Results tagged “History”

Birthday of Clarence Darrow

Clarence Darrow.jpgClarence Darrow, the most renowned American lawyer of the early 1900's, was born on April 18, 1857. He became famous as a defender of labor after representing Eugene V. Debs and other union officials who were arrested for supporting the Pullman Strike of 1894. Darrow later began to specialize in criminal defense and was nearly 70 years old when he tried his two most spectacular cases. In 1924, he defended teen thrill killers Nathan F. Leopold, Jr. and Richard A. Loeb, who admitted to kidnapping and murdering 14-year-old Bobby Franks in their attempt to commit a perfect crime. In 1925, he defended the right of John T. Scopes to teach the theory of evolution in public school. Darrow died on March 13, 1938.


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"Everywhere the Glint of Gold"

424px-The_Moment_Carter_Opens_the_Tomb.jpgFebruary 16 marks an important day in the history of archeology. It was on this day that after six years of searching and months of digging,Tutankhamun's burial chamber was finally opened. Howard Carter, the chief archeologist on the dig, described opening the tomb:

" I inserted the candle and peered in... at first I could see nothing, the hot air escaping from the chamber causing the candle to flicker. Presently, details of the room emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues and gold - everywhere the glint of gold..."

Read more about Tutankhamun, Howard Carter, and the tomb discovery at your Milwaukee Public Library.

The Birthday of Jules Verne

Jules Verne caricature.jpgJules Verne, the author sometimes referred to as the father of science fiction, was born on February 8, 1828 in Nantes, France. Although his works were written before the invention of the airplane, they predicted not only planes, but television, guided missiles and space satellites.

Verne's novels brimmed with adventure and memorable characters. There was mad Captain Nemo of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, tooling around the ocean in his submarine, the Nautilus. And how about the dashing Phileas Fogg, travelling Around the World in Eighty Days? Several of Verne's works have been turned into movies, and, in fact the new film Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, owes a debt to not one, but two, of his novels; Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Mysterious Island.


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L'assassinat du citoyen Marat

Death of Marat.jpgOn July 13, 1793, Charlotte Corday, a Royalist sympathizer, stabbed to death Jean Paul Marat, one of the most outspoken leaders of the French Revolution. Regarding Marat an an arch enemy of France, she planned to kill him at the Bastille Day parade on July 14. Those plans fell through when the festivities were canceled. On July 13, she gained an audience with Marat, who, due to a skin condition, was working in his bath. Corday pulled a knife and stabbed him; he died almost immediately. Corday waited calmly for the police to come and arrest her and was guillotined four days later.


On a cheerier, note, this year Milwaukee celebrates the 30th anniversary of Bastille Days, North America's largest outdoor French themed festival. From July 14 - July 17, come down to Cathedral Square to enjoy entertainment, food, and activities for children and adults.


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The Eruption of Mount St. Helens

Mount St Helens eruption.jpgOn the morning of May 18, 1980, an earthquake shook the volcanic Mount St. Helens in southwestern Washington, triggering a gigantic landslide of ice and rock followed by a violent explosion of steam and gases. The eruption killed 57 people, thousands of animals and millions of fish. Over 200 square miles of wilderness were devastated. In 1982 President Ronald Reagan established the area around the peak as the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.


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50th Anniversary of the Freedom Ride Movement

Montgomery Civil Rights Monument.jpgOn May 4, 1961, the civil rights group CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) organized the freedom rides, integrated bus rides meant to draw attention to failures to adhere to a Supreme Court decision prohibiting discrimination in interstate travel. Volunteers, black and white, sat together in buses travelling across the South and ignored signs at bus terminals designating "white only" areas. On May 14, members of the Ku Klux Klan attacked Freedom Riders in Birmingham, Alabama. On May 20, U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy sent federal marshals to keep the peace and protect the riders, and by 1962, segregation had ended in almost all buses and bus terminals in the United States.


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Sidney Poitier Wins the Oscar for Best Actor

Sidney Poitier.jpgOn April 13, 1964, at the 36th annual Academy Awards ceremony, Sidney Poitier became the first African-american to win an Oscar for Best Actor. In the film Lilies of the Field, Poitier portrays an unemployed construction worker who is hired by a group of Eastern European nuns to help them build a chapel in the desert.

In 1967, Poitier was the top box office star of the year, due to the success of his films To Sir, With Love, In the Heat of the Night, and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Born in Miami to parents from the Bahamas, Poitier has served as the Bahamian ambassador to Japan since 1997.


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2001: A Space Odyssey

2001 a space odyssey hal.pngApril 6, 1968 marked the debut of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Co-written by Kubrick and science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, the movie became a landmark in film history. To generations that have grown up on fast-paced, special effects laden space dramas, "2001" may seem ponderously slow, but as someone who saw it back in the day, I can attest to its incredible impact at the time. From the sublime soundtrack to the evocative cinematograpy, the film delivered quite a punch. The first section, "The Dawn of Man" concludes with a stunning visual effect that catapults early man millions of years into the future. And who, having seen the movie, can ever forget HAL?


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Happy Birthday, Eiffel Tower!

Construction on the Eiffel Tower was completed 122 years ago today. It took 2 years, 2 months and 5 days to build and was only expected to last for 20 years. The Eiffel Tower still stands today and has almost 7 million visitors annually.

Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower has a great website where they offer a lot more than tools to plan your visit. You can also see galleries with photos and videos, play games and download the Eiffel Tower app.


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Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

Exxon ValdezTwenty-two years ago today the Exxon Valdez oil tanker struck the Bligh Reef and dumped 11 million gallons of oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound. The spill damaged more than 1,300 miles of shoreline, killed hundreds of thousands of birds and marine animals and devastated the livelihoods of people in the area. Oil from the Exxon Valdez still affects wildlife today and there have been numerous long-term economic effects to the region.

To find out more about the Exxon Valdez oil spill the Milwaukee Public Library offers Internet resources and books. Additionally, new resources have been added to our collection about the more recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.


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"Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death"

Patrick Henry.jpgOn March 23, 1775, orator and statesman Patrick Henry gave a rousing speech to the Virginia Provincial Convention, urging that the Virginia militia be armed for defense of the colony against England. The text of the speech was not published until 17 years after Henry's death, leading to some historical uncertainty as to the exact words he uttered, but those present at the time reported hearing "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" These words have taken their place among some of the most memorable in American history.



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The Scarlet Letter

Scarlet Letter.jpgOn March 16, 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter was published. This masterpiece of American literature, like many other of Hawthorne's works, is set in the Puritan New England of the 17th century, a time period which haunted the author. (He had good reason to be strongly influenced by that time period, as one of his forefathers, John Hathorne, was a judge during the Salem witchcraft trials.) The story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a child during an adulterous affair and must wear a scarlet letter "A" on her gown as a badge of sin, has left a lasting mark on popular culture, inspiring operas, songs, and movies, including the 2010 film Easy A, in which a straight arrow high school girl sees her life parallelling Hester Prynne's after a little white lie about losing her virginity gets out.


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February 23, 1945 - U.S. Flag Raised on Iwo Jima

Iwo Jima stamp.jpgThe World War II Battle of Iwo Jima was immortalized in what would become the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication, and has come to be considered one of the most recognizable images of the war. The picture, taken by Joe Rosenthal, actually depicts the second raising of the flag that day. Of the six men in the photo, three did not survive the battle. The last of the survivors to die was John Bradley, who passed away in his hometown of Antigo, Wisconsin in 1994.


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Fifty Years Ago Today

JFKToday marks the fiftieth anniversary of the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. One way to commemorate this day is to go to the Website of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. From this site you can access their two newest additions: a Website celebrating the JFK presidency and a groundbreaking digital archive. This is the largest collection of digitized materials from a presidential library whose collections were not born digitally. It contains approximately 200,000 pages; 300 reels of audio tape; more than 1,245 individual recordings of telephone calls, speeches, and meetings; 72 reels of film; and 1,500 photos.


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Quoth the Raven, "Happy Birthday to You"

Edgar Allan Poe.jpgEdgar Allen Poe, one of America's most famous men of letters, was born on January 19th, 1809 to a pair of travelling actors. His father abandoned the family while Poe was an infant, and his mother died before his third birthday, a combination of events which may have helped set the stage for his dark and haunting literary works. Poe's young wife Virginia, whom he had married when she was thirteen, died of tuberculosis at 24, adding more grief to his life. He himself died somewhat mysteriously at the age of 40 after being found dirty and incoherent in a Baltimore tavern after a few days during which his whereabouts were unknown. His short story "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" is considered to be the first modern detective story, several of his works have inspired movies and his most celebrated poem "The Raven" provided the name for Baltimore's National Football League team. To learn more about this enigmatic figure, check out Nevermore: A Photobiography of Edgar Allan Poe or The Everything Guide to Edgar Allan Poe, just two of the many books about or by Poe available at the Milwaukee Public Library.


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The Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge 3.jpgOn January 5, 1933, construction began on one of America's most famous landmarks: the Golden Gate Bridge connecting San Francisco and Marin County, California. Since opening to the public in May 1937, almost two billion vehicles have crossed the bridge.

The bridge is named not for its distinctive color, but for the Golden Gate Strait, where the San Francisco Bay opens into the Pacific Ocean. Frommer's San Francisco 2011 refers to the Golden Gate as "possibly the most beautiful, and certainly the most photographed, bridge in the world."


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It Was 30 Years Ago Today

John Lennon Wall Prague.jpgIt was a cold and snowy December in 1980 New York City and it seemed to get a lot colder on the 8th, when fans around the world started hearing the news that John Lennon, former member of the seminal musical group the Beatles, was shot and killed outside of his home in the Dakota building. The man died that day, but his music and memory live on.



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Mrs. Parks and the Cleveland Avenue Bus

Rosa Parks bus diagram.jpgOn December 1, 1955, seamstress and civil rights activist Rosa Parks refused a city bus driver's orders to give up her seat for a white passenger. Although her action was not the first of its kind, it became the trigger for the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Mrs. Parks became an international symbol of resistance to racial segregation. You can check out books and movies about this pivotal event in the history of the United States at the Milwaukee Public Library. The picture above is a diagram of where Mrs. Parks sat on board the Cleveland Avenue bus on Thursday, December 1, 1955.


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The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Edmund Fitzgerald.jpgOn November 10, 1975, the Edmund Fitzgerald, a giant transport ship, was caught in a raging storm while crossing Lake Superior. Late that afternoon, the ship's captain radioed that "Big Fitz" was taking on water and had top-side damage. The ship sank and all 29 crew members perished. Singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot commemorated the tragic event in his Number One hit "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," with its haunting opening lines:

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they called "Gitche Gumee."
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
when the skies of November turn gloomy.

If you'd like to hear the song again, you can check out Lightfoot's Complete Greatest Hits or Gord's Gold Volume II. The library has books and videos about the Edmund Fitzgerald as well as data on more than 10,000 vessels in the Great Lakes Marine Collection including ships that sailed in 1679 to some that are still on the lakes today.


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Feliz cumpleaños to Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Don Quixote and Sancho.jpgMiguel de Cervantes Saavedra, considered the preminent writer in Spanish literature and one of the greatest authors in any language, was born on or about September 29, 1547. His life experiences, which ranged from being an avid reader and a devoted soldier to being captured and enslaved by pirates, influenced his literary works, including his masterpiece, Don Quixote. The novel's memorable title character is so bedazzled by tales of romantic chivalry that he sets off to save the world, famously tilting at windmills, which he believes to be giants. The book inspired the Tony Award winning musical Man of La Mancha, which in turn became a movie by the same title.


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