Happy 88th Birthday to Desmond Tutu, the archbishop of Cape Town who received the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in South Africa to end apartheid, including his leadership of the vital Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
As a member of The Elders, he still campaigns for human rights and against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. He recently co-authored a book with the Dalai Lama called, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World. (1931)
More Good News from this Date:
- The Stamp Act Congress convened in New York to draw up colonial grievances against England (1765)
- The U.S. and British governments announced the establishment of the United Nations, the intergovernmental organization that won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for sending peace-keeping troops into conflict areas like East Timor (1942)
- American poet Allen Ginsberg performed his poem Howl for the first time at the Six Gallery in San Francisco (1955)
- New York’s Metropolitan Opera hired its first black performer, contralto singer Marian Anderson (1954)
- President John F. Kennedy signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty with Britain and the Soviet Union, prohibiting all test detonations of nuclear weapons except underground (1963)
- Cats the musical opened on Broadway, beginning its record run of 7,485 performances (1982)
And, on this day in 1968, the Motion Picture Association of America announced a new voluntary Hollywood rating system for giving advance warnings to parents so they can make decisions about which films might be appropriate for their children. The four MPAA ratings included ‘G’ for general audiences of all ages, ‘M’ for mature audiences, ‘R’ for restricted under the age of 16, unless accompanied by an adult, and ‘X’, which the National Association of Theater Owners lobbied for in order to protect itself against lawsuits.
And, on this day in 1955, the brilliant cellist Yo-Yo Ma was born in France. The Chinese-American musician was a child prodigy, performing from the age of five, when his mother, a singer, and father, a violinist, moved to New York City.
His 90+ albums have received 18 Grammy Awards and his kindness follows him around the world on tour after tour. His fascination with other cultures and the ways their music can be blended together resulted in the nonprofit Silk Road Project. Ongoing since 1998, it is described as an “arts and educational organization that connects musicians, composers, artists, and audiences around the world.” Watch a clip below, and see Yo-Yo talk about Silk Road.