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 October 21 in History

 Today's birthday

For the week of Oct. 16, 2016

Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins (1844-1887): American Indian (Northern Piute). Writer and lecturer. While working as an interpreter, Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins observed the injustices perpetrated against her people by federal officials. Her book Life among the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims (1883) blended autobiography, history, and ethnographic description with advocacy of the Piute claim to autonomy and to ownership of their homelands. She died on this date.

Mahalia Jackson (1911-1972): African American. Gospel singer. Mahalia Jackson's rich contralto voice and the powerful spirituality that she conveyed won her an international following and greatly increased the audience for gospel *music. *

Henry Lewis (1932-1996): African American. Musician and conductor. Henry Lewis was the first Black conductor and music director of a major American Orchestra, and the first Black to conduct the New York City Metropolitan Opera.

Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953): Irish American. Playwright. O'Neill expanded the range of American drama with his tragedies focusing on ordinary people and his expressionistic experimental plays.

John Brown's raid at Harper Ferry (1859): African American. A passionate *foe of slavery, Brown led a band of 21 men in an attack of a federal armory at Harper's Ferry , West Virginia, on this date. After seizing the armory and the bridges leading to it, he was forced to surrender, tried for treason, and hanged. Brown, a white man, was hailed by abolitionists as a martyr.

Jean Jacques Dessalines (1758-1806) Haitian. Revolutionary leader. Dessalines, born a slave, joined the revolt against French rule by Francois Dominique Toussiant-Louveture. After Tossaint-Louverture's capture in 1802, Dessalines, along with Henri Christophe, led the successful effort to defeat the French army of Napoleon I. He declared independence from France on January 1, 1804, gave the land the name of Haiti (Indian for hills), and proclaimed himself Emperor Jacques I. He ruled Haiti as the first independent nation in Latin America from 1804 to 18906. This is the day of his death.

William (Will) Rogers Jr. (1879): American Indian (Cherokee). Humorist. Rogers' homespun humor won him national fame and great popularity as a stage and film actor, radio personality, and writer of a syndicated newspaper column. The targets of his barbs ranged across the entire political spectrum.

Birthday of the Bab (1819-1850: Baha'i. The Bab (which means the Gate) is honored by the Baha' is the one who announced that the messenger of God would soon appear. He was the forerunner of Baha'u'llah, the prophet-founder of the Baha'i faith. On this day Baha' is throughout the world suspend work and come together for prayer and festivities.

Chulalongkorn Day: Thailand. This day commemorates the death in 1910 of King Chulalongkorn the Great, who abolished slavery in Thailand.