100 years ago today, the jazz-pop singer and actress Lena Horne was born. The first black performer to be signed to a long-term contract by a major Hollywood studio, her career spanned 70 years on stage, screen and television. Born in Brooklyn, she dropped out of school but found musical mentors after moving in with her estranged father at age 18. Horne recorded popular albums and performed into her 80s, including a one-woman show at 62, called “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music,” which ran for more than three hundred performances on Broadway. The Grammy award winner also found fulfillment joining the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, 20 years after secretly marrying a white composer in the 1940s. WATCH a biography broadcast after her death… (1917)

Remembered also as a co-star in the Broadway play, The Wiz, Horne died of congestive heart failure at the age of 92.

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • Yosemite Valley was granted to California for “public use, resort and recreation” by President Abraham Lincoln (1864)
  • Albert Einstein published, during his “Miracle Year”, the article where he introduced special relativity, which became the generally accepted physical theory regarding the relationship between space and time* (1905)
  • The Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act were passed by Congress (1906)
  • The first Chevrolet Corvette rolled off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan (1953)
  • The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 against the government, affirming newspapers’ rights to publish the Pentagon Papers (1971)
  • 39 American hostages were freed in Beirut from a hijacked TWA jetliner after being held for 17 days (1985)
  • Spain legalized gay marriage (2005)
  • A kindness scavenger event held simultaneously in five cities led volunteers in Syracuse, New York City, Denver, Seattle and Richmond, Virginia on a mission to put a smile on a stranger’s face (2012)
  • Misty Copeland became the first African-American Principal Dancer in the American Ballet Theater’s 75 year history (2015)



* A defining feature of special relativity is the replacement of the Galilean notions of Newtonian mechanics: Time and space cannot be defined separately from each other. Rather space and time are interwoven into a single continuum known as spacetime. Events that occur at the same time for one observer could occur at different times for another. Rather than an invariant time interval between two events, there is an invariant spacetime interval. Combined with other laws of physics, the two postulates of special relativity are expressed in the mass–energy equivalence formula: E = mc2

Other Notable Birthdays: Happy 66th birthday to Stanley Clarke, jazz bass player who has worked with Chick Corea, Santana, Keith Richards, Quincy Jones, and Paul McCartney. (1951)