From Mental Floss:
The first episode of “Doctor Who” aired on the BBC on this day in 1963. It has since become the longest running Sci-Fi television series ever. Doctor Who has grown from earning a small cult following in the UK to become a worldwide phenomenon. Come down to the School Library to check some of our Doctor Who titles.
Ziggy Marley was born on this day in 1968. One of the children of reggae legend Bob Marley, Ziggy would go on to become a famous musician in his own right. Many might disagree, but some feel his best work was “Believe in Yourself.”
“Believe in Yourself” is the theme song for “Arthur” the beloved animated program based on the books by Marc Brown.
ISLM and CLM Connections: Arthur gave us a library anthem, the “Library Card Song.”
On this day in 1957, the USSR launched Sputnik, first artificial earth satellite. In the context of the Cold War, this event was shocking to many who had assumed that the U.S. and other western nations were clearly advanced in terms of science and technology. Many consider that the success of Sputnik triggered the “Space Race” of the 1950’s and 1960’s, eventually leading to the Moon Landing of 1969.
Find out more in these and other fascinating books that look at the Space Race and space exploration.
American Suffragist Susan B. Anthony was born on this day in 1820. Anthony is considered to be one of the foremost figures in the 19th Century struggle for women’s rights and equality. She was also a heavily involved in the abolition movement, fighting against the horrific institution of slavery.
Find out more:
Pro baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson was born on this day in 1919. An outstanding player who would go on to win MVP awards and Championships, Robinson will forever be remembered as the first African-American to play Major League Baseball when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. He stood up to unspeakable racism with dignity and grace. In 1997, on the 50th anniversary of his breaking the colour barrier, Major League Baseball retired Jackie’s number, 42.
Sikhs in Canada and around the world observe the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh who was born in 1666 in Patna, India. He was the 10th and last of the (human) Gurus of Sikhism. He established the Khalsa, the organization of men and women baptized into the Sikh faith. He also established the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhism, as the final Guru for the Sikh people. For more on Guru Gobind Singh and the Sikh faith, check out some of the following links:
Cassius Clay was born on this day in 1942. After winning a Gold Medal in the Olympics for the United States, he would turn professional and go on to become the Heavyweight Champion of the World. He changed his name to Muhammad Ali as part of his conversion to Islam. Ali would win the Heavyweight Title an unprecedented three times, most famously regaining the title in 1974, seven years after having his title stripped from him in 1967. When Ali was drafted for military service by the US government, likely for duty in Vietnam, Ali refused induction as a conscientious objector, citing his religious beliefs and his opposition to the Vietnam War. Ali famously told the world that “No, I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder, kill, and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slavemasters over dark people the world over. This is the day and age when such evil injustice must come to an end”
Ali was arrested and found guilty of draft evasion. Boxing authorities stripped him of his title and banned him from the sport for nearly 4 years. Although the Supreme Court eventually overturned his criminal conviction, he had lost his title and many years of his athletic prime. Remarkably, he fought his way back to the top, defeating George Forman in the legendary “Rumble in the Jungle” in 1974. After losing the title again in 1978 to Leon Spinks, Ali won the rematch to regain the Belt for an unprecedented third Heavyweight Boxing Title.
Ali is arguably the greatest athlete in history. In his prime, he was certainly the most famous and recognizable athlete in the entire world. Ali was a polarizing figure, as many hated him for his brash, self-aggrandizing demeanor and his outspoken religious and political statements. However, even more people loved him. To a generation of people all over the globe, Ali was a counter-cultural hero who represented the struggle against racism, against war and against the conservative authorities of the day.
Find out more about Muhammad Ali:
Dolores O’Riordan, of the Irish rock band “The Cranberries,” passed away yesterday at age 46. The Cranberries rose to international fame in the 90’s with such hits as Zombie, Linger and Dreams.
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on this day in 1929.
Dr. King was the leading figure of the Civil Rights Movement, as African-Americans struggled for freedom and equality in the United States. Dr. King was a brilliant orator and an inspirational leader. Dr. King was committed to the principals to non-violence, in part based on the example of Gandhi in India. He believed that the only path towards a peaceful resolution of the plight of black people in the United States was through non-violence, civil disobedience, and peaceful protest.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated as a national holiday in the United States on the 3rd Monday of January.
For more on the life of Dr. King:
South African author Alan Paton was born on this day in 1903. The author of Cry the Beloved Country used his novels as part of his lifelong fight against Apartheid in his homeland. He died in 1988, not able to live long enough to see the rise Nelson Mandela and the end of Apartheid just a few years later.