grade, he had to leave school to work in the fields to support his family. Although his formal education was incomplete, Chávez had great intellectual curiosity, was self-taught, and read widely throughout his life on many topics.
After serving in the U.S. Navy, Chávez became a community organizer, coordinated voter registration drives and directed campaigns against racial and economic discrimination. His birthday today is a holiday in eight states.
MORE Good News on this Date:
- Johann Sebastian Bach, the composer who revolutionized religious and secular music and inspired Mozart, was born (1685)
- Composer Joseph Haydn (Father of the Symphony and String Quartet, and mentor to Beethoven. was born in Austria (1732)
- The Eiffel Tower, designed by architect Gustave Eiffel, officially opened to commemorate the French Revolution (1889)
- Albert Einstein lectured in New York on his new theory of relativity (1921)
- Britain & France agreed to support Poland if it were invaded by Germany (1939)
- The US Congress passed the Marshall Aid Act to rebuild war-torn Europe after World War II, and when the funding ended 4 years later, the economy of every participant state had surpassed pre-war levels by 35 percent (1948)
- 50 years ago today, Jimi Hendrix set his guitar on fire for the first time, ascending to a new level with his stage persona, two months before Are You Experienced was released (1967)
- Albania held first multi-party election in 50 years (1991)
- Thich Nhat Hanh, the renowned Zen master and author led a “Sit in Peace” meditation on the open grounds of London’s famed Trafalgar Square (2012)
Happy 82nd Birthday to Herb Alpert, the musician and modern artist who is best know for the music of his Tijuana Brass band. He had five No. 1 albums, sold 72 million records worldwide, and won nine Grammy Awards–including one for a recent album in 2013. He is the “A” in A&M Records, which he co-founded, and has given away more than $54 million to arts programs and environmental campaigns. (1935)
And, on this day in1949, RCA Victor introduced the 45-rpm record, an advancement that had taken almost a decade to develop. The 7-inch single was designed to offered better fidelity and longer playing time than the 78-rpm record currently in use. Using the new record players, listeners could stack the disks, and hear up to ten records in a row with “speedy, silent, hardly noticeable changes,” as the advertisements boasted. The music system was designed to compete with the Long Playing records (LPs) introduced by Columbia a year earlier. The ‘45s’ became a staple in jukeboxes and homes for decades to come. Every episode of television’s Happy Days began with a 45-record dropping into place to play the theme song,