On this day 150 years ago, the African-American scholar, activist, and writer, W.E.B. Du Bois was born. A key early advocate for civil rights in the African American community,
Du Bois broke ground as the first black graduate of Harvard University’s PhD program. He rose from humble beginnings in a rural town to an extraordinary place of prominence on the national stage. A year after his death in 1963, the US Civil Rights Act, which embodied many of the reforms for which Du Bois had campaigned his entire life, was enacted. WATCH a mini bio… (1868)
Du Bois’s 1903 collection of essays, The Souls of Black Folk, and his 1935 magnum opus Black Reconstruction in America, were seminal works in African-American literature—and he wrote one of the first scientific studies in the field of American sociology. He basically founded the group that turned into the N.A.A.C.P.
MORE Good News on this Date:
- The Gutenberg Bible was published — first Western book printed with movable type (1455)
- Alabama became the first U.S. state to enact an antitrust law (1883)
- A Chicago attorney and three businessmen met for lunch to form the Rotary Club, the world’s first service club (1905)
- The first mass vaccination of children against polio commenced using Salk’s vaccine (1954)
- British Prime Minister Macmillan visited the Soviet Union, forging with leader Khrushchev cultural and trade links between East and West (1959)
- U.S. Daylight saving time commenced two months early in response to the energy crisis (1975)
- Norah Jones, daughter of Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar, won five Grammy Awards for her debut album “Come Away With Me.” (2003)
And, on this day in 1945, a group of U.S. Marines in battle scaled a mountain on Iwo Jima in World War II as AP photographer Joe Rosenthal captured the moment.
Soldiers raised their flag in a photo that would win a Pulitzer Prize and be memorialized in sculpture near Arlington cemetery outside Washington, D.C.
And on this day in 1940, Woody Guthrie wrote the lyrics to ‘This Land Is Your Land’ in his room at the Hanover House Hotel in New York City. The song was brought back to life in the 1960s, when artists like Bob Dylan in the new folk movement were inspired by its political message.