Thursday, March 21, 2013

March 21 - the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

On this day in history in 1960, police officers opened fire on a peaceful demonstration against apartheid pass laws in Sharpeville, South Africa, killing 69 people. In 1966, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the day "The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination", calling on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

In South Africa, March 21 is Human Rights Day, commemorating the lives lost to the fight for democracy and equal human rights.

Here are some materials at the library that might interest you:
"Racial and Ethnic Equality", by Sean Connolly

"I Have a Dream", Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words, with illustrations by Kadir Nelson
"Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged!" by Judy Nyasha Warner & Richard Rudnicki
"A Light in the Darkness", by Aaron Zevy
"Connecting Kids: Exploring Diversity Together", by Linda D. Hill
"Colour-Coded: a Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900 - 1950", by Constance Backhouse

Today is also Brain Injuries Awareness Day, Memory Day, Spring Fairy Fun Day, and World Down Syndrome Day.

Here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history:

- In 1821, an agreement was reached to merge the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company as of June 1, effectively ending the fur trade out of Montreal and creating a near monopoly of the fur trade in British North America.
- The Sandfield Macdonald-Sicotte government was replaced by Tache-John A. Macdonald in the United Canadas in 1864
- Loretta Walsh became the first female US Navy Petty Officer in 1917
- John Edward Broadbent, leader of the federal NDP, was born in Oshawa, Ontario in 1936
- Alcatraz was officially closed in 1963
- Martin Luther King Jr. began marching from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965
- The first Earth Day proclamation was issued by San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto in 1970
- Time Magazine recalled all copies of the March 21, 1983 issue when a typo was discovered on the cover ("contol", instead of "control").
- Part of Central Park was named Strawberry Fields in honor of John Lennon in 1984
- Rick Hansen began his 26-month, 40 000 km "Man in Motion" tour to raise money for spinal-cord research in 1985.

Stay tuned for our next "On This Day in History".

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