Edward MART CROWLEY was an American playwright born on this date, who was best known for his play The Boys in the Band.


Crowley was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi. After graduating from The Catholic University of America (studying acting and show business) in Washington D.C. in 1957, Crowley headed west to Hollywood, where he worked for a number of television production companies before meeting and becoming close friends with Natalie Wood on the set of her film Splendor in the Grass. Wood hired him as her assistant, primarily to give him ample free time to work on his gay-themed play that was to become The Boys in the Band. which opened off-Broadway on April 14, 1968 and enjoyed a run of 1,000 performances. “The power of the play,” Clive Barnes wrote in his review in The New York Times, “is the way in which it remorselessly peels away the pretensions of its characters and reveals a pessimism so uncompromising in its honesty that it becomes in itself an affirmation of life.” The play, opening more than a year before the Stonewall Inn uprising in Greenwich Village, gave new visibility to the world it depicted, with the show drawing both gay and straight audience members.


Crowley became part of Wood's inner circle of friends that she called "the nucleus", whose main requirement was that they pass a "kindness" test.


Crowley's sequel to The Boys in the Band was entitled The Men From the Boys, following the characters of the original story thirty years later. In. 2018 "Boys in the Band" was restaged on Broadway in a 50th anniversary revival featuring an all-gay male cast including Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto and Andrew Rannels.


Crowley also wrote and produced Remote Asylum and the autobiographical A Breeze from the Gulf.


In 1979 and 1980, Crowley served first as the executive script editor and then producer of the ABC series Hart to Hart, starring Wood's husband Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers. His other credits include the teleplays for There Must Be a Pony (1986), Bluegrass (1988), People Like Us (1990), and a reunion special of Hart to Hart in 1996.


The Boys in the Band was adapted into a film in 1970 directed by William Friedkin.


Crowley had heart surgery and died while in recovery in Manhattan, in New York on March 7, 2020...

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The WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT was a decades-long fight to win the right to vote for women in the United States. It took activists and reformers nearly 100 years to win that right, and the campaign was not easy: Disagreements over strategy threatened to cripple the movement more than once. But on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was finally ratified, enfranchising all American women and declaring for the first time that they, like men, deserve all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.


The campaign for women’s suffrage began in earnest in the decades before the Civil War. During the 1820s and 30s, most states had extended the franchise to all white men, regardless of how much money or property they had.


At the same time, all sorts of reform groups were proliferating across the United States— temperance leagues, religious movements, moral-reform societies, anti-slavery organizations—and in many of these, women played a prominent role.


Meanwhile, many American women were beginning to chafe against what historians have called the “Cult of True Womanhood”: that is, the idea that the only “true” woman was a pious, submissive wife and mother concerned exclusively with home and family.


Put together, all of these contributed to a new way of thinking about what it meant to be a woman and a citizen of the United States.


In 1848, a group of abolitionist activists—mostly women, but some men—gathered in Seneca Falls, New York to discuss the problem of women’s rights. They were invited there by the reformers Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott.


Most of the delegates to the Seneca Falls Convention agreed: American women were autonomous individuals who deserved their own political identities.


“We hold these truths to be self-evident,” proclaimed the Declaration of Sentiments that the delegates produced, “that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” What this meant, among other things, was that they believed women should have the right to vote.


During the 1850s, the women’s rights movement gathered steam, but lost momentum when the Cicil War began. Almost immediately after the war ended, the 14th Amendment and the 15th Amendment to the Constitution raised familiar questions of suffrage and citizenship.


The 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, extends the Constitution’s protection to all citizens—and defines “citizens” as “male”; the 15th, ratified in 1870, guarantees Black men the right to vote.


Some women’s suffrage advocates believed that this was their chance to push lawmakers for truly universal suffrage. As a result, they refused to support the 15th Amendment and even allied with racist Southerners who argued that white women’s votes could be used to neutralize those cast by African Americans.


Starting in 1910, some states in the West began to extend the vote to women for the first time in almost 20 years. Idaho and Utah had given women the right to vote at the end of the 19th century. Still, southern and eastern states resisted. In 1916, NAWSA president Carrie Chapman Catt unveiled what she called a “Winning Plan” to get the vote at last: a blitz campaign that mobilized state and local suffrage organizations all over the country, with special focus on those recalcitrant regions.


Meanwhile, a splinter group called the National Woman’s Party founded by Alice Paul focused on more radical, militant tactics—hunger strikes and White House pickets, for instance—aimed at winning dramatic publicity for their cause.


World War I slowed the suffragists’ campaign but helped them advance their argument nonetheless: Women’s work on behalf of the war effort, activists pointed out, proved that they were just as patriotic and deserving of citizenship as men.


 It fell to Tennessee to tip the scale for woman suffrage.


The outlook for ratification by the requisite number of states appeared bleak, given the outcomes in other Southern states and given the position of Tennessee’s state legislators in their 48-48 tie. The state’s decision came down to 23-year-old Representative Harry T. Burn, a Republican from McMinn County, to cast the deciding vote. Although Burn opposed the amendment, his mother convinced him to approve it. Mrs. Burn reportedly wrote to her son: “Don’t forget to be a good boy and help Mrs. Catt put the ‘rat’ in ratification.” With Burn’s vote, the 19th Amendment was fully ratified.


Finally, on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. And on November 2 of that year, more than 8 million women across the United States voted in elections for the first time.....

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DAVID MIXNER is an American political activist and author born on this date. He is best known for his work in anti-war and gay rights advocacy. 


In the fall of 1964, Mixner enrolled at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, where he soon became heavily involved in civil rights and anti-war activism, including helping to organize protests against a speech by General William Westmoreland. Prompted by an article he read in The Arizona Republic about city garbage workers who were seeking the right to unionize, in the fall of 1966, Mixner organized from start to finish the first of many protests he would organize over the next thirty years. Mixner rallied hundreds of workers, students and professors and led a march on City Hall. Although the city successfully broke the strike, the workers eventually earned the right to unionize.


Mixner also experienced his first same-sex relationship at ASU, with a man whom he refers to as Kit in his memoirs. A year into their relationship, Kit was killed in an automobile accident. Mixner did not attend the funeral, and Kit's parents never discovered that their son was gay. Mixner was born and grew up in the small town of Elmer, New Jersey. His father Ben worked on a corporate farm, and his mother Mary worked shifts at a local glass factory and later took a job as a bookkeeper for the local John Deere dealership.


Soon after Kit's death, Mixner decided to transfer to the University of Maryland to be closer to Washington, D.C., where he would be able to get more involved in anti-war protests.


Mixner found himself much more interested in activism than in pursuing a college degree. While at Maryland, Mixner was a grassroots organizer for the 1967 march on the Pentagon, which was later captured in Norman Mailer's Armies of the Night.


Later that year, Mixner dropped out of college and began working for the presidential campaign of Eugene McCarthy. One of Mixner's first assignments was organizing the Minnesota operation, helping McCarthy win the Minnesota caucus, defeating incumbent President Johnson. Later, Mixner and other members of McCarthy's campaign team went to Georgia to help select an alternative delegation to send to the national convention in Chicago, challenging Governor Lestor Maddox's hand-picked delegation, which included only seven African-Americans in the 117 person delegation. The Georgia Democratic Party Forum, which sought to challenge Maddox's delegation, held its own convention in Macon, where Congressman John Conyers (D–MI) keynoted their convention before turning over the floor to Julian Bond, the first African-American elected to the Georgia legislature, who would later become Chairman of the NAACP.


At the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, Mixner was beaten by police during the protests held outside the convention center. After Humphrey claimed the nomination, Mixner began seeking out new outlets for his activism. He soon befriended Doris Kearns Goodwin, who introduced Mixner to Senator Ted Kennedy, who would become a lifelong friend.


Mixner's most significant contribution to the anti-Vietnam War effort was his role as one of the head organizers of the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam. The idea was prompted by Jermoe Grossman, a Massachusetts businessman active in the peace movement. Grossman proposed to Sam Brown, a close friend of Mixner, that they set aside a day in 1969 where “business as usual” would come to a halt, essentially engaging in a strike against everything. Brown decided that the word “moratorium” would be less threatening than “strike” to middle-class Americans, and set to work, setting aside October 15, 1969 as the day of the moratorium. Brown soon enlisted the help of Mixner, David Hawk, another young activist, and Marge Sklencar, who they knew from the McCarthy campaign. Brown, Mixner, Hawk and Sklencar then set about organizing the event.


In September 1969, shortly before the Moratorium, Mixner headed to Martha's Vineyard to meet with fellow activists, many of whom had also worked on the McCarthy campaign. Among those in attendance was Bill Clinton, who had been invited by one of Mixner's friends. At the time, Clinton was studying at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, attending the Martha's Vineyard retreat with fellow Rhodes Scholars Rick Stearns and Strobe Talbott. Mixner and Clinton were fast friends, and Mixner would play a significant role twenty-three years later in getting the LGBT community to support Clinton.


As the date of the Moratorium approached, it began gathering a great deal of momentum, with Time, Life, and Newsweek magazines featuring it in cover stories. When Clinton subsequently visited the headquarters of the Moratorium and saw what he would be missing by being in London on October 15, he suggested to Mixner that he organize a parallel protest at Oxford. This protest, in which about a thousand people gathered in front of the American embassy in London, would later be a significant issue in his presidential campaign, with President George H. Bush telling Larry King on CNN in October 1992, "Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but to go to a foreign country and demonstrate against your own country when your sons and daughters are dying halfway around the world, I am sorry but I think that is wrong."


The Moratorium drew millions of people throughout the country, who gathered in public places and read the names of the soldiers killed in Vietnam aloud. The day was capped off by a march at the Washington Monument, where Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke about her late husband's passion for ending the war.


In 1976, Mixner began the process of coming out of the closet, and soon thereafter was a founding member of the Municipal Elections Committee of Los Angeles (MECLA), the nation's first gay and lesbian Political Action Committee. At the time, very few candidates were willing to accept donations from openly gay individuals or gay-affiliated organizations. At the time, Mixner was also serving as the campaign manager for Tom Brady, the mayor of Los Angeles who was seeking reelection, so while he worked to raise funds for MECLA, his involvement was kept secret because of the potential for his sexuality to become an issue in Bradley's campaign.


Soon after Bradley won reelection easily, Mixner turned his focus to fighting Proposition 6, an initiative placed on the California ballot by  Orange County State Senator John Briggs that would make it illegal for gays and lesbians to be schoolteachers. Similar initiatives had recently passed throughout the country when Mixner turned his focus to fighting Proposition 6, creating the “NO on 6” organization to fight it; through the process, he would publicly come out. Mixner and his lover Peter Scott secured a meeting with then-Governor Ronald Reagan, whom they convinced to oppose the initiative publicly. As a result, and through the work of Mixner, Scott, legendary gay rights activist and San Francisco City Councilman Harvey Milk, and others, Proposition 6 was defeated by over a million votes, the first ballot initiative of its sort to be shot down.


As a result of this huge success, Mixner and Scott experienced a huge upturn in business for their fledgling political consulting firm, Mixner/Scott, and were asked by Bill Clinton, then running for governor of Arkansas, to host a reception for Clinton at their Los Angeles home.


In 2006, Mixner moved to Turkey Hollow in Sullivan County, New York, where he lived in a bright yellow house with his two cats, Sheba and Uganda. In 2009, Mixner moved to Hell's Kitchen in New York City. He posted blog entries daily on his website, davidmixner.com. His home was featured in the Real Estate section of The New York Times in an article entitled "Do Ask, Do Tell". Mixner was the keynote speaker for the Empire State Pride Agenda's 2007 fall dinner.


In October 2008, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah, honored Mixner with a luncheon at 10 Downing Sreet. The luncheon in Mixner's honor represented the first time a British Prime Minister honored an LGBT activist in this manor.


Also in October 2008, Mixner was invited to debate American politics by the Oxford Union, Britain's second oldest university union.


Mixner was featured in Ask Not, a 2008 documentary film about the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.


In 2009, Mixner moved back to New York City, where he currently resides near Times Square.


In May 2009, Mixner used his blog to call for a March on Washington to protest the LGBT community's lack of equal rights. Cleve Jones, spurred by Mixner's call to march, led the organizational efforts for the National Equality March, scheduled for October 10–11, 2009. Mixner and Jones both were featured speakers at a rally in front of the Capitol after the March. Over 200,000 people marched on Washington on October 11, 2009.


Mixner was honored by the Point Foundation , an organization that provides college scholarships to LGBT students, with its Legend Award at the foundation's 2009 Honors Gala in New York City. The award was presented to Mixner by Victoria Reggie Kennedy, Ted Kennedy's widow.


In 2011, the Theater at Dixon Place announced a one-man show starring Mixner, From the Front Porch. The show was a benefit for Dixon Place and the Ali Forney Center, an organization benefiting LGBT homeless youth.


Mixner released a memoir of his time in Turkey Hollow, At Home with Myself: Stories from the Hills of Turkey Hollow, in September 2011. The memoir is published by Magnus Books.


There is too much more of David's achievements to include in this space. Happy birthday David. You are a national treasure....

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MARY EDMONIA LEWIS  was an American sculptor who worked for most of her career in Rome, Italy. Born free on this date (d: 1907) in New York, she was the first woman of African-American and Native American heritage to achieve international fame and recognition as a sculptor in the fine arts world. Her work is known for incorporating themes relating to black people and indigenous peoples of the Americas into Neoclassical-style sculpture.


In Boston, Lewis befriended abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and sculptor Edward A. Brackett. It was Brackett who taught Lewis sculpture and helped propel her to set up her own studio. By the early 1860s, her clay and plaster medallions of Garrison, John Brown and other abolitionist leaders gave her a small measure of commercial success.


In 1864, Lewis created a bust of Colonel Robert Shaw, a Civil War hero who had died leading the all-black 54th Massachusetts Regiment. This was her most famous work to date and the money she earned from the sale of copies of the bust allowed her to move to Rome, home to a number of expatriate American artists, including several women.


She began to gain prominence in the United States during the American Civil War; at the end of the 19th century, she remained the only black woman who had participated in and been recognized to any degree by the American artistic mainstream. A major coup in her career was participating in the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. For this, she created a monumental 3,015-pound marble sculpture, The Death of Cleopatra, which portrayed the queen in the throes of death. This piece depicts the moment popularized by Shakespeare in Antony and Cleopatra, in which Cleopatra had allowed herself to be bitten by a poisonous asp following the loss of her crown. Of the piece, J. S. Ingraham wrote that Cleopatra was "the most remarkable piece of sculpture in the American section" of the Exposition. Much of the viewing public was shocked by Lewis's frank portrayal of death, but the statue drew thousands of viewers. Cleopatra was considered a woman of both sensuous beauty and demonic power. Her self-annihilation has been portrayed numerously in art as well as literature and cinema. In Death of Cleopatra, Edmonia Lewis added an innovative flair by portraying the Egyptian queen in a disheveled, inelegant manner, a departure from the Victorian approach of representing death. Considering Lewis's interest in emancipation imagery as seen in her work Forever Free, it is not surprising that Lewis eliminated Cleopatra's usual companion figures of loyal slaves from her work. Lewis's The Death of Cleopatra may have been a response to the culture of the Centennial Exposition, which celebrated one-hundred years of the United States being built around the principles of liberty and freedom, a celebration of unity despite centuries of slavery, the recent Civil War, and the failing attempts and efforts of Reconstruction. In order to avoid any acknowledgement of black empowerment by the Centennial, Lewis's sculpture could not have directly addressed the subject of Emancipation.After being placed in storage, the statue was moved to the 1878 Chicago Interstate Exposition where it remained unsold.


The sculpture was acquired by a gambler by the name of "Blind John" Condon who purchased it from a saloon on Clark street to mark the grave of a Racehorse named "Cleopatra". The grave was in front of the grandstand of his Harlem race track in the Chicago suburb of Foresst Park, where the sculpture remained for nearly one hundred years until the land was bought by the U.S. Postal Service and the sculpture was moved to a construction storage yard in Cicero. While at the storage yard, The Death of Cleopatra sustained extensive damage at the hands of well-meaning Boy Scouts who painted and caused other damage to the sculpture. Dr. James Orland, a dentist in Forest Park, and member of the Forest Park Historical Society acquired the sculpture and held it in private storage at the Forest Park Mall.


A testament to Lewis's renown as an artist came in 1877, when former US President Ulysses S. Grant commissioned her to do his portrait. He sat for her as a model and was pleased with her finished piece. She also contributed a bust of Charles Sumner to the 1895 Atlanta Exposition.


In 2002, the scholar Molefi Kete Asante named Edmonia Lewis on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans


As they say, Edmonia Lewis never married and had no children. She is generally believed to have been a lesbian according to authors Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross in A Black Woman's Guide to the History of the United States....

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