Also known by such names as Freedom Day and Jubilee Day, Juneteenth is a celebration of the end of slavery in the former Confederacy after the end of the American Civil War.
Juneteenth has grown to be a day that is observed in the US and around the world, as it symbolizes not only the fight against the evil that is slavery, but also the fight against racism in all its forms. In light of current events, this Juneteenth in 2020 is especially significant
Check out our display of books for International Women’s Day, including titles relating to Feminism; justice,equality and freedom for women; the status of women and girls in Canada and around the world.
Reggae legend Bob Marley was born on this day in 1945 in Nine Miles, Jamaica. Sadly, he died far too young, at only 36 years old, in 1981. For more on the life of this amazing artist, take a look at some of the many books we have here in the school library.
One of the icons of the US Civil Rights movement looked an unlikely hero but proved to be someone whose strength of character belied her appearance. Rosa Parks was born on this day in 1934. In the face of the overt racism of 1950’s America, Rosa famously refused to give up her seat on the bus, as black people were expected to do for white people. She was arrested, and the resulting Montgomery Bus Boycott proved to be one of foundational events of the Civil Rights Movement.
In the United States, the 3rd Monday in January is a National Holiday in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. While it is not a holiday in Canada, Canadians and people all over the world will take some time today to acknowledge the tremendous legacy of Dr. King as a champion of freedom, equality and peace.
Check out our book display in honour of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, including these titles:
International Women’s Day is celebrated around the globe every March 8th. International Women’s Day is a celebration of the contributions of women to society, especially in politics, culture, economics and other areas traditionally closed to women or where the achievements of women were ignored. IWD is also a chance to focus on the continuing battle for gender equality.
The inequality of opportunity for women, and of course outcome, is unacceptable in modern democracies, and worse in other parts of the world. According to the United Nations, “Today, gender inequality is rife: 1 in 3 women experience violence in their lifetime; 830 women die every day from preventable pregnancy-related causes; and only 1 in 4 parliamentarians worldwide are women. It will be 2086 before we close the gender pay gap if present trends continue with no action.” Those are just a fraction of the statistics which demonstrate the continuing need to stand up against inequality.
The struggle for women’s rights is a struggle for human rights. All people, men as well as women, should stand together and demand change.
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.
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.
Women’s Marches took place this past weekend around the country and around the world. Hundreds of thousands of women joined in solidarity in cities like Vancouver and others around Canada, the United States and across the globe. The Women’s March of 2018 was the first anniversary of the Women’s March that took place last year, with much of the impetus coming from protests against the policies of the new U.S. President. In the year that followed the news has been dominated by issues related to the equality and rights of women, making this year’s march as important as ever.
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.