“No public worship is tolerated by Act of Assembly but to those that profess faith in Christ, and therefore Jewish worship is not to be allowed.”—Colonial New York Assembly.
A Jewish community in New York submitted a petition to New York’s Colonial Governor, Thomas Dongan, on this date in 1695, in which it requested permission to worship openly. This was new in itself, and Governor Dongan submitted the petition to the state assembly. This level of respect was new, too. The petition was denied, as quoted above. The Jewish community continued to worship in secrecy.
Unrelated to the above, there is a park named after governor Dongan in my hometown of Poughkeepsie, New York.
* * * *
A French teenager accidentally discovered the entrance to Lascaux cave in France on this date in 1940. Once inside, he became the first human to gaze at the extensive Paleolithic era wall paintings in thousands of years. At 17,000 years old, the paintings are not the oldest in the world or in France—many of the paintings in Chauvet Cave are more than 30,000 years old—but Lascaux may be the most famous site of its sort. (One image from Lascaux is at top.)
* * * *
On this date in 1960, during his campaign for U.S. President, John F. Kennedy spoke to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, a group of Protestant ministers, about his religion, which had become a campaign issue. He said the following:
“[B]ecause I am a Catholic, and no Catholic has ever been elected president, the real issues in this campaign have been obscured—perhaps deliberately, in some quarters less responsible than this. So it is apparently necessary for me to state once again not what kind of church I believe in—for that should be important only to me—but what kind of America I believe in.
“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
“I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish.”
* * * *
Robert Lowell died on this date in 1977. A poem by Lowell:
T. S. Eliot
Caught between two streams of traffic, in the gloom
of Memorial Hall and Harvard’s war-dead…. And he:
“Don’t you loathe to be compared with your relatives?
I do. I’ve just found two of mine reviewed by Poe.
He wiped the floor with them … and I was delighted.”
Then on with warden’s pace across the Yard,
talking of Pound, “It’s balls to say he only
pretends to be Ezra…. He’s better though. This year,
he no longer wants to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem.
Yes, he’s better. ‘You speak,’ he said, when he’d talked two hours.
By then I had absolutely nothing to say.”
Ah Tom, one music, one music, had one your luck—
lost in the dark night of the brilliant talkers,
humor and honor from the everlasting dross!—Robert Lowell, History & Collected Poems
Steve Biko was murdered in 1977 on this date. Johnny Cash died 13 years ago today.
* * * *
H. L. Mencken was born in 1880 on this date. Maurice Chevalier was born on this date in 1888. Louis MacNeice was born in 1907 on this date. Jesse Owens was born in 1913 on this date. Stanisław Lem was born on this date in 1921. George Jones was born 85 years ago today. Barry White was born on this date in 1944.
* * * *
Sir Ian Holm is 85 today. Linda Gray is 76. Mickey Lolich is 76. Leonard Peltier is 72. Joe Pantoliano is 65. Peter Scolari is 61. Amy Yasbeck is 54. Ben Folds is 50. Paul F. Tompkins is 48 today. Jennifer Hudson is 35.
Follow The Gad About Town on Facebook! Subscribe today for daily facts (well, trivia) about literature and history, plus links to other writers on Facebook.
Follow The Gad About Town on Instagram!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.