Birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis (which may not inspire celebration, but may prompt a teachable moment.)
Also born on this date:
Author/illustrator Anita Lobel. Author of the picture books Sven’s Bridge, Potatoes, Potatoes and The Rose in My Garden, among many others.
William Douglas Home (pronounced Hume). He was a playwright. The Literary Encyclopedia says of him:
However, the Second World War was to change the course of his so far peaceful existence. As a British officer in 1944, he had to take part in the landing in France. But he refused on moral grounds to bomb Le Havre because the civilians had not been evacuated —and indeed 5000 of them were to be killed in the operation. For his refusal to perform what he considered to be a war crime, Home was stripped of his rank, degraded and condemned to a year’s hard labor.
It sounds like a story that would make a good play, novel, or other literary exploration.
Preacher and writer Sydney Smith (b.1771).
“In composing, as a general rule, run your pen through every other word you have written; you have no idea what vigor it will give your style.”
“The object of preaching is, constantly to remind mankind of what mankind are constantly forgetting; not to supply the defects of human intelligence, but to fortify the feebleness of human resolutions.”
“In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book? Or goes to an American play? or looks at an American picture or statue? What does the world yet owe to American physicians or surgeons? What new substances have their chemists discovered? Or what old ones have they advanced? What new constellations have been discovered by the telescopes of Americans? Who drinks out of American glasses? Or eats from American plates? Or wears American coats or gowns? or sleeps in American blankets? Finally, under which of the old tyrannical governments of Europe is every sixth man a slave, whom his fellow-creatures may buy and sell and torture?” (1820)
Not too impressed with what we Americans had accomplished in our first fifty or so years as a country, was he?