Happy Birthday, Henry Louis Gates, Jr!


Henry Louis Gates

Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. (born September 16, 1950, in Keyser, West Virginia) is an American literary critic, teacher, historian, filmmaker and public intellectual who currently serves as the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He has discovered what are considered the first books by African-American writers, both of them women, and has published extensively on appreciating African-American literature as part of the Western canon.

In addition to producing and hosting previous series on the history and genealogy of prominent American figures, since 2012 Gates has been the host for three seasons of the series Finding Your Roots on PBS. It combines the work of expert researchers in genealogy, history, and genetics historic research to tell guests about their ancestors’ lives and histories.


QUOTES

“The first step toward tolerance is respect, and the first step toward respect is knowledge.”

“Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.”

“Learning to sing one’s own songs, to trust the particular cadences of own’s voices, is also the goal of any writer.”

 

From Wikipedia and Google.

Happy Birthday, George Bernard Shaw!

George B Shaw

George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950), known at his insistence simply as Bernard Shaw, was an Irish playwright, critic, polemicist, and political activist. His influence on Western theater, culture and politics extended from the 1880s to his death and beyond. He wrote more than sixty plays, including major works such as Man and Superman (1902), Pygmalion (1912) and Saint Joan (1923). With a range incorporating both contemporary satire and historical allegory, Shaw became the leading dramatist of his generation, and in 1925 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

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From Google and Wikipedia

Happy Birthday, Alexandre Dumas!

Alexandre Dumas

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Alexandre Dumas  24 July 1802 – 5 December 1870), also known as Alexandre Dumas père (French for ‘father’), was a French writer. His works have been translated into many languages, and he is one of the most widely read French authors. Many of his historical novels of high adventure were originally published as serials, including The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, and The Vicomte de Bragelonne: Ten Years Later. His novels have been adapted since the early twentieth century for nearly 200 films

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From Google and Wikipedia.

Happy Birthday, Raymond Chandler!

Raymond Chandler

Raymond Thornton Chandler  July 23, 1888 – March 26, 1959) was an American-British novelist and screenwriter. In 1932, at the age of forty-four, Chandler became a detective fiction writer after losing his job as an oil company executive during the Great Depression. His first short story, Blackmailers Don’t Shoot, was published in 1933 in Black Mask, a popular pulp magazine. His first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939. In addition to his short stories, Chandler published seven novels during his lifetime (an eighth, in progress at the time of his death, was completed by Robert B. Parker). All but Playback have been made into motion pictures, some more than once. In the year before his death, he was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America. He died on March 26, 1959, in La Jolla, California.

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From Google and Wikipedia

Remembering Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Ann Johnson April 4, 1928)  was an American author, poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. Angelou passed away May 28, 2014. Image from Amazon.

See the Google Doodle created to celebrate the 90th anniversary of her birth.

QUOTES

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
 
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

 

Happy Birthday, Toni Morrison!


Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison (born Chloe Ardelia Wofford; February 18, 1931) is an American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher, and professor emeritus at Princeton University.

Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1988 for Beloved. The novel was adapted into a film of the same name (starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover) in 1998. Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. In 1996, the National Endowment for the Humanities selected her for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government’s highest honor for achievement in the humanities. She was honored with the 1996 National Book Foundation’s Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Morrison wrote the libretto for a new opera, Margaret Garner, first performed in 2005. On May 29, 2012, President Barack Obama presented Morrison with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2016, she received the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction.


“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”


 

From Google and Wikipedia

Happy Birthday, Alice Walker!


Alice Walker


Alice Malsenior Walker, born in Eatonton, Georgia on February 9, 1944, the eighth and youngest child of Minnie Tallulah Grant and Willie Lee Walker, is an African American novelist, short-story writer, poet, essayist, and activist. Her most famous novel, The Color Purple, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1983. Walker’s creative vision is rooted in the economic hardship, racial terror, and folk wisdom of African American life and culture, particularly in the rural South.

Her writing explores multidimensional kinships among women and embraces the redemptive power of social and political revolution.

Walker began publishing her fiction and poetry during the latter years of the Black Arts movement in the 1960s. Her work, along with that of such writers as Toni Morrison and Gloria Naylor, however, is commonly associated with the post-1970s surge in African American women’s literature.

Official Website – Alice Walker’s Garden

Quotes

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”

 

 

From Encyclopedia Britannica. Google and Wikipedia.

Happy Birthday, William F. Buckley, Jr.!


WF Buckley


William Frank Buckley Jr. (born William Francis Buckley; November 24, 1925 – February 27, 2008) was an American conservative author and commentator. He founded National Review magazine in 1955, which had a major impact in stimulating the conservative movement; hosted 1,429 episodes of the television show Firing Line (1966–1999), where he became known for his transatlantic accent and wide vocabulary; and wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper column along with numerous spy novels.


QUOTES

The best defense against usurpatory government is an assertive citizenry.
A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling ’Stop!’

Happy Birthday, George Eliot!


George Eliot


Mary Anne Evans (November 22, 1819 – December 22, 1880; alternatively “Mary Ann” or “Marian”), known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, poet, journalist, translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of which are set in provincial England and known for their realism and psychological insight.

She used a male pen name, she said, to ensure that her works would be taken seriously. Female authors were published under their own names during Eliot’s lifetime, but she wanted to escape the stereotype of women’s writing being limited to lighthearted romances. She also wanted to have her fiction judged separately from her already extensive and widely known work as an editor and critic. Another factor in her use of a pen name may have been a desire to shield her private life from public scrutiny, thus avoiding the scandal that would have arisen because of her adulterous relationship with the married George Henry Lewes.

Eliot’s Middlemarch has been described by Martin Amis and Julian Barnes as the greatest novel in the English language.


QUOTES

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”

“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”

From Wikipedia