Wednesday

Feb. 23, 2000

1176 We never know how high we are

by Emily Dickinson

To-Day

by Thomas Carlyle

Broadcast Date: WEDNESDAY: February 23, 2000

Poems: "To-day" by Thomas Carlyle, and "We Never Know How High" by Emily Dickinson.

U.S. Marines raised the flag over Iwo Jima on this day in 1945. They'd been on the island four days trying to secure the airfield in some of the worst fighting of the war. Three years earlier to the day, the Japanese struck the U.S. mainland for the first time. A submarine fired several shells at an oil refinery near Santa Barbara and caused some minor damage.

It's the birthday of Allan Macloed Cormack, born in Johannesburg, South Africa, 1924. He moved to the United States in the late 50s to teach at Tufts University and did the research that led to the CAT Scan—or, Computerized Axial Tomography—which won him the 1979 Nobel Prize in Medicine.

It's the birthday of the journalist and historian William L. Shirer, born in 1904 in Chicago, the author of the classic history of Nazi Germany, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, which came out in 1960.

The German children's author Erich Kastner was born on this date in Dresden, 1899. He's the author of Emil and the Detectives and The Double Lottie.

The French novelist Emile Zola was thrown in jail on this date in 1898 for publishing a blistering letter that began with the words, "J'accuse." He accused the French army of anti-Semitism in its court-martial of Alfred Dreyfus. Zola was dragged to court, found guilty of libel and spent months in jail, then fled to England. Eventually the Dreyfus case was reopened and the verdict overturned, and Zola came back to France a hero.

It's the birthday of civil rights protester W.E.B. Du Bois in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, 1868. At the turn of the century Booker T. Washington was preaching accommodation to African Americans, urging them to accept discrimination for the time being and elevate themselves through work. Du Bois preached agitation and protest and said that accommodation only perpetuates discrimination. He founded the rival Niagra Movement, and then its successor, the NAACP.

The English poet John Keats died on this date in 1821, in Rome. He'd been sick with tuberculosis for the better part of two years and had left England to spend the winter in the Mediterranean. He was 26.

The composer George Frederick Handel was born on this day in 1685 in Halle, Germany. As a young man he studied in Italy, then moved to London where he wowed the British for years with Italian operas. But the public eventually got bored with it, and he switched to writing oratorios. He wrote 16 of them, often in bursts of inspiration: T he Messiah took him only three weeks to dash off.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®

 









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