For the week of Aug. 1, 2021
National Day: Switzerland. This holiday commemorates the founding in 1291 of the Swiss Confederation.
James Baldwin (1924-1987): African American. Writer. In his novels and plays and especially in his essays, Baldwin bore powerful witness to the harsh realities of racial injustice in United States. Although he made his permanent home in France beginning in 1948, he returned to the United States periodically in the decades thereafter and was an active participant in the civil rights movement as well as its most prominent literary voice.
Louis Armstrong (1900-1971): African American. Musician and orchestra leader. Affectionately known as iSatchmo,i Armstrong was one of the leading figures in the history of jazz. He was given his first instrument and taught to play by the New Orleans jazz coronetist Joe iKingi Oliver. After taking Oliveris place in Kid Oryis Jazz band, Armstrong played with a number of groups in Chicago and New York, then founded his own big band 1929. Later he played with smaller groups, notably the Louis Armstrong All Stars, a sextet. Armstrongis virtuosity and musicianship-he expanded his instrumentis range to three octaves without losing and his fluency and fullness of tone nbrought him worldwide acclaim.
Ghost Festival (Kui chieh): China. A special ceremony is performed in temples with offerings of food to the lonely ghosts of those who are not cared for in their familyis ancestral rituals. This ritual protects the community from harm by the lonely ghosts. This festival is celebrated in communities outside the Peopleis Republic of China.
Independence Day: China. Conquered for Spain in the sixteenth century by Gonzalo and Hernando Pizarro, Bolivia became part of the general war for independence from Spain led by Simon Bolivar, along with Jose de San Martin and Antinio Jose de Sucre, defeated the Spanish armies and declared independence on this day in1825. This day is celebrated as a national holiday.
Independence Day: Jamaica. After centuries of British rule, Jamaica achieved its independence on this day in 1962.
Ira Aldridge (1805-1867) : African American. Actor. The son of a freed slave, Aldridge grew up in New York and began his theatrical career when he met the great English actor Edmund Kean, who was touring America. Accompanying Kean back to Britain, Aldridge studied at the University of Glasgow and made his acting debut as Othello in London in 1827. Although he returned to the United States for a brief tour in 1830-1831, he made his career in Europe, touring the continent frequently and winning wide acclaim. He died on this date.
Battle of Boyaca : Colombia . This holiday commemorates the decisive battle of 1819 led by Simon Bolivar in Columbiais war of independence from Spain.
Emiliano Zapata 1877-1919) :Mexican. Revolutionary leader. A poor farmer in the southern state of Morelos, Zapata became a local leader and spokesman for the rights of villagers. After the outbreak of revolution in 1910, he led the insurgent forces in the South. Incorruptible and unswervingly devoted to democratic ideals and economic justice for the poor, Zapata proposed the Plan of Ayala, a blueprint for redistributing land to Indians and peasants. His conflict with the leadership of the revolutionary government led to his entrapment and murder by government soldiers on this date in 1919.