Remembrance

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

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Jerome Robbins

Jerome Robbins (Oct 11, 1918 - Jul 29, 1998) made the most freighted political choice of his life at the fraught intersection of career, family, religion and sexuality. The conflict between those forces is unenviable, but telling. If one were looking to identify a quintessentially Jewish American genius of the 20th century, Robbins’s mix of brilliance and neuroses, rebellion and fascination with tradition — along with his struggle to define himself and his work as equally American and Jewish, his broad sympathy for the status of the outsider, and his guilt — would make him a worthy choice.

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Toledo Descovers the Magic of the Itsmo de Tehuantepec in Mexico

Francisco Toledo, the celebrated Mexican artist and cultural philanthropist who drew on his indigenous pre-Colombian heritage to create striking works suffused with shamanistic animal imagery, died on Thursday. He was 79. Mr. Toledo was regarded by many as Mexico’s greatest living artist, one who could trace his lineage to the Zapotecs, who flourished before the 16th-century Spanish conquests in what is now the southern state of Oaxaca, his native region. His paintings, drawings, prints, collages, tapestries and ceramics were largely inspired by that heritage.

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Image of World War I hero Marcelino Serna 2

On April 26, 1896, in Chihuahua, Mexico, Marcelino Serna was born into a very poor family. He left home at the age of twenty, and crossed the border into the United States, traveling to El Paso, Texas to find a job and improve his life. Since he didn’t speak English, he had to take low-paying jobs and was soon working in Denver, Colorado on a sugar beet farm. When the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917, Serna was in Denver working with a group of men who were picked up by federal officers checking the draft status of potential soldiers. To prevent his deportation to Mexico, Serna volunteered to join the Army.

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allan touring

Alan Turing (June 23, 1912 - June 7, 1954) was once a hero in England. He helped the government crack German Codes during World War II and developed the Turning Machine, establishing the framework for today's modern computers and was generally regarded as one of the nation's brightest stars. Then, in 1952, Turing was outed, leading to a very public trial, conviction and chemically castrated for "gross indecency." He killed himself two years later.  Now, 60+ years on, the British government is honoring Turing by including him in a series of twelve new "Britons of Distinction" stamps set to be released to coincide with the year of the 100 anniversary of his birth. George Broadhead, secretary of the Humanist group the Pink Triangle Trust, celebrated Turing's inclusion in a press release. "This is richly deserved," he wrote. "It is well known that Turing was gay, but perhaps not so well known that he was a staunch atheist.

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FDR Memorial Wall Four Freedoms

The Four Freedoms were goals articulated by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Monday, January 6, 1941. In an address known as the Four Freedoms speech (technically the 1941 State of the Union address), he proposed four fundamental freedoms that people "everywhere in the world" ought to enjoy:  Freedom of Speach   Freedom of Worship   Freedom from Want   Freedom from Fear.    The first two freedoms, of speech and religion, are protected by the First Amendment in the United States Constitution. His inclusion of the latter two freedoms went beyond the traditional Constitutional values protected by the U.S. Bill of Rights. Roosevelt endorsed a broader human right to economic security and anticipated what would become known decades later as the "human security" paradigm in social science and economic development. He also included the "freedom from fear" against national aggression and took it to the new United Nations he was setting up.