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the work of history

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    Swan LakeOp. 20 (1877), Act III, No. 18 Scène


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    April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated.

    The night before his assassination, King delivered his last speech at Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee; popularly known as “I’ve Been to the Mountain”, this speech was made in support of the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike and called upon the United States to ”be true to what you said on paper”. 

    At around 6 PM, King was standing on the balcony outside his room at Memphis’  Lorraine Motel when he was struck by a single bullet through the cheek, fired from a pump-action rifle wielded by James Earl Ray, who shortly afterward fled north to Canada. After being taken to the hospital, King was pronounced dead five minutes after 7. All across the United States, violent riots in Baltimore, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere broke out during the week following the assassination, though notably not in Indianapolis, where Robert F. Kennedy, who would be assassinated two months later, delivered arguably his speech informing the city’s residents of King’s death.

    The funeral, which took place on April 9, was attended by 300,000 people, and a bill to establish a holiday in his honor was presented in Congress not long after. King’s family, and many others besides, maintain that James Earl Ray (a small-time criminal) was the scapegoat of a conspiracy involving the U.S. government and FBI. It is fact that the FBI’s COINTELPRO closely monitored King’s (and other “subversives’) activities intensely often through illegal or dubious means, such as wiretapping and break-ins. The agency also sent King an anonymous letter urging him to commit suicide. In 1999, King’s family won a civil suit in Memphis in which jurors reached the unanimous verdict that “Loyd Jowers [a restaurant owner in 1968] as well as ”others, including governmental agencies’” had been part of a conspiracy to murder King. 

    Partial transcript from the 1999 case

    Bottom five photographs from LIFE


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    Swan LakeOp. 20 (1877), Act III, No. 19 Grand Pas de six: Intrada & Variation I


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    Swan LakeOp. 20 (1877), Act III, No. 19 Grand Pas de six: Variation II


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    Swan LakeOp. 20 (1877), Act III, No. 19 Grand Pas de six: Variation III & Variation IV


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    Swan LakeOp. 20 (1877), Act III, No. 19 Grand Pas de six: Variation V & Grand Coda


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    Swan LakeOp. 20 (1877), Act III, No. 20 Hungarian Dance


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    Swan LakeOp. 20 (1877), Act III, No. 20 Russian Dance


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    April 12, 1955: The polio vaccine is declared safe and effective. 

    After its clinical identification in the late 18th century, poliomyelitis remained one of the public’s most feared diseases in most industrialized nations until the initiation of a wide-scale effort to vaccinate against the disease in the mid-1900s. In 1894, the first known epidemic of polio to break out in the United States struck a population in Vermont. Over the next few decades, outbreaks of polio reached pandemic proportions in much of the West. Then often referred to ominously as “infantile paralysis”, the spread of polio in industrialized nations was accelerated by the loss of natural immunities to the disease as a result of improved sanitation and sewage disposal. As noted in the report from the original 1894 Vermont outbreak, a dreaded and relatively common outcome of the disease was paralysis of some or all of the extremities. The sinister image of the iron lung, upon which an affected child might become dependent as a result of paralysis of muscles in the chest, was embedded in the public’s conception of the disease. Amid dreams of idyllic American suburban life and the ultimate triumph of modern science over nature, polio, writes David Oshinsky, was “the crack in the fantasy”. 

    Efforts toward a vaccine gained traction in the late 1930s. In 1952, the worst outbreak of polio in the nation’s history affected some 58,000 people. Of these, 3,145 died, and 21,000 were left with some degree of paralysis. The same year, Jonas Salk and colleagues developed and tested a polio vaccine on schoolchildren. In 1954, one of the largest and most publicized clinical trials in the nation’s history was underway. The trials involved the injection of the vaccine and placebos in 623,972 American schoolchildren and resulted in an 80-90% success rate in preventing paralytic polio. On April 12, 1955, the results of these trials were announced and the vaccine was declared to be “safe, effective, and potent”. With the development of this viable vaccine, widespread mass vaccination campaigns took place and, for the most part, reduced the impact - and public fear - of polio nationally. Since 1988, worldwide polio cases have decreased by pver 99%; however, the disease still persists in several countries.


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    slavocracy:

    A Song of Ice and Fire women & Pre-Raphaelite Art (+ associated artists): 

    Joan of Arc (1865), John Everett Millais
    - Night (1880-85), Edward Robert Hughes
    Ophelia (1894), John William Waterhouse
    Vanity (1907), Frank Cadogan Cowper
    Mary Magdalene (1858-60), Frederick Sandys
    The Soul of the Rose (1908), John William Waterhouse
    Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses (1891), John William Waterhouse
    - Priestess of Delphi (1891), John Collier
    The Beloved (1865), Dante Gabriel Rossetti
    The Valykrie’s Vigil (1906), Edward Robert Hughes


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    Swan Lake, Op. 20 (1877), Act III, No. 21 Spanish Dance


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    Illustrations for Macbeth (1880-90), Luc-Olivier Merson


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    Swan LakeOp. 20 (1877), Act III, No. 22 Neapolitan/Venetian Dance & No. 23 Mazurka


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    Swan LakeOp. 20 (1877), Act III, No. 24 Scène


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    Gabriel García Márquez Dead: Nobel Prize-Winning Author Dies At 87 (TIMENew York Times)

    Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez was the author of One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), Autumn of the Patriarch (1975), Love in the Time of Cholera (1985), in addition to many other novels, short stories, and non-fiction works. In 1982 he received the Nobel Prize in Literature for “his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent’s life and conflicts.” García Márquez, only the fourth of six Latin Americans to be awarded the literature prize since its inception in 1901, lamented: “they have taken into account the literature of the sub-continent and have awarded me as a way of awarding all of this literature.” In his acceptance speech, entitled “The Solitude of Latin America”, García Márquez addressed the postcolonial struggles of Latin American nations, and the willing embrace by European institutions of Latin American cultural expression but not its social realities:

    Latin America neither wants, nor has any reason, to be a pawn without a will of its own; nor is it merely wishful thinking that its quest for independence and originality should become a Western aspiration. However, the navigational advances that have narrowed such distances between our Americas and Europe seem, conversely, to have accentuated our cultural remoteness. Why is the originality so readily granted us in literature so mistrustfully denied us in our difficult attempts at social change? Why think that the social justice sought by progressive Europeans for their own countries cannot also be a goal for Latin America, with different methods for dissimilar conditions? 


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    Swan Lake, Op. 20 (1877), Act IV, No. 25 Entr’acte & No. 26 Scène


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    Swan Lake, Op. 20 (1877), Act IV, No. 27 Dance of the Little Swans 


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    unhistorical:

    Helmet, Germany, 1540.


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    Swan Lake, Op. 20 (1877), Act IV,No. 28 Scène


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    Detail of the celestial globe from The Ambassadors (1533), Hans Holbein the Younger


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