1844 Mormon leaders Joseph and Hyrum Smith were murdered by a mob in Carthage, Illinois. (See April 6th entry.)
1880 Helen Keller was born.
1936 President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his “rendezvous with destiny” speech.
1969 Patrons at Manhattan’s Stonewall Inn clashed with police during a raid.
We generally think of courage in terms of combat—either on the battlefield or on the playing fields. Today we should be thinking of a far greater kind of courage. Today is Helen Keller’s birthday. Born in 1880, in Tuscumbia, Alabama, Helen Keller was diagnosed blind, deaf, and mute. In her time, many physically challenged people were placed in lunatic asylums. But thanks to inventor Alexander Graham Bell— whose wife was hearing-impaired—and her visually-impaired teacher Anne Sullivan, Keller learned to speak. She learned to read lips by touching the lips and throat of the individual speaking. She learned to read Braille. She became a professional writer and crusaded for better treatment of visually - and hearing-impaired individuals.
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt was renominated on this day, in 1936, he sounded a rallying call for his time. “This generation,” Roosevelt proclaimed, “has a rendezvous with destiny.”
Today marks some somber footnotes in the history of America’s fight for freedom. In 1844, Mormon leaders Joseph and Hyrum Smith were murdered by a mob in Carthage, Illinois. The First Church of Latter Day Saints had been exiled from New York State and a number of other places before attempting to settle in the Midwestern town. But local people were enraged by the idea of having these so - called heretics who practiced polygamy in their Christian town. The Mormons were run out on a rail once again. In 1969, patrons of Manhattan’s Stonewall Inn clashed with police during a raid. Homosexuality was treated as a crime in New York City and the incident at this bar became the focal point of gay rights’ advocates for years to come.