Sep. 16, 2000
The Village Burglar
It's the birthday of scholar and critic Henry Louis Gates, Jr., born in Keyser, West Virginia (1950). He taught at Yale, Cornell, Duke, and then became the W.E.B. Dubois Professor of the Humanities at Harvard, and the head of Harvard's Afro-American Studies Program.
It's the birthday of short story writer James Alan McPherson, born in Savannah, Georgia (1943). He attended segregated schools, went to college in Atlanta, and during summer breaks worked as a dining-car waiter on the Great Northern Railway between Chicago and Seattle. After hearing stories from the older waiters and porters, he began writing fiction. His second collection of stories, Elbow Room (1977), won the Pulitzer Prize.
It's the birthday of novelist John Knowles, born in Fairmont, West Virginia (1926). He's best known for his first published novel, A Separate Peace (1959), the tale of two friends at a New England prep school.
It's the birthday of bluesman B.B. King, born in Itta Bena, Mississippi (1925). He worked as a deejay for WDIA in Memphis, using the on-air name 'Beale Street Blues Boy,' later shortened to B.B. He cut his first record in 1949, then toured black bars and dance halls for 20 years, more than 300 one-night stands a year, with his red guitar, Lucille.
It's the birthday of air and sea pioneer Sir Francis Chichester, born in Barnstaple, Devon (1901). He took up sailing in middle age, and made several solo voyages across the Atlantic.Then, in 1965, he left Plymouth to circumnavigate the globe on his 53 foot boat, the Gypsy Moth. Chester's advice to potential round-the-world sailors: "Have a wash at least once a month, grow a vegetable garden in the cabin, take plenty of gin, wear wool, and don't trust do-it-yourself dental kits."
It's the birthday of music teacher Nadia Boulanger, born in Paris (1887). A prize winning composer, she turned instead to conducting, and the teaching of composition. Among her students were Marc Blitzstein, Aaron Copland, Darius Milhaud, and Virgil Thompson.
It's the birthday of psychoanalyst Karen Horney, born in Hamburg, Germany (1885). She took issue with orthodox Freudian theory--especially with regard to women's psycho-sexuality--and was expelled from the New York Psychoanalytic Intsitute. Among her many books is Inner Conflicts (1945).
It's the birthday of entrepreneur J. C. Penney, born in Hamilton, Missouri (1875), who founded the department store chain bearing his name.
It's the birthday of historian Francis Parkman, born in Boston (1823). His writing career began soon after he earned his Harvard law degree and made a journey to the Northwest, following the Oregon Trail to Laramie. On his return East, he wrote up his recollections of the trip. These came out first in a magazine, and later as the book The Oregon Trail; Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain Life (1849).
On this day in 1620, the Pilgrims set sail from Plymouth, England, on a small ship called the Mayflower. The 102 passengers reached Cape Cod on November 21st.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®