For the week of Apr. 15, 2018
A(sa) Philip Randolph (1889-1982) : African American. Labor leader and civil rights activist. Randolph organized the first major union of African American workers, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, in 1925 and became its first president. Throughout his long life he was a leader in the movement to improve job opportunities and working conditions for African Americans. He was one of the chief organizers of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Jose de Diego (1866-1918): Puerto Rico. Attorney, poet, and patriot. A public holiday honoring this eloquent orator and accomplished poet. Jose de Diego wrote and spoke in support of the independence of his homeland. He served as Secretary of Justice in the short-lived government of 1897, after Spain had granted autonomy to the island and before the United *States reimposed its governance. He later became first president of the Puerto Rican House of Representatives. As a prominent political figure, he opposed the Jones Act establishing Puerto Rico as a commonwealth of the United States.
Mahavir Jayanti: Jain. Jainism is a religious system practiced by approximately 2 million people in India. It arose in the 6th century B.C.E. as a protest against some aspects of Hinduism. This festival is dedicated to the birthday of Jain, the religionis twenty-fourth Guru. It is celebrated with prayer and visits to shrines.
Independence Day: Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe, formerly called Rhodesia, gained independence from Great Britain on this day in 1980.
Glenn Seaborg (1912-1999): Scandinavian American. Scientist and governmental advisor. Although a chemist by training, Dr. Seaborg did much of his work in nuclear physics, leading the research that created nine artificial elements, including plutonium. In 1951, he shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for these achievements. Dr. Seaborg became the director of the Lawrence Berkley Laboratory and remained emeritus director after he retired. He was a scientific advisor to a number of presidents, serving as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission for 10 years. He also served as chancellor of the University of California.
Tito Puente (1923-2000): Puerto Rican. Musician and bandleader. A pioneer in bringing Latin music to lead the United States, Puente brought percussion to the center of his orchestral presentations with the Tito Puente Orchestra. He became known as the iMambo King.i Puente was also a leader in fusing Latin rhythms with jazz and other forms of music. He recorded over 120 albums, including Cuban Carnival, Mamborama, The Legend, and Tito Puente Live at Birdland Dancemania i99.
Tiradentes Day: Brazil. This commemorates the excution on this day in 1792 of Jose da Silva Xavier, a leader of the revolt against Portugal.
Festival of Ridvan: Bahaii. On the first, ninth, and twelfth day of the Bahaii month of Ridvan (April 21, 29, and May 2), Bahaiis commemorate the declaration of Bahaiuillah in 1863 of his mission as the last messenger of God to the world. Although Bahaiis observe all twelve days, these three days are ones on which they refrain from work. The word iRidvani means paradise, and refers to the garden in Baghdad where Bahaiuillah proclaimed his mission as the prophet of God.
J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967): Jewish American. A pioneer in the field of atomic energy, Oppenheimer was director of the Los Alamos laboratory where the first atomic bomb was developed during World War II. Troubled by the use of science to produce weapons of mass destruction, Oppenheimer joined other scientists in refusing to work on developing the even more powerful hydrogen bomb.
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