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 April 28 in History

 Today's birthday

For the week of Apr. 26, 2015

Freedom Day : South Africa. This commemorates the day in 1994 when for the first time all South Africans had the right to vote.

Independence Day : Sierra Leone. This day commemorates Sierra Leoneis independence from Great Britain in 1961.

Ann Petry (1908)-1997): African American. Writer. Born in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, Ann Petry later married and moved to Harlem where she held a variety of jobs, including editor of the womenis pages of The Peopleis Voice, a weekly paper started by Adam Clayton Powell Jr, She published a story n iOn Saturday, the Sirens at Nooni n in The Crisis, the magazine of the NAACP, that was later explained into a novel and published by Houghton Mifflin in 1946 as The Street. This novel was the first major literary work to focus on every day life in Harlem. It achieved critical and popular acclaim, selling 1.5 million copies. This is the day of her death.

Edward Kennedy (Duke) Ellington (1899-1974): African American. Composer, pianist, and jazz orchestra leader. A prolific composer and arranger and brilliant leader whose orchestra included some of the finest jazz soloists of his time, Ellington was one of the preeminent figures in jazz from the 1920is until his death. His compositions include such classic songs as iMood Indigoi and Satin Doll,i and concert works on jazz themes n some of them with religious tests.

Golden Week: Japan. This is a holiday that incorporates Greenery Day on April 29, Constitution Day on May 3, Holiday for Nation on May 4, and Children's day on May 5. This is a period when children have vacation from school and many workers have time off.

Greenery Day (Midori No Hi): Japan. This was originally the day to celebrate the birthday of the Showa Emperor but it is now also celebrated as a day for *fostering the planting of trees and other vegetation. *

May Day (Labor Day): International. In many countries the first day of May is celebrated as a spring festival, a time to celebrate the rebirth of life after winter. Some May Day customs can be traced back to ancient observances. The tradition of dancing around a pole hung with ribbons probably had its origin in the tree worship of the Celtic Druids, and the custom of filling baskets with flowers is derived from the ancient Romansi practice of gathering spring flowers on the festival of Floralia. May Day later took on another meaning: In 1884, the Federation of Organized Trade and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada drafted a resolution in support of an eight-hour working day to begin on May 1, 1886, and called for a general strike to achieve that goal. This strike led to the infamous Haymarket Affair in Chicago on May 4, 1886. On that day an anarchist labor rally was held in Haymarket Square to protest the police killing of strikers at a factory the day before. When the police tried to disperse the rally, someone threw a bomb that killed several policemen, and a riot ensued. Despite a lack of evidence, eight of Chicagois leading anarchists were charged with conspiracy to murder n four were hanged, one committed suicide in prison, and the remaining three were later pardoned. The Haymarket Affair was a pivotal event in the history of the labor movement, leading to a crackdown on labor organizations and a splintering of the Knights of Labor, the strongest U.S. labor organization, which was eventually supplanted by the American Federation of Labor. In 1889, an international Socialist congress convened in Paris and voted to support the United States labor movementis demands, choosing May 1 1890 as a day of demonstration in support of an eight-hour working day. Many countries now celebrate May Day, sometimes called Labor Day, as an official holiday honoring working people. The United States and Canada, however, celebrate Labor Day in September.

Satyajit Ray (1921-1992): Indian. filmmaker. Rayis films depicting the lives of ordinary people in his native Bengal brought him international recognition as one of the great creators in the medium. He was involved in every aspect of the filmmaking process; in addition to writing and directing each film, he sometimes wrote the musical score, designed the sets, and even operated the camera. His best-known work is a trilogy (Pather Pachali, Aparajito, and The World of Apu) tracing the life of a single character, the young boy Apu, from his village through his education and migration to the city.

Septima Clark (1898-1997): African American. Teacher and civil rights activist. Septima Clark played a vital role in the civil rights movement as the chief organizer of freedom schools that taught thousands of Black people throughout the South to read and helped them register to vote.

Paul G. Hearne (1950?-1998) : American. Activist for the disabled. Mr. Hearne was a founder or officer of virtu -ally every national organization devoted to the disabled. He started the first legal service office for the disabled, ran the first job placement agency for the disabled, served as director of the National Council of Disability, and was influential in writing the landmark Americans with Disabilities, the Association of People with Disabilities, and the Disabilities Study Group. Born with a debilitation disorder that limited his growth to four feet tall and caused him to spend his childhood in body casts and traction until he was 15, Hearne finally was able to enroll in a new school for the disabled, the Human *Resources Center in Albertson, New York. *

Golda Meir (1898-1978): Jewish Israeli. Prime minister. Born in Kiev in Ukraine, Meir came to the United States as a child and grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She immigrated to Palestine at the age of 19. In 1969 she became Israelis fourth prime minister.

Constitution Day: Poland. This holiday commemorates the passage in 1701 of Polandis first constitution, which was the second written constitution in the world after that of the United States and the first in Europe. It provided for the separation of powers between the executive (the king and his Ministers), the legislative (the Sejm), and the judicial branches of government. Although the constitution was hailed throughout the West as a triumph for progressive forces, it was suppressed in 1792 by the invading army of Catherine II of Russia, who saw the movement toward democracy across her western border as a threat to her own absolute rule.