Birthday

Christa McAuliffe (1948)

Sharon Christa McAuliffe, a high school history teacher, was among the seven crew members killed when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded soon after its launch in 1986. She had been selected to be the first civilian in space from a field of more than 11,000 applicants to NASA’s Teacher in Space program, and she was…

Janis Joplin (1943)

  Joplin began singing folk rock in Texas bars after running away from home at the age of 17. In 1966, she moved to San Francisco and became lead vocalist of the rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. The band catapulted Joplin to stardom. By the late 1960s, she was almost as well…

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1678)

Vivaldi was an Italian composer, considered the greatest master of Italian baroque. He became a priest in 1703 and spent most of his life after 1709 in Venice, teaching and playing the violin and writing music for the PietĂ , a music conservatory for orphaned girls. Although he produced vocal music, including 46 operas, Vivaldi is…

Birthday of Richard Allen

The son of two slaves, Richard Allen (1760-1831) was born in Philadelphia on this day. By the time he was 26 years old, he had saved enough money to buy his way out of slavery, and soon after that he established America’s first African-American …

Soong Ch’ing-ling (1893)

Born to an influential Chinese family, Soong was educated in the US. She returned to China, became prominent in revolutionary politics, and married Sun Yat-sen, a revolutionary 26 years her senior now known as the father of modern China. She and her sisters—along with their husbands, including Chiang Kai-shek—became some of the most significant political…

Ernie Kovacs (1919)

 

Kovacs was an American comedian. He turned to television after studying acting and writing, and he did much of the performing, writing, and producing for his three series—Time for Ernie, The Ernie Kovacs Show, and Kovacs Unlimited. He utilized …

Carrie Nation (1846)

  Carrie Nation was an American temperance advocate with an unorthodox style of destroying saloons with a hatchet while supporters sang hymns. Her passion was likely fueled by her first husband’s alcoholism. Though she was successful in focusing public attention on the cause of prohibition, most temperance organizations were hesitant to support her. At 6…

John Belushi (1949)

Belushi was an American comedian, actor, and musician. He started out with the Second City comedy troop in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois, in 1971, achieved national recognition in National Lampoon’s Lemmings in 1973, and joined Saturday Night…