68 years ago today, Peanuts, the American comic strip by Charles Schulz, was first published. Schulz drew the comic every day for 50 years—producing an astonishing 17,897 episodes. With a readership of around 355 million in 75 countries, it was translated into 21 languages, earning the artist more than $1 billion with merchandise sales.
The astutely philosophical strip focused entirely on a social circle of young children revolving around the main character, Charlie Brown. Meek and lacking self-confidence, he is unable to fly a kite, win a baseball game, or kick a football—because it was always held by his bossy friend Lucy, who pulled it away at the last instant. (1950)
MORE Good News on this Day:
- Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi was born in Porbandar, India; an attorney turned political leader, he went on to advocate non-violence and become Father of a Nation (1869)
- Sting, famous as the singer/bassist for The Police who released 11 albums in the last two decades, was born Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner to a blue collar family in England (1951)
- Guinea declared itself independent from France (1958)
- The president of South Korea (Roh Moo-hyun) walked across the Military Demarcation Line into North Korea on his way to the second Inter-Korean Summit hosted by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (2007)
Also on this day in 1890, Julius “Groucho” Marx was born in New York City into a family with show biz ties. He became a master of quick wit, and his rapid-fire, impromptu delivery of innuendo-laden comedic patter.
With his siblings, the Marx Brothers, he appeared in 13 feature films. His distinctive appearance and quirks—his exaggerated stooped posture, ever-present cigar, and thick eyebrows and mustache—resulted in the creation of one of the world’s most recognizable looks. You can still buy “Groucho Glasses” a fun one-piece mask consisting of thick glasses, large plastic nose, bushy eyebrows and mustache.
And on this day in 1967, Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first African-American justice to the United States Supreme Court. His college entrance application was rejected by the University of Maryland Law School, on the basis of race, so he enrolled at Howard University instead. “The first thing he did, upon graduation, was use his law degree to sue the University of Maryland for racial discrimination, and he almost couldn’t believe it when he won.” Thanks to his efforts, in 1935 the first black student was admitted to a state law school.
The Writer’s Almanac reports, “Marshall became the legal director of the NAACP, and of the 32 cases he argued for that organization, he won 29.” His biggest case was before the Supreme Court in 1954, the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education that decided the issue of school segregation in the U.S.
Famous Marshall Quote: “None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody—a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns —bent down and helped us pick up our boots.”