Happy 200th birthday to Henry David Thoreau, a writer and thinker who fundamentally challenged and forever altered people’s relationship with the natural world. His 1854 work Walden was composed after he spent two years, two months, and two days living in a relatively isolated cabin on Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts. He built the cabin himself, in woodlands owned by his friend and fellow transcendentalist, Ralph Waldo Emerson. In the book, Thoreau explores the idea of the four seasons as a metaphor for human development. Walden also emphasizes the importance of connecting with nature as a way of transcending the trappings of a busy modern life, an idea that still resonates today.
“It’s simple, Susan. Just pick one. Which would you rather be?”
It was my first day of first grade at a
new school, and we were playing a getting-to-know-you game that doubled as a
class-demographics survey. We had divided ourselves into groups based on
favorite ice cream flavor, age, favorite animal, and zip code, laughing over
Then came a question on race. I thought
seriously for a moment as the other kids sorted themselves into groups. But I
quickly found my answer and carefully chose my spot—halfway between the group
of students who identified as white and the group who identified as Asian. I
was proud of my creativity, and excited to share my answer.
So I was shocked when my teacher
disciplined me in front of the class, first asking why I hadn’t chosen a group,
and then, when I explained that I had chosen a group—half one, and half
the other—chastising me for choosing two groups when her survey allowed her to
tick only one box.
Which is when she demanded that I choose
between the two.
1794: Toussaint L’Ouverture launches Haitian revolution against slavery and for independence from France.
1854: Charlotte Wilson is born in Kemerton, Worcestershire.
She was an English anarchist who co-founded Freedom newspaper in 1886
with Peter Kropotkin, and edited, published, and largely financed it
during its first decade. She remained editor of Freedom until 1895.
1862: Henry David Thoreau dies, in Concord, Massachusetts. He was 44.
1877: Chief Crazy Horse surrenders to US troops.
1913: Greek anarchist Alexandros Schinas dies while escaping
prison in Thessaloniki. He was imprisoned for the assassination of King
George I of Greece
1916: Alexander Berkman & Emma Goldman founded the No Conscription League.
1937: During the Spanish Civil War, reprisals against the
anti-Stalinist left are starting throughout the Republic by Stalinist
parties PCE and PSUC.
1938: Michael Löwy, Marxist sociologist, philosopher and Trotskyist activist, is born in São Paulo, Brazil.
1942: Ariel Dorfman, author and human rights activist, is born in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1968: The Union Nationale des Étudiants de France
(UNEF)—still the largest student union in France today—and the union of
university teachers called a march to protest against the police
invasion of Sorbonne University. More than 20,000 students, teachers and
supporters marched towards the Sorbonne, still sealed off by the
police, who charged, wielding their batons, as soon as the marchers
approached. While the crowd dispersed, some began to create barricades
out of whatever was at hand, while others threw paving stones, forcing
the police to retreat for a time. The police then responded with tear
gas and charged the crowd again. Hundreds more students were arrested.
1968: 5000 students walkout of Garfield High as part of the East LA Walkouts at several schools.
1970: Student Strike of 1970: Many colleges across the US shut down in protest of the war and the Kent State events.
1973: FBI attacks Native Americans in American Indian Movement at Wounded Knee.
1979: 125,000 march on Washington, DC, opposing nuclear power.
2012: A demonstration took place in Victoriaville, Quebec
which eventually turned into a riot. Two protesters were very seriously
PBS and MASTERPIECE have announced they will team with Colin Callender’s Playground and the BBC for a television adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s coming-of-age classic, Little Women. The three-part drama will be scripted by Heidi Thomas, well-known to PBS audiences for her acclaimed adaptations of Call the Midwife and Cranford. Vanessa Caswill (Thirteen, My Mad Fat Diary) will direct all three hours. Playground’s Golden Globe-winning adaptation of Wolf Hall aired on MASTERPIECE in 2015.
“There are only a handful of American books that have resonated with readers for as long as Little Women,” said Rebecca Eaton, MASTERPIECE executive producer. “To put this deeply moving story in the hands of a writer with the heart and depth of Heidi Thomas seems just right. And Colin Callender will oversee this production with the magic he brings to everything he touches, whether its Wolf Hall or the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, currently selling out in London.” MASTERPIECE is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston.
Loved by generations of women worldwide, Little Women is a truly universal coming of age story, as relevant and engaging today as it was on its original publication in 1868. Set against the backdrop of the Civil War, the story follows sisters Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March on their journey from childhood to adulthood. With the help of their mother, Marmee, and while their father is away at war, the girls navigate what it means to be a young woman: from sibling rivalry and first love, to loss and marriage.
Set in Concord, Massachusetts, Alcott’s semi-autobiographical story became an instant bestseller when it was published and remains one of the most widely read novels of all time. A recent Harris poll listing it as one of America’s ten favorite books confirms its enduring place in the cultural landscape.
Writer and executive producer Thomas says: “Little Women is one of the most loved novels in the English language, and with good reason. Its humanity, humour and tenderness never date, and as a study of love, grief and growing up it has no equal. There could be no better time to revisit the story of a family striving for happiness in an uncertain world, and I am thrilled to be bringing the March girls to a new generation of viewers.”
“The mini-series is a storytelling form unique to television, and the opportunity to adapt Louisa May Alcott’s novel over three hours is a gift from the BBC and MASTERPIECE on PBS,” said executive producer Callender. “This is a character study of young women rich in texture and detail, and it’s an honour to be able to bring it to life in this extended form with the great Heidi Thomas, one of the finest writers working in television today. In the hands of the exciting directorial style of filmmaker Vanessa Caswill we hope to deliver a new screen version that will speak to contemporary audiences, meet the expectations of the book’s ardent fans and bring a whole new generation to this great classic.”
“Bringing alive this beloved American novel for a new generation of PBS viewers is a dream come true,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS. “In the hands of Rebecca Eaton and Colin Callender’s Playground, and with the superb talents of writer Heidi Thomas, we are confident this story of strong women will resonate with both new and longtime fans of MASTERPIECE.”
With a production team from the UK and US, principal photography is set to begin in July and casting will be announced shortly.
Little Women is a Playground production for the BBC and MASTERPIECE on PBS. The producer is Susie Liggat. Executive producers are Colin Callender and Sophie Gardiner for Playground, Heidi Thomas, Rebecca Eaton for MASTERPIECE and Lucy Richer for the BBC.
These are known as the Pitcairn/Putnam pistols. According to family tradition, during the fighting on April 19, 1775, Major Pitcairn lost control of his horse which bolted with his saddle bags and a fine pair of pistols. The horse was recovered and the pistols were given to Major Israel Putnam. In 1879 they were donated to the town of Lexington.
It’s highly unlikely that these pistols actually belonged to Pitcairn though. For one thing the heraldic crest on the pistols belong to the Crosbie family, and Captain William Crosbie was listed among the wounded that day.
Lots of stories got attached to Pitcairn because he was in command of the men on Lexington that day, so he was someone that New Englanders loved to hate.
They’re still a beautiful pair of pistols with important historical importance because of their connection to the fighting on April 19, 1775, to Israel Putnam, and to the Revolutionary War.