Fascinating Facts

  • Happy Birthday George Washington: Feb. 22, 1732

    Feb. 22, 1732 — George Washington is born today. Our nation’s first president is born today in Westmoreland County, VA. The second son from the second marriage of a Colonial plantation owner, George Washington was initially a loyal British subject. But in 1775, the Continental Army chose him to lead them in the American Revolution, which ultimately led him to being known as the father of our country. (more…)

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  • Social Reformer Frederick Douglass Dies Today in 1895

    Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey; c. February 1818 – February 20, 1895) was an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writings.

    In his time, he was described by abolitionists as a living counter-example to slaveholders’ arguments that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens. Northerners at the time found it hard to believe that such a great orator had once been a slave. (more…)

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  • February 20, 2017: Happy President’s Day!

    Today we honor the US Presidents! This American holiday, celebrated each third Monday in February, was originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington. (It is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government.)

    Traditionally celebrated on February 22—Washington’s actual day of birth—the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers.

    While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.

    To celebrate, consider these words from our 16th president:

    “The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name — liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names — liberty and tyranny.” – Abraham Lincoln, President 1861-1865

    SourceClick here to learn more about President’s Day! (more…)

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  • Geronimo, a prominent leader and medicine man from the Bedonkohe band of the Chiricahua Apache tribe, died today in 1909

    February 17, 1909 — Geronimo “the one who yawns” (born June 16, 1829) was a prominent leader and medicine man from the Bedonkohe band of the Chiricahua Apache tribe. From 1850 to 1886 Geronimo joined with members of three other Chiricahua Apache bands—the Tchihende, the Tsokanende and the Nednhi—to carry out numerous raids as well as resistance to US and Mexican military campaigns in the northern Mexico states of Chihuahua and Sonora, and in the southwestern American territories of New Mexico and Arizona. (more…)

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  • Happy Birthday Abraham Lincoln: Feb. 12, 1809

    Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War—its bloodiest war and perhaps its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. (more…)

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  • Happy Birthday Thomas Edison: Feb. 11, 1847

    Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman, who has been described as America’s greatest inventor. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. (more…)

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  • Happy Birthday Dostoyevsky

    Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (November 11, 1821 – February 9, 1881), was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist and philosopher. His literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmosphere of 19th-century Russia, and engage with a variety of philosophical and religious themes. (more…)

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  • Happy Birthday Charles Dickens: February 7, 1812

    Charles John Huffam Dickens (Feb. 7, 1812 – June 9, 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world’s best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the 20th century, critics and scholars had recognized him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories enjoy lasting popularity. (more…)

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  • Happy Birthday President Ronald Reagan

    February 6, 1911 — Ronald Wilson Reagan (died June 5, 2004) was an American politician and actor who served as the 40th President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Before his presidency, he was the 33rd Governor of California, from 1967 to 1975, after a career as a Hollywood actor and union leader. (more…)

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  • John Marshall is Sworn In as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: February 4, 1801

    John Marshall is sworn in today as the fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The man who served in all three branches of the federal government throughout his career shaped American constitutional law and made the Supreme Court a center of power. Most notably, he established that the Court is entitled to exercise judicial review — the power to strike down laws that violate the Constitution. His judicial career is unsurpassed in the history of the United States.  (more…)

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  • Happy Birthday to Rosa Parks: February 4, 1913

    Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an American civil rights activist, whom the United States Congress called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement.”

    Here’s why: On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake’s order to give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation.

    Celebrate Freedom!  Her birthday, February 4, and the day she was arrested, December 1, have both become Rosa Parks Day, commemorated in California and Missouri (February 4), and Ohio and Oregon (December 1).

    (more…)

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  • Happy Birthday Gertrude Stein: “There is no there there”

    Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946) was an American novelist, poet, playwright, and art collector. Born in the Allegheny West neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and raised in Oakland, California, Stein moved to Paris in 1903, and made France her home for the remainder of her life. She hosted a Paris salon, where the leading figures of modernism in literature and art, such as Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Ezra Pound, and Henri Matisse would meet. (more…)

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