“In the end we must live independent or die”

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In 1915, Dr. Carter G. Woodson travelled from Chicago to DC to participate in celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the emancipation proclamation. He was among the thousands of black people who went to see the exhibit which highlighted the progress made since slavery had been abolished. The event inspired Woodson who formed the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) to “to promote the scientific study of black life and history.”

The following year, he established the Journal of Negro History, and encouraged black civic organizations to promote researchers’ findings. In 1924, his fraternity brothers at the Omega Psi Phi, created Negro History and Literature Week, later renamed Negro Achievement Week. Wanting to reach a wider audience, Woodson decided in 1925 that the ASNLH would take over and announced Negro History Week in February, 1926.

February was chosen for several reasons: 1. It included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas, which black communities had celebrated for several decades. However, Woodson wanted to broaden the scope. He believed that the focus should be on “the countless black men and women who had contributed to the advance of human civilization.” The response was overwhelming. Teachers solicited materials and history clubs were established, and soon mayors issued proclamations for Negro History Week.

Over the next decades, efforts to expand Negro History Week increased and in many communities Negro History Week became Negro History Month. In 1976, Negro History Week became Black History Month, and, because of the ASNLH’s efforts, since the mid-1970s, every president has issued a proclamation endorsing the annual theme.

Haiti

Haiti is often left out of Black History Month. The first inhabitants of what are now Haiti and the Dominican Republic were the Taíno, who may have arrived as early as 4000 BCE. Other indigenous groups from present-day Venezuela joined them and settled across the Caribbean. The Taino name for the island was Ay-ti meaning “land of mountains.” Columbus re-named it La Isla Española (‘The Spanish Island’) when he arrived in 1492, which evolved to Hispaniola.

The Spanish brought sugar cane from the Canary Islands, causing a significant increase in West African slaves in the early sixteenth century. This led to the first major slave revolt in the Americas in 1522. The uprising occurred at the sugar plantation of Diego Colón, Christopher Columbus’s son. Many slaves escaped to the mountains and form the first communities of freed slaves. The communities grew as more imported slaves escaped. This instability led the French to establish control of parts of the island and the nearby island of La Tortue (Tortuga) in the early 1600s. In 1664, France formally claimed the western portion of Haiti, which they called Saint-Domingue. Thy too, established plantations, with coffee in addition to sugar, importing millions of Africans as slave labor. As with the Spanish, thousands escaped into the mountains and established free settlements. By 1790 there were more than 500,000 enslaved Africans, 28,000 free gens de couleur, the free, mostly mixed-race intermediate class, and about 30,000 Europeans (mostly French), who held all political and economic power.

In August 1791, enslaved Africans in the north rebelled and the revolution spread. A Haitian born man Toussaint L’Ouverture soon took control and formed alliances with the gens de couleur and the escaped slaves. By 1794, L’Ouverture’s forces had liberated the colony from French control. In response, Napoleon Bonaparte sent a contingent of French troops in 1801 to subdue the colony and reinforce slavery. L’Ouverture was captured and taken to France where he died in prison the next year.

But this was not the end. Others took up the cause and the French army defeated. On January 1, 1804, Haiti declared its independence. It became the second independent republic in the New World after the United States and was re-named Hayti (Haiti). The 1805 Constitution, which reaffirmed the abolition of slavery, made Haiti the first free black state in the Western hemisphere. Official racial distinctions were eliminated, and all Haitians were considered black.

France refused to recognize Haiti’s independence until the 1830s when Haiti agreed to pay 150 million francs (over $21 billion) to compensate French plantation owners for their losses. This plunged the Haitian government into debt, truing it from one of France’s wealthiest colonies to one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. In 1844, the eastern two-thirds of the island declared its independence and became the Republic of Santo Domingo (today, the Dominican Republic). The United States did not recognize the nation until 1862.

In 1915, during the First World War, the United States, which already controlled the Dominican Republic, invaded Haiti. The occupation ended in 1934 and was then controlled by a mixed-race minority. In 1957, Dr François Duvalier was elected by popular vote. However, his regime was soon being criticized for its harsh treatment of political adversaries. When he died in 1971, his 19-year-old son Jean-Claude Duvalier took control.

On February 7, 1986, Jean-Claude Duvalier, the “president for life” of Haiti, who had succeeded his father in 1971 at 19, fled to France after an uprising against the dictator. Five years later, on February 7, 1991, Jean-Bertrand Aristide became the first democratically-elected president of Haiti. However, Aristide’s time in office was also not without controversy, with rumours of human rights abuse, drug trafficking, and other crimes. He was ousted by a coup in 1991, returned to power in 1994 to finish his term, then re-elected in 2001. But he was ousted in another coup in 2004 before going into exile in South Africa, which he is forbidden to leave, until he was permitted to return to Haiti in 2011. In March 2017, Aristide survived a possible assassination attempt in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital.

After the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, Julia Gaffield, a Canadian graduate student at Duke University, found “the first known, government-issued version of Haiti’s founding document” in the British National Archives. She found the eight page document in a leather-bound binder of Jamaican records from 1804.

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On February 7, 2013, Mississippi became the last state in the United States to certify the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery. The resolution was ratified in 1995 but was never sent to the U.S Archivist. The error was discovered after a Mississippi resident Ranjan Batra saw the film Lincoln, which includes the fight the pass the Thirteenth Amendment. Batra did some research and learned that the amendment was ratified after three-fourths of the states approved it in December 1865. The other states did, though Mississippi did not ratify it until 1995. But the amendment was never made official because the U.S. Archivist was not notified, though the reasons are unclear. The Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann sent a copy of the resolution to the Office of the Federal Register on January 30 and the Federal Register made the ratification official on February 7, 2013.

“Energy rightly applied and directed will accomplish anything.”

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Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman, pen name Nellie Bly (May 5, 1864 – January 27, 1922), was one of, if not the first investigative journalists in the United States.

Cochrane was born in Cochran’s Mills, Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh, which her father Judge Cochrane founded. She was one of fifteen children born to her father and his two wives. When she was fifteen, he died intestate, leaving the family with little money. Her journalistic career began after Erasmus Wilson published an article “The Quiet Observer” in his Pittsburgh Dispatch, denouncing women in the workforce. Cochrane, calling herself the “Lonely Orphan Girl,” angrily responded that there needed to be a wider definition of a “woman’s sphere,” especially for those who had to support their families. Editor George Madden ran a notice asking the “Orphan Girl” to contact him, and he gave her a job. She joined the staff, signing her articles “Nellie Bly.”

She earned $5 per week, writing a “women’s column” for the Pittsburgh Dispatch on home, gardening, society, child-rearing and other similar topics. Eventually, she began to write about more serious issues, including investigating how divorce affected women. In time, her journalistic talents earned her $25,000 per year.

She soon moved to New York to pursue other subjects and freelanced for several months. Then she wrote a piece on the difficulty of female reporters had finding work in New York, in which she interviewed the great editors of the time. This led to her first assignment with the New York World, where Joseph Pulitzer had begun what became known as “new journalism.” He wanted Bly to pretend to be insane to get committed to the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s (now Roosevelt) Island. Bly stayed there for ten days and wrote a two-part series in October 1887 about the horrendous conditions. This was the beginning of a decades of “stunt” reporting, a predecessor to investigative journalism. This genre allowed women to demonstrate that they could also be reporters, and they became the first women to enter mainstream journalism in the twentieth century.

Bly went on to investigate employment agencies for domestic servants, the baby-buying trade and corruption in the New York legislature. But her biggest feat was yet to come. In November 1889, Bly began the journey that would cement her fame. She beat the fictional record of Jules Verne’s Phineas Fogg, in his novel Around the World in 80 Days when she made the trip in 72 days 6 hours 11 minutes. She chronicled her journey in New York World. But when she was not rewarded for her efforts, Bly quit and accepted a three-year contract for N.L Munro’s New York Family Story Paper writing serial fiction. This proved unsuccessful and she returned to the World in 1893, interviewing Emma Goldman and Eugene V. Debs, and covering stories such as the march of Jacob Coxey’s Army on Washington and the Pullman strike in Chicago.

She left the World a for the last time in 1895 and after a short time at the Chicago Times-Herald, she married Robert Livingston Seaman who was more than forty years older. The marriage lasted nine years until Seaman died. During that time, Bly took over his iron enamel-ware firm, the Iron Clad Manufacturing Co. and patented, manufactured, and marketed the steel barrel in the United States. While Bly was hopeless at finances and eventually lost the company, the Iron Clad Manufacturing Co. gave its employees health benefits and provided recreational facilities.

To earn some money, Bly went to Vienna in August 1914 where she stayed until 1919, writing for the New York Evening Journal from the Russian and Serbian fronts. After the war, she returned to New York and wrote for the Evening Journal, running an advice column. Her most celebrated work was placing illegitimate children in good homes and campaigning for seamen who were having trouble finding work.

Bly died of pneumonia in 1922 at 57.

Her experiences are chronicled in her many books, including: Six Months in Mexico (1886), Ten Days in a Madhouse (1887), The Mystery of Central Park (1889), and Nellie Bly’s Book: Around the World in Seventy-two Days (1890).

In 2018, the Newseum opened its “Nellie Bly: The Virtual Reality Experience” which tracks Bly from Egypt to Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, San Francisco and her adventures, including a snowstorm in Singapore that nearly impeded her progress. The exhibit provides background on Bly’s previous reporting and chronicles accomplishments in the women’s rights movement.

This is the Newseum’s second exhibit on Bly. The first was a 4-D introductory film (now playing only in 2-D), which recounts the undercover operation in 1887.

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On January 25, 1881, Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell founded the world’s first telephone company, the Oriental Telephone Company. Though he was credited with inventing the first telephone, the United States Congress recognized in 2002 that it was Antonio Meucci, an Italian immigrant, who invented the telephone. He began developing the talking telegraph, or telephone in 1849. In 1871, he filed a caveat (announcing an invention), but could not review his caveat. On June 11, 2002, the Unite States House of Representatives passed a Resolution honoring Meucci’s work.

Thirty-four years after founding the Oriental Telephone Company, on January 25, 1915, Alexander Graham Bell made the first transcontinental telephone call, from New York City to San Francisco, more than 4,023 kilometers (2,500 miles) away.

When Bell made the call to Watson, his former assistant, he was asked to re-enact the first conversation they had on March 10, 1876, when Bell said, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want you.” However, there is some discrepancy as to whether Bell said, “Watson, come here, I want you,” or “Come here, I need you.” Though that might be a fiction, as Bell had just spilled battery acid on himself before summoning Watson. This time Watson replied, “It would take me a week now.”

“The legal world does not discriminate by sex or race and this is possibly an example of it working rather well.”

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On January 4, 1972, Dame Rose Heilbron (August 19 1914-December 8 2005) became the first female judge to sit at the Old Bailey in London, England.

Heilbron was born into a Jewish family in Liverpool Her father was a hotelier who managed a lodging house for Jewish émigrés. Her mother, Nellie, who died in 1939, encouraged her educational ambitions.

She achieved a number of firsts for women during her legal education and career. She graduated from Liverpool University in 1935 with a first-class honours degree in law and became first woman to win a scholarship to Gray’s Inn the next year, when she received the Lord Justice Holker scholarship. In 1937, she received a master of laws degree and joined the bar in 1939, as a member of the northern circuit.

Through the six years of World War II, and afterward, Heilbron’s career rose. By 1946, Heilbron had appeared in 10 murder trials. In 1949, at 34, Heilbron and Helena Normanton, who was nearly twice her age, became the first women king’s counsel. That year, Heilbron became the first woman to lead in an English murder case. She defended the gangster George Kelly, accused of shooting and killing the deputy manager of the Cameo cinema in Liverpool. Kelly was convicted and hanged, but through the first half of the 1950s, Heilbron successfully defended many of her clients. One case involved four men accused of hanging a boy during a burglary, which she proved that it had been an accident, and another was Louis Bloom the Hartlepool solicitor accused of murdering his mistress in his office.

In 1956, she became the first woman recorder (chief criminal judge) of Burnley, in Britain, and the first woman judge at the Old Bailey in 1972. Two years later, she was created a dame in 1974. From 1974 until she retired in 1988 she served as a Judge of the High Court (Family Division), the second British woman to be appointed to the High Court. In 1985, she became treasurer at Gray’s Inn, saying of her appointment, “The legal world does not discriminate by sex or race and this is possibly an example of it working rather well.”

Her daughter Hilary Heilbron has written a book about her, Legal Pioneer of the 20th Century: Inspiring Advocate who became England’s First Woman Judge published in 2012.

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On January 4, 2007, the 110th United States Congress convened, electing Nancy Pelosi (Born: March 26, 1940) as the first female Speaker of the House. Her family has served in public positions. Her father and brother were both Baltimore mayors, and her father also served in the state Congress.

In 1976, she worked on California Governor Jerry Brown’s presidential campaign. By 1981, she was the Democratic Party chair for California, recruiting candidates and raising funds. The following year, States Representative Sala Burton of California – a Polish émigré who fled the Nazis and settled in America and filled her husband’s Congressional after he died suddenly – encouraged Pelosi to run for her seat after she died. Pelosi filled the vacancy in 1987 and has been re-elected to sixteen succeeding Congresses (June 2, 1987-present).

Pelosi has served on the House Appropriations and Intelligence committees, and was the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Operations committee. In 2001, she was promoted to the House Democratic whip, the second highest position in the party. She rose to minority leader in 2002 when Dick Gephardt stepped, becoming the first woman to ever lead a party in Congress.

In 2006, Pelosi became the first female speaker of the House and was sworn in on January 4, 2007. But she lost her position to Republican John Boehner in 2010 when Democrats lost control of the House. Under Pelosi, the 111th Congress (January 3, 2009, until January 3, 2011) became “one of the most productive Congresses in history” by Congressional scholar Norman Ornstein.

“Seldom, very seldom does complete truth belong to any human disclosure”

Yohl Ikʻnal, also known as Lady Kan Ik and Lady K’anal Ik’nal, whose name means “Lady Heart of the Wind Place,” (Died November 4, 604) acceded to the throne on December 23, 583, as queen of the Maya city-state of Palenque until she died in 604. She was the first female ruler of Lakam Ha (Palenque).

She was most likely the daughter of Kan Bahla I, who had preceded her, or perhaps his sister. During her reign, her rival Kalakmul attacked twice, but she defeated him. She had at least one son, Ajen Ohl Mat, who succeeded her on January 1, 605 and ruled until he died on August 8, 612.

Emma_Jane_Austen_book_cover

Jane Austen’s fourth novel (after Sense and Sensibility in 1811, Pride and Prejudice in 1813, and Mansfield Park in 1814) Emma was published on December 23, 1815. Austen wrote Emma from January 21, 1814 to March 29, 1815. Instead of using the same publisher as she had for Mansfield Park, Austen went to John Murray, The Quarterly Review publisher. Some of his clients include Lord Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage in 1811 and Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in 1859.

Although the novel went on sale on December 23, 1815, as it was so close to the end of the year, the publication date on the title page is listed as 1816. As she had with her previous novels, Austen published Emma anonymously, and the title page reads, “by the Author of ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ etc, etc.” However, there was a difference in this work: a dedication to the Prince of Wales, who admired her work, though Austen disliked him. She had met him and his librarian, James Stanier-Clarke while visiting her brother a few months earlier. During a tour of Carlton House, Stanier-Clarke wrote that Austen “was at liberty to dedicate any future work” to the Regent.

A few weeks before Emma was published, Austen wrote to Murray, expressing concerns about how her novel would be received: “I am very strongly haunted by the idea that to those Readers who have preferred P&P. it will appear inferior in Wit, & to those who have preferred MP. very inferior in good Sense.” Her fears were somewhat justified, as some of her family liked it, some disliked it, and most thought it somewhere between Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park. The public was also ambivalent about Emma and by October 1816, only 1,248 copies had been sold. Only in February 1817 did Austen finally received any profit from Emma, though a quarter of the print run still unsold.

While the plot, form, and technique were not revolutionary, its narrative was. Emma is a “self-deluded young woman with the leisure and power to meddle in the lives of her neighbours” and the narrative “was designed to share her delusions.” Not until the twentieth century did this style of writing have a name: free indirect style (from the French: style indirect libre), which “describes the way in which a writer imbues a third-person narration with the habits of thought or expression of a fictional character.”

Emma though unpopular initially has been turned into films, including Clueless released in 1995. It was announced in October 2018 that there will be remakes of both Emma and Clueless in the near future. The novel was adapted into Jane Austen’s Emma: The Musical, released in 2007.

“Civilization Not Yet Perfect”

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November is Native American Heritage Month and the day after the fourth Thursday – when Thanking Day is observed in the United States – is Native American Heritage Day. The first effort to establish a Native American Day began over a century ago. In 1911, Dr. Arthur Caswell (Gawasco Waneh), a Cattaraugus Seneca, director of the Rochester Museum of New York (now the Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences) was one of the earliest advocates of creating a day to honor Native Americans. He was an anthropologist, historian, and author. His great-uncle was Brigadier General Ely S. Parker, General Ulysses S. Grant’s secretary during the Civil War and the first Native American to serve as Commissioner of Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior.

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Dr. Parker founded several Native American rights organizations, including the Society of American Indians (SAI) in 1911 and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) in 1944, and advocated for Native Americans to receive U.S. citizenship. He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to honor “First Americans,” for a day which they did only from 1912 to 1915.

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In the spring of 1914, Reverend Red Fox James, also known as Red Fox Skiukusha, another Native American rights advocate, rode 4,000-miles on horseback to Washington, D.C., to petition the president for an “Indian Day.” The next year, he travelled on horseback from state to state seeking gubernatorial support for Native Americans to receive U.S. citizenship. 24 governors endorsed his petition, which he presented tot he White House on December 14, 1915.

That year, the Congress of American Indian Association met in Lawrence, Kansas and directed the president Reverend Sherman Coolidge (1862-1932), an Arapaho minister and one of the SAI founders, to call upon the nation to proclaim a day to honor Native Americans. On September 18, 1915, he issued a proclamation declaring the second Saturday of each May as “American Indian Day” and appealing for U.S. citizenship for American Indians.

The first time that “American Indian Day” was observed may have been in 1916 when the governor of New York declared the second Saturday in May as American Indian Day. Several states celebrated American Indian Day on the fourth Friday in September, including the Illinois state legislature in 1919. That year, Red Fox Skiukusha petitioned Washington state to designate the fourth Saturday in September as an “Indian holiday.” However, these efforts were unsuccessful.

It was not until 1924 that Congress enacted the Indian Citizenship Act, allowing Native Americans born in the United States, who were not covered by previous treaties or federal agreements to become citizens. The act was later amended to include Native Alaskans.

It would take several decades before Native American Day became more widespread. In 1968, California Governor Ronald Reagan designated the fourth Friday in September as American Indian Day, but it was not until 1998 that the California State Assembly enacted legislation making Native American Day as an official state holiday. In 1976, the country’s bicentennial year, Congress approved Senate Joint Resolution 209 authorizing President Ford to proclaim October 10-6 as “Native American Awareness Week” and he issued his presidential proclamation on October 8. Since 1976 Congress and the President have observed a day, week, or month, to honor Native American and Native Alaskans. In 2009, the Friday after Thanksgiving Day became “Native American Heritage Day.” In 1977, the holiday became inter nation when the United Nations sponsored the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas.

Proclamations celebrating Native American history and people have changed in name, number of days, dates, and length of the observance. President Ford designated May 13, 1983 as “American Indian Day” in 1983 and November 23-30, 1986 as “American Indian Week” before moving it to November 22-28, 1987 in 1987, and finally to September 23-30 in1988. President George H. W. Bush moved the observance again, issuing a proclamation on December 5, 1989, designating December 3-9, 1989 as “National American Indian Heritage Week” before declaring November as “National American Indian Heritage Month” in 1990. Finally, President Bush declared in 1991 that November would be “American Indian Heritage Month.”

In 1992, President Bush designated 1992, the 500th anniversary of Columbus arriving in the Americas, as the “Year of the American Indian” and declared that November as “National American Indian Heritage Month” which it is was called until 2009, when President Obama designated November as “National Native American Heritage Month.” In 2008, Congress designated the day after Thanksgiving, November 28, as “Native American Heritage Day.”

While there is no national theme, federal departments and agencies are allowed to create their own themes. Some of the themes that the Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior have used include: “Tribal Diversity: Weaving Together Our Traditions” (2006), “Tribes Facing Challenges: In Unity, Transforming Hope into Strengths” (2008), and “Life is Sacred – Celebrate Healthy Native Communities” (2010).

Some cities and state governments have gone further. The South Dakota state legislature passed a bill in 1989 proclaiming 1990 as the “Year of Reconciliation” between the state’s Native American and White citizens. As a result, South Dakota Governor George S. Mickelson designated Columbus Day as the state’s American Indian Day, making it a state-sanctioned holiday. Los Angeles, California voted in August 2017 to ‘dismantle a state-sponsored celebration of genocide of indigenous peoples.’

On Election Day 2018 (November 6), Democrats Sharice Davids of Kansas, a member of Wisconsin’s Ho-Chunk Nation tribe and Deb Haaland of New Mexico, a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, became the first Native American women elected to Congress. Davids, a lesbian, made history for being the first openly LGBT person to represent Kansas in Congress. Native Americans of New Mexico were the last to be enfranchised in 1962, nearly forty years after the Indian Citizenship Act. Davids and Haaland join Oklahoma Reps. Tom Cole and Markwayne Mullin in Congress.

“I Came Here, Where Freedom is Being Defended, to Serve it, and to Live or Die for It.”

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October is Polish American Heritage Month. Originally it was in August, after Michael Blichasz, president of the Polish American Cultural Center in Philadelphia created the observance in 1981. President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation declaring August as Polish-American Heritage Month on August 17, 1984. However, because October was the month when the first Polish settlers arrived in Jamestown in 1608, the month was changed to October in 1986.

October 11 is General Pulaski Memorial Day in the United States to honor General Kazimierz Pułaski (Casimir Pulaski in English), a Polish soldier who fought in the American Revolution. He died on October 11, 1779 from wounds he received the Siege of Savannah on October 9. The observance was established in 1929 with Public Resolution 16 of 1929.

Kazimierz Pulaski (March 6, 1747-October 11, 1779) was a Polish nobleman, known as “the father of the American cavalry”. He was born in Warsaw. His family’s mansion was destroyed during World War II, but part of his family estate in what is now Warka, still stands. Like his father, became interested in politics. He joined the military and became part of the revolution against Russian dominance over Poland. The uprising failed and Pulaski was exiled. Three years later, he met Benjamin Franklin in France and on his advice, went to North America to join their revolution against the British.

He had a distinguished career, becoming a general in the Continental Army, creating the Pulaski Cavalry Legion and reformed the American cavalry. For his service at the Battle of Brandywine in 1777, in which he saved George Washington’s life, Pulaski was appointed Brigadier General of the American Light Dragoons. He was seriously wounded while leading against the British at the Battle of Savannah and died two days later aboard the USS Wasp. For his efforts, on November 6, 2009, As of 2014, Pulaski became the seventh of eight people to be awarded honorary United States citizenship. The other recipients are: Winston Churchill (1963), Raoul Wallenberg (1981), William and Hannah Callowhill Penn (1984), Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (Mother Teresa) (1996), Marquis de Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roche Gilbert du Motier (2002) and Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, Viscount of Galveston and Count of Gálvez (2014)

A Military and Religious Funeral for General Pulaski was held on October 9th, 2015. His white casket which was a gift from the Liebchen and Godlewski families made a tour of Savannah before being taken to St. John’s Episcopal Church, where it would be placed at the Pulaski Monument on Monterey Square.

This is separate holiday from titled Casimir Pulaski Day celebrated in Chicago commemorating Pulaski’s birth on March 4, 1746.

Sufjan Stevens recorded a song “Casimir Pulaski Day” about his experiences of the holiday, interwoven with his memories of a friend’s battle with cancer. Pulanski was also commemorated on the 2 cent stamp in 1931.

Language as a Fusion of the Common and the Unique

September 30 is International Translation Day, on the feast of St. Jerome, the patron saint of translation. He became secretary to Pope Damasus, who commissioned him to translate the Bible from Hebrew into Latin, which took him 15 years.

When the International Federation of Translators (FIT) was established in 1953, it launched the International Translation Day. The FIT decides the theme and publishes a poster, which is chosen from among a group of professional designers. Past themes have included “Translation: Bridging Cultures,”, “The Changing Face of Translation and Interpreting”, and “Translation and Diversity” in 2017. On May 24, 2017, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution declaring September 30 as International Translation Day, to recognise that professional translation, “as a trade and an art, plays an important role in..bringing nations together, facilitating dialogue, understanding and cooperation, contributing to, developing and strengthening world peace and security.”

The 2018 theme is “Translation: promoting cultural heritage in changing times” recognising, as The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) notes, that “cultural heritage does not end with ‘monuments and collections of objects’. It includes intangible cultural heritage such as knowledge, beliefs, and practises concerning people, nature, and our relationship with the universe…An understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue, and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life.” The 2018 theme was selected to prepare for the FIT and United Nations collaboration in 2019, which was declared the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

The American Translations Association conference will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana from October 24-27 and will celebrate International Translation Day on September 28. The ATA wants to “change the way the world views translators and interpreters just by being bold and sharing more about our jobs. Debunking the unfortunate myths and misunderstandings about translation and interpreting will help pave the way to a better future for our profession.”

Conferences relating to International Translation Day also cover related topics. The University of Texas at San Antonio’s Department of Modern Languages and Literatures will host a colloquium to “highlight the importance of effective translation and interpreting in our global community” focusing on “how language disparities affect already vulnerable individuals (victims of human trafficking and sexual assault, victims of gang violence, and unaccompanied minors) as they navigate healthcare and justice systems.” Speakers include Ludmila Golovine, CEO of MasterWordServices, on “Interpreting for the Vulnerable: Language Access and Cultural Mediation for Survivors of Human Trafficking”, and “Ineffective and Inaccessible: A Closer Look at Language Access for Unaccompanied Children in the U.S. Immigration System,” by attorneys Carlos Iván Hernández and Katherine McCoy, who work with unaccompanied minors on the border. There will also be a workshop on “Human Trafficking and Sexual Assault in a Healthcare Setting: Best Practices for Identification and Intervention” by Manuel Higginbotham, president of the Texas Association of Healthcare Interpreters and Translators” and “Interpreting for Victims of Gang Violence in Central America” by Janis Palma, federally-certified judiciary interpreter.

The National Seminar on Translation and Nation was held at the National Translation Mission (NTM), Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysuru, on Sept. 26 and 27. The seminar “deliberate[d] issues about the role of translation in relation to nationhood, nation-building, transnational identities, globalised national etc.” Topics included “Machine translation and machine aided translation,” “Training and pedagogy,” and “Translation and social balance.”