This week in history
For the week of Jan. 17, 2021
Martin Luther King Jr. Day: United States . National observance of Dr. King's birthday.
Pablo Manlapit (1891-1969): Filipino. Labor leader. A worker who came to Hawaii at the age of 19 to work on sugar plantations, Manlapit was discharged from his first job for involvement in labor organizing. While working as a janitor in a law office, he studied for a law degree, eventually becoming the first Filipino to pass the bar examination in Hawaii. Rather than practicing law, he resumed his efforts to organize unions that would press the powerful Hawaiian Sugar planters Association (HSPA) for improvements in the harsh living and working conditions of laborers, most of them Filipino and Japanese. Manlapit succeeded in building a united movement, but the HSPA repeatedly thwarted the workers' efforts, breaking strikes and using the resulting violence to charge Manlapit with criminal activity. He was permanently deported to the Philippines in 1935.
Sending Off the Kitchen God Day. China. This festival is associated with the New Year. In traditional Chinese homes, a paper image represents a home deity that is thought to keep track of the deeds of the household for the year. The chief deity then determines the fate of the family for the next year. On this day the family burns the image, whose spirit is believed to go to heaven and report to the chief deity on the family's behavior during the past year. The chief deity then determines the fate of the family for the next year. To positively affect the report of the Kitchen God, the family may put honey or sticky candy over its mouth - some say, to make sure that it reports only sweet things; others say, so that it will not be able to speak at all. This holiday is also celebrated on January 18.
Daniel Hale Williams (1858-1931) : African American. Surgeon and hospital administrator. After founding Provident Hospital in Chicago to provide a medical center open to doctors of all races, Williams made medical history in 1893 by performing the first successful heart operation on record.
Epiphany: Eastern Orthodox Christian. Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate this holiday on this day based on the Julian calendar.
Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968): African American. Civil rights leader. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gained national prominence during the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott of 1955-1956 and soon became the acknowledged national leader of the growing movement to obtain civil rights for African Americans. His commitment to nonviolence, his courage, and the moral power of his vision, eloquently expressed in masterful oratory and writings, won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Toward the end of his life King became convinced of the interrelatedness of all forms of social, economic, and military oppression, and broadened the sphere of his activism. He spoke out against U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam and was preparing to lead a massive Poor People's March on Washington when he was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
Pilar Barbosa (189?): Puerto Rican. Historian and political activist. Pilar Barbosa de Rosario, historian and mentor to generations of Puerto Rican politicians, scholars, and intellectuals, was widely regarded as the conscience of the New Progressive Party. She started her career as the first woman to teach at the University of Puerto Rico and later created the departments of history and social studies. She became an authority on Puerto Rican political history and was named the Commonwealth's official historian in 1993. Professor Barbosa led the movement to make the Progressive Party both the party of statehood and of social justice. She died on this day at the age of 99.
Thomas A. Dorsey (1899-1993): African American. Gospel songwriter, blues singer, and pianist. The son of a Georgia revivalist preacher, Dorsey began his career as a pianist, composer, and arranger of blues pieces. When he turned to composing church music, he introduced elements of the blues into his work, thereby creating the sound of contemporary gospel music. In 1932 Dorsey became musical director of Chicago's Pilgrim Baptist Church, a position he held for more than 40 years. In the same year he cofounded the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses. The most famous of Dorsey's more than 1,000 gospel songs is Take My Hand, Precious Lord, written in 1932 after the death of his first wife and infant son.
Arthur Alfonso Schomburg (1874-1938) : Puerto Rican. Scholar and collector. Son of a Black laundress and a German-born merchant, Schomburg left Puerto Rico at age 17 to continue his education in New York City. His growing involvement in efforts to improve conditions for Black and Latino people led him to become fascinated with African American Culture, and he began collecting books, pamphlets, manuscripts, and prints documenting the history of Black people in America. His personal collection, which he amassed as a hobby, became the finest of its kind in the nation and was purchased in 1926 by the New York Public Library. The Arthur A. Schomburg Collection of Negro Literature and Art opened to the public in 1934 with Schomburg as its curator, a position he held until his death.
New Year: China. This is beginning of a three-day celebration of the Chinese New Year. The festivities mark the beginning of year 4699 (The Year of the Snake) since the mythical founding of the Chinese people. It is a day when all business accounts are settled and grudges forgotten. Traditional Chinese celebrate New Year's Day as a birthday and count themselves one year older. Celebrations include fireworks, a dragon dance and the beating of drums and cymbals, visits to temples, and prayers for blessings *In the new year. This is called Spring Festival in the People's Republic of China because the official New Years Day is January1, based on the Gregorian calendar. *
New Year (Sol) : Korea. This begins the traditional Korean New Year 4334 of the era of Tan'gun, the mythical progenitor of the Korean people. It is celebrated from January 24 to January 26.
New Year (Losar): Tibet. This begins the Tibetan lunar year 2128. This is a day of celebration that links all people in the Tibetan diaspora, resulting from the decision of many Tibetans, led by the Dalai Lama in 1959, to flee the Communist Chinese.
New Year (Tet Nguyen Dan) : Vietnam. This is the most important holiday in Vietnam. People dress in their best clothes to welcome the new year. There are ceremonies to bid farewell to the gods that attend each household, the kitchen gods, who go to heaven to report on the household's behavior during the past year. fireworks mark the departure of the kitchen gods.