When I woke this morning, I did my usual time-wasting scroll online and came across the famous words, “These are the times that try men’s souls,” from Thomas Paine’s first “American Crisis” essay published December 19, 1776.
Thomas Paine and the Dangerous Word by Sarah Jane Marsh is a wonderful way to tell young people about this founding father.
Continuing to waste time this morning, it turns out, quite a lot of interesting things happened December 19th well before 1732 when Benjamin Franklin began publishing “Poor Richard’s Almanac.” But I’m sticking with the things I find most intriguing. For example, on this day in 1843, Charles Dickens first published A Christmas Carol. In our collection, you can find books, movies, and even a graphic novel version for young adults.
In 1848, poet and author of Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte died. Her beloved book about the passionate love of Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff mirrors the powerful moods of the Yorkshire moors.
The December 19th plot thickened when I learned that the Father of Black History Month, Carter Godwin Woodson (b. 1875), graduated from Berea College – the same school I attended for one year. Berea College was established in Kentucky by Rev. John G. Fee, to provide an education for men and women of all races.
Woodson went on to receive a masters and a doctorate and became a historian, author, and journalist. Share this man’s remarkable life with your children in Carter G. Woodson: Black History Pioneer by Pat McKissack.
If you caught the recent version of A Star is Born, you saw Lady Gaga singing the passionate song, “La Vie En Rose,” by Edith Piaf born this day in 1915. Although we do not have a CD featuring Piaf’s striking voice, we do have the DVD of the 2007 movie La Vie En Rose starring Marion Cotillard and Gerard Depardieu – A dramatic retelling of the life of Edith Piaf considered one of the great performers of France. Raised in a brothel, taken to work in a circus by her father, and eventually abandoned by her parents, she spent her teen years on the streets. Eventually “rescued” by a crime figure who gives her career a start, she makes her way to international success, despite recurring frailty, illness, wild moods, drug and alcohol problems.
There are many other notable people and events to recognize on December 19, including the birth of three-time Emmy winner Cicely Tyson who starred in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, Sounder, and appeared in The Help.
Judgment at Nuremberg was released in American theatres on December 19, 1961, starring Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Maximilian Schell, Judy Garland, Montgomery Clift, Ed Binns, and Werner Klemperer. Summary: American judge Daniel Haywood presides over the trial of four German jurists accused of “legalizing” Nazi atrocities. But as graphic accounts of sterilization and murder unfold in the courtroom, mounting political pressure for leniency forces Haywood into making the most harrowing and difficult decision of his career.
Here’s wishing you a Happy December 19th! Susan C.