For the week of Jan. 24, 2021
Arthur Alfonso Schomburg (1874-1938) : Puerto Rican. Scholar and collector. Son of a Black laundress and a German-born merchant, Schomburg left Puerto Rico at age 17 to continue his education in New York City. His growing involvement in efforts to improve conditions for Black and Latino people led him to become fascinated with African American Culture, and he began collecting books, pamphlets, manuscripts, and prints documenting the history of Black people in America. His personal collection, which he amassed as a hobby, became the finest of its kind in the nation and was purchased in 1926 by the New York Public Library. The Arthur A. Schomburg Collection of Negro Literature and Art opened to the public in 1934 with Schomburg as its curator, a position he held until his death.
New Year: China. This is beginning of a three-day celebration of the Chinese New Year. The festivities mark the beginning of year 4699 (The Year of the Snake) since the mythical founding of the Chinese people. It is a day when all business accounts are settled and grudges forgotten. Traditional Chinese celebrate New Year's Day as a birthday and count themselves one year older. Celebrations include fireworks, a dragon dance and the beating of drums and cymbals, visits to temples, and prayers for blessings *In the new year. This is called Spring Festival in the People's Republic of China because the official New Years Day is January1, based on the Gregorian calendar. *
New Year (Sol) : Korea. This begins the traditional Korean New Year 4334 of the era of Tan'gun, the mythical progenitor of the Korean people. It is celebrated from January 24 to January 26.
New Year (Losar): Tibet. This begins the Tibetan lunar year 2128. This is a day of celebration that links all people in the Tibetan diaspora, resulting from the decision of many Tibetans, led by the Dalai Lama in 1959, to flee the Communist Chinese.
New Year (Tet Nguyen Dan) : Vietnam. This is the most important holiday in Vietnam. People dress in their best clothes to welcome the new year. There are ceremonies to bid farewell to the gods that attend each household, the kitchen gods, who go to heaven to report on the household's behavior during the past year. fireworks mark the departure of the kitchen gods.
Robert Burns (1759-1796): Scottish. Poet. Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland, is known throughout the world for poems, including Comin Thru' the Rye and A Red, *Red, Rose. The celebration of Burns' birthday focuses around a Burns Night Supper that features the procession into the dining area of the haggis, accompanied by playing of the bagpipes. The haggis is a sheep stomach filled with a mixture of chopped lamb and oatmeal cooked just below boiling point. It is eaten with bashed neeps, which are turnips. The preferred drink is well-aged scotch. This feast often features the reading of Burns' poem To a Haggis. His birthday is celebrated throughout the world where there are Scottish communities, including Japan, other parts of Asia, and Russia. *
Australia Day: Australia. In order to relieve the pressures of crowding in British prisons, the British government established a penal colony in Australia. The first prisoners arrived on this date in 1788. This has been celebrated as Foundation Day, and now as Australia Day, since 1817. The trend in Australia is to celebrate this day on the actual day of its occurrence rather than on the nearest Monday to that day. The exact day of celebration, however, is determined by each state or division within Australia rather than by the federal government and therefore, may vary from one part of Australia to another.
Juan Pablo Duarte's Birthday: Dominican Republic. This holiday marks the birthday of one of the founders of the republic.
Samuel Gompers (1850-1924) : Jewish American. Labor leader. Gompers founded the first major labor union in the United States, the American Federation of Labor, and served as its president from 1886 to 1924.
Jose Julian Mart'i (1853-1895): Cuban. Poet, essayist and patriot. A distinguished writer as well as a political leader, Mart'i was the chief organizer of the Cuban movement for independence from Spain. Although he lived much of his adult life in exile, in April 1895 he helped to lead a revolutionary invasion of Cuba. He was killed in battle on May 19.
Osceola (1800-1838): American Indian (Seminole). Military leader. Osceola organized the Seminoles to resist the U.S. government's takeover of their ancestral lands and led the guerrilla resistance to federal forces from 1835 until his imprisonment in 1837. He died in captivity on this date.
Granville T. Woods (1856-1910): African American. Inventor. An electrical engineer who formed his own company to make and sell electrical instruments, Woods patented more than 50 inventions, including the Induction Telegraph System a device for telegraphing messages from moving trains. By making it possible for engineers to communicate with trains ahead of or behind them, Woods' invention made train travel much safer. He also developed a system that freed electric railroads from the use of wires by introducing iron blocks that transmitted power through the rails. This was the prototype of the third rail system used in modern subways.
William Apess (1798-1840?): American Indian (Pequot). Writer and civil rights activist. A traveling Methodist preacher, Apess published in 1829 his autobiography, A Son of the Forest - the first book written and published by a Native American. In this and subsequent writings, and in his public life as a spokesman for the Pequots, Apess challenged the racial assumptions of European Americans and asserted the rights of all people of color to be considered the equals of whites.
Ella Cara Deloria (1889-1971): American Indian (Dakota Sioux). Researcher and writer. Deloria worked as a teacher and health educator and did extensive work as a research specialist in American Indian languages and cultures. Her novel, Waterlily - is a fictional portrait of traditional Sioux life.
Jack Roosevelt (Jackie) Robinson (1919-1972) : African American. An outstanding hitter and fielder known for his daring base runs, Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball when he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.