29 July-Humanae Vitae

Humanae Vitae is an encyclical which was issued by Pope Paul VI in 1968. In the encyclical the Pope reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s ban on the use of contraceptives. He reaffirmed the ban despite a recommendation for change by a Church Commission established by Pope John XXIII.

The encyclical was controversial and divisive. It was welcomed by some but for the first time in history a large proportion of the laity openly dissented from the teachings of the church. It is argued that the encyclical marked the beginning of the decline of the influence of the Catholic Church.

Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s ban on the use of contraceptives was issued by the Vatican in the year 1968 On This Day.

Pope Paul VI

01 June-Helen Keller

Helen Keller was a native of America. In 1904 she became the first deaf blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. During her lifetime she became an author, political activist and lecturer. Her teacher Anne Sullivan became Keller’s friend and lifelong companion.

Helen Adams Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama on June 27th 1880. At the age of 19 months she contracted an illness which left her both deaf and blind. At the age of seven her parents employed Anne Sullivan to teach their daughter. Anne Sullivan had impaired vision. She was educated at Perkins School for the Blind in Boston. She underwent several operations which helped improve her vision. She graduated as the valedictorian of her class in 1886.

Sullivan’s efforts as a teacher were successful and Keller was admitted to Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1900. Sullivan accompanied Keller to college and assisted her with her studies. Keller became the first deaf blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1904. Sullivan and Keller remained close companions. They travelled widely giving lectures and appearing in vaudeville performances. They were awarded honorary degrees from several universities.

Helen Keller, who was the first deaf blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree died aged 87 in the year 1968 On This Day.

Helen Keller

Life quote from Helen Keller

04 April-Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King Jr. was a minister in the Baptist Church. From the mid-1950’s he was leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States of America. In his role as leader of the Civil Rights Movement he advocated the use of non-violent protest to advance the aims of the movement.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15th 1929, Martin Luther King graduated from high school at the age of 15. He was awarded a BA degree in Sociology from Morehouse College, Atlanta in 1948. In 1951 he was awarded a BD (Bachelor of Divinity) from the Crozer Theological Seminary. From there he enrolled in Graduate studies at Boston University where he received his PhD in 1955. In that year at the age of 25 King was appointed pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church of Montgomery, Alabama.

When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, King led a citywide bus boycott. The boycott lasted 382 days before the law which mandated segregated public transportation was lifted. In 1957 he helped to found, and served as first president of, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to lead the struggle for racial equality. He went on to lead the struggle for equality in places such as Albany, Georgia and Birmingham Alabama. He was one of the organisers of the March on Washington in 1963 where he established his reputation as an orator when he delivered his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.

In 1964 the Civil Rights Act was passed enforcing desegregation and outlawing discrimination. In the same year Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded The Nobel Peace Prize. During the 1960’s King continued to fight discrimination and broadened his campaign to address issues such as poverty and the Vietnam War. On April 3rd 1968 he went to Memphis Tennessee where he delivered a speech in support of striking sanitation workers. The day after the rally he was shot and killed by a sniper called James Earl ray while standing on the balcony outside his room at the Lorraine Motel. His death led to widespread riots and demonstrations.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis Tennessee in the year 1968 On This Day.

Martin Luther King Jr photo

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking.], 08/28/1963 by The U.S. National Archives on 1963-08-28 10:27:05





30 March-Celine Dion

Celine Dion is a singer who is a native of Canada. With global record sales of over 200 million she is ranked 10th in the list of best-selling music artists of all time. Born in the French speaking province of Quebec, Dion was an award winning artist by the time she was 18. She is a global star and is the recipient of numerous awards.

Celine Marie Claudette Dion was born in Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada in March 1968. A member of a musical family she began her singing career at a young age. She first became famous for her award winning French albums. She came to international attention in 1998 when she won the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin, Ireland. Representing Switzerland, Dion sang ‘Ne partez pas sans moi’.

During the 1990’s, Celine Dion had a series of international number-one hits. Her first success was with ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in 1992. This was followed by hit recordings such as ‘The Power of Love’, ‘It’s All Coming Back to Me Now’ and ‘My Heart Will Go On’. She continues to record and perform successfully and is involved in several philanthropic activities.

Celine Dion was born in the year 1968 On This Day.

Rita’s Birthday Today.

Celine Dion

Celine Dion’s Star, Hollywood Walk of Fame




20 December-John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck was an award winning author who was a native of the United States of America. His novels, which are described as social novels are generally set in the state of California. Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962.

John Ernst Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California on February 27th 1902. He was of German, English, and Irish descent. He enrolled in Stanford University in 1919 but dropped out to write and work as a manual labourer.

His most notable works include Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden. In 1940 Steinbeck was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Grapes of Wrath. It is the story of a dispossessed family’s migration from Oklahoma to California during the Great Depression.

John Steinbeck died in New York City in the year 1968 On This Day.

John Steinbeck – Author Series

Cannery Row – made famous by John Steinbeck

John Steinbec