53 years ago today (April 12), Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut, became the first human to travel into space and change history, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth.

So on April 12, Gagarin, who turned into an international celebrity and hero, is being commemorated for paving the way for future space exploration by the International Day of Human Space Flight (Cosmonautics Day).

I really recommend looking him up. There’s so much to know about him and the history-making flight.

My favourite thing is probably the landing to an unplanned site: A farmer and her daughter observed the strange scene of a figure in a bright orange suit with a large white helmet landing near them by parachute. Gagarin later recalled, “When they saw me in my space suit and the parachute dragging alongside as I walked, they started to back away in fear. I told them, don’t be afraid, I am a Soviet citizen like you, who has descended from space and I must find a telephone to call Moscow!”

Happy International Day of Human Space Flight!


53 years ago today, Judy Garland made history at Carnegie Hall.

The April 23, 1961 concert has been called “the greatest night in show business history”.

The double album recorded that night remains one of the most successful albums in history, spending 73 weeks on the Billboard Chart (13 weeks at #1) and it’s never been out of print.

“Judy at Carnegie Hall” won 4 Grammy Awards, and was the first live album, and the first album by a female performer to win the Grammy for Album of the Year.

Happy Public Defense Day!

Did you know the first woman lawyer in California also pioneered the idea of the Public Defender as a necessary protector of rights of those accused of crimes but unable to afford legal representation?

Seventy years after Clara Foltz spoke to the Chicago World’s Fair about this revolutionary concept, the Supreme Court held in Gideon v. Wainwright that adequate legal representation was a “fundamental and necessary” right for all defendants, including those too poor to pay. Today, 53 years after Gideon, there remains grave systemic failure in providing competent counsel to those who need it most: the poor and disproportionately people of color.

Read RBG’s review of Woman Lawyer: The Trials of Clara Foltz and help celebrate Foltz’s legacy by promoting the first official #PublicDefenseDay and the work of the National Association for Public Defense!

David Gahan - May 9th 1962

A man who has battled addiction and cancer, and came back from being clinically dead. Here he is, 53 years of age today, still making wonderful music with Depeche Mode and getting up on stage to sing his heart out for us with his beautiful baritone voice. My love and respect are endless, and I was truly humbled when one day I got to shake your hand. Happy birthday, Dave.

Photo by Anton Corbijn

53 years ago today, members of the KKK stuck dynamite under the steps of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Alabama. I remember learning about this in 5th grade and about the four girls who were killed while getting ready to sing in a church service. I visited the church last month and it was one of the more powerful moments in my life–to see something you only knew about in history books, is incredibly surreal. Visiting the museum across the street and seeing their personal belongings made it all the more compelling and emotional. There is an old saying that you die twice–once when you stop breathing; the second when you no longer exist in anyone’s memory. Denise, Carole, Addie Mae, and Cynthia–you’re still alive. So if you didn’t know their names, you do now.

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East Asia 53 years ago today: Formation of Malaysia (16 Sep 1963) http://omniatlas.com/maps/eastasia/19630916/ In 1961, Indonesia attacked Dutch New Guinea. The dispute was resolved by the United Nations, which transferred the territory to the Indonesians in 1963. Meanwhile, Singapore and British Borneo had agreed to merge with the recently independent Federation of Malaya to form the new state of Malaysia. Indonesian opposition to this move led to a 3 year confrontation, which Malaysia won with Commonwealth support. #eastasia #history #welovemaps #1960s #1963 #australia #china #chinesehistory #coldwar #greatbritain #india #indonesia #japanesehistory #laos #malaysia #maps #newzealand #northvietnam #pathetlao #sarawak #september #september16 #singapore #southvietnam #unitednations #vietminh #vietnam (at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

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53 years ago today, 4 young girls who were getting ready for a sermon entitled “A Love That Forgives” were murdered by Ku Klux Klan terrorists at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. We say their names to never forget: Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Carol Denise McNair. Black lives mattered back then, and they still do today.