Apr. 11, 2000

Symphony in Yellow

by Oscar Wilde

Broadcast Date: TUESDAY: April 11, 2000

Poem: "Symphony in Yellow," by Oscar Wilde.

On this day in 1865, 2 days after General Robert E. Lee had surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House, in Virginia, PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN GAVE A SPEECH ABOUT REBUILDING THE SOUTH and moving the nation forward. Lincoln's second term of office had just begun, but this was to be the last speech he would give in public: just three days later he was assassinated while attending a play at Ford's theater, in Washington.

It's the birthday of DEAN ACHESON, born in Middletown, Connecticut (1893). His father was the Episcopalian bishop of Connecticut. He was Harry S. Truman's Secretary of State, an architect of N.A.T.O. and a supporter of the Marshall Plan for European Recovery. He said, "The first requirement of a statesman is that he be dull. This is not always easy."

It's the birthday of novelist and essayist GLENWAY WESCOTT, born in Kewaskum, Wisconsin (1901). He traveled with his friend Monroe Wheeler from New Mexico to England to Germany to Paris, and published a famous collection of stories called Good-by to Wisconsin (1928).

It's the birthday of LEO ROSTEN, born in Lodz, Poland (1908). He came to America as a small boy, first to Chicago, and then to New York City. He's best known for his book, The Joys of Yiddish (1968), a comic dictionary of Yiddish words and their many nuances. In the book, Rosten lists 29 meanings for the word "oy." In fact, he says, "Oy is not a word; it is a vocabulary. It is a lament, a protest, a cry of dismay, a reflex of delight. But however sighed cried, howled, or moaned, Oy! Is the most expressive and ubiquitous exclamation in Yiddish."

In 1947 on this day, JACKIE ROBINSON BECAME THE FIRST BLACK MAN TO PLAY IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL, playing first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers in an exhibition game against the New York Yankees. There had been much resistance to his joining the squad from within the team itself. Dixie Walker, the team's most popular player, started a petition protesting Robinson's inclusion. But Pee Wee Reese, from Kentucky, refused to sign, and the movement faded away.

In 1961 on this date, folksinger BOB DYLAN, just shy of his 20th birthday, made his first live appearance in New York City, at Gerde's Folk City Club on West 3rd Street in Greenwich Village.

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




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