1918 2013

Jean-Léon Destiné (March 26, 1918 – January 22, 2013)

Haitian-born American dancer and choreographer. He was born in Saint-Marc and moved to the United States with the dance company of Lina Mathon-Blanchet in the early 1940s. He later studied at Howard University. His work, becoming well known in the 1940s, often addressed Haiti’s history of resisting colonialism and slavery. He also danced with Katherine Dunham’s company and founded a national dance company in Haiti in the late 1940s. Destiné is known as the father of Haitian professional dance. (Wikipedia)

Portrait of dancer and choreographer Jean-Leon Destine. Printed on front: “Louis Melancon.”

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library

James “Jim” Perry Muri (19 October 1918 – 3 February 2013)

In the early morning of 4 June 1942, during the Battle of Midway, a Japanese aircraft carrier force was spotted approaching the island. Muri’s unit received no specific training nor any pre-flight briefing. He only knew the location of his target for the 2,000-pound torpedo that his B-26 was carrying—the area of the aircraft carrier Akagi. On the way to its target, Muri’s formation was intercepted by 30 Japanese Zero fighters. He was forced to make his attack at 200 feet above sea level, but his only chance to get out of the fighters’ line of fire, and the carrier’s outward pointing guns, was to fly along the Akagi flight deck. Following the encounter, he and one other B-26 pilot were able to land their planes safely on Midway Island. Muri’s torpedo had missed its mark and his unit, as part of the first attacking wave, did little damage. However, the ensuing three-day assault was successful as the Akagi had caught fire after being attacked by a group of Douglas SBD Dauntless aircraft during the battle. The carrier was later ordered to be scuttled by fleet commander Isoroku Yamamoto.

After the safe landing, an inspection revealed more than 500 bullet holes in Muri’s airplane, the left tire had been shot off, and all propeller blades and every major system had been damaged. Muri was allowed to cut the plane’s name from the fuselage to keep as a souvenir.

(Caption: Wikipedia)

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August 5th 1962: Nelson Mandela arrested

On this day in 1962, the famous South African activist Nelson Mandela was arrested. Mandela was previously arrested in 1956 on treason charges, but was acquitted and forced underground for several years. In 1961, Mandela helped to found Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), which served as the militant armed wing of the African National Congress political party, born out of frustration among anti-apartheid activists that their non-violence was met with brutality by white authorities against black citizens. He was arrested in August 1962 for inciting a workers’ strike and leaving the country illegally, and in November was sentenced to five years in prison, despite protests from anti-apartheid activists. A year later, authorities found more evidence of Mandela’s involvement in the violence of Umkhonto we Sizwe, and his sentence was increased to life imprisonment, avoiding a death sentence. While imprisoned on Robben Island, Nelson Mandela was largely condemned as a terrorist by Western nations, and he spent his time in jail performing hard labour. By the 1980s, a movement campaigning for his release was gaining traction, and Mandela’s reputation grew as a significant black leader both in South Africa and internationally. After twenty-seven years in prison, Mandela was finally freed in 1990, after the ban on the ANC was lifted by the government of President F.W. de Klerk, who was beginning to dismantle apartheid. Upon his release, Mandela led the ANC in the successful negotiations with President de Klerk to end apartheid, and was overwhelmingly elected President of South Africa in the first multi-racial elections in 1994, serving until 1999.

“When my sentence has been completed I will still be moved, as men are always moved, by their consciences; I will still be moved by my dislike of the race discrimination against my people when I come out from serving my sentence, to take up again, as best I can, the struggle for the removal of those injustices until they are finally abolished once and for all”
- Mandela during his 1962 trial

Harold A. Marshall (February 10, 1918 – January 18, 2013) a Canadian Scout and Sniping Platoon Sergeant who served with the Calgary Highlanders’ Scout and Sniper Platoon.

Photo taken by Army photographer Ken Bell of the Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit near Fort de Brasschaet, Kapellen in Belgium on October 6 1944.

Marshall’s equipment includes a No. 4 Mk 1 (T) rifle, specially selected, tested and fitted with a sniper scope for sharp shooting. The sniper rifle was also fitted with a wooden cheek piece on the butt (visible on the photo). He also carries a kukri (presumably for assisting him in camouflaging his position) and a Mills grenade. The binoculars would be used by his number two man for spotting targets.
His jacket is a Denison smock, one of but a handful of camouflage garments issued to Canadian soldiers during the Second World War. The Denison was originally issued to paratroopers, but snipers and scouts also took them in to wear, and “official” modifications to the jacket for wear by snipers had been carried out by war’s end.

(Colorised by Benoit Vienne from France)

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“No one is born hating another person because the color of his skin, or his background or his religion. People must heart to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” –Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

Nelson Mandela 2 years anniversary RIP
Nelson Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013)
Mandela past away but he left an ever-lasting legacy and a recipe for dignity and freedom that shall always be remembered and taught… i’m truly, and will always be, inspired by this great icon. You shall remain in our hearts and minds

Apr 16, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) carries a Nelson Mandela replica plaque during the Jackie Robinson ceremonies as the New York Yankees take on the Chicago Cubs in 2nd game of the day/night double header at Yankee Stadium. (William Perlman-The Star-Ledger)

The plaque reads:

“Nelson Mandela 1918-2013. Nobel Peace Prize winner and global leader whose timeless efforts dismantled apartheid in South Africa. As President of his country, he would use South Africa’s enthusiasm for sports as a unifying force for reconciliation. On June 21, 1990, he made a memorable visit to the original Yankee Stadium and proclaimed, "You know who I am. I am a Yankee.”