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Milestones: Friday, June 23, 2023

June 23, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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LONG-RUNNING RADIO PROGRAM — “The Breakfast Club with Don McNeill,” made its radio premiere on June 23, 1933, and enjoyed a 35-year run with more than 400 affiliate stations carrying the program. The hour-long show included celebrities such as Fran Allison of “Kukla, Fran and Ollie.” Especially popular were the show’s regular features “Memory Time,” when McNeil read poems and letters from listeners. One favorite World-War II period tradition was McNeill’s invocation, “Call to Breakfast,” which he announced every 15 minutes, inviting listeners to get up and march around the breakfast table; he also had a “Prayer Time” segment during that war. Although “The Breakfast Club” originally had no commercial sponsorship, McNeill managed to secure a sponsor, Swift and Company.

McNeill is credited as being the first performer to turn morning talk and variety into a viable radio format. Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1989.


REFUSED TO WRITE ABOUT SOCIALIST ORDER —  Anna Akhmatova, born on June 23, 1889 in Odessa (then part of Russia) was of the most beloved and renowned 20th-century Russian poets. Akhmatova was part of the Acmeist literary group devoted to succinctness and clarity, and to tactile, concrete, material images in poetry. She Akhmatova created poems as if they were photographs or sketches of real life. She wrote, “It could be that poetry itself is one great quotation.”

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Akhmatova was later expelled from the Soviet literary society for her unwillingness to write about the new socialist order. Akhmatova died Mar 6, 1966, at Moscow. He native Odessa (sometimes spelled as Odessa) is in modern-day western Ukraine, which is now fighting Russia to protect its sovereignty.


DEFEATED GERMANY AND RUSSIA — The Baltic state of ESTONIA has, since 1934, celebrated Victory Day (Võidupüha) on June 23. The public holiday commemorates both a key victory in a battle against German forces fighting to reclaim control over the Baltic region — in the 1919 Battle of Võnnu, and also a victory for independence against Russia.

Today, Victory Day serves as a day of remembrance to commemorate the contributions of all Estonians in their struggle to regain and retain their independence. Estonians celebrate another holiday on June 24: Midsummer Day (St, John’s Day), as does much of northern Europe, Scandinavia and Great Britain.


ROYAL BIRTHDAY AND INDEPENDENCE — The western European country of Luxembourg marks its national holiday each year, as a dual celebration of the Official birthday of His Royal Highness Grand Duke Jean in 1921, and its independence (apparently referring to 1945) although the landlocked nation’s history has several fights for self-rule. Grand Duke Henri is the leader of this constitutional monarchy making it the world’s only remaining sovereign grand duchy.

Luxembourg is a wealthy, developed nation whose national language, Luxembourgish, is a Franconian blend of high German and French. All three languages (Luxembourgish, German and French) are required in schooling, although English is also taught.


UNIQUE DANCE STYLE — ROBERT LOUIS (BOB) FOSSE, born at Chicago on June 23, 1927 was a choreographer who developed a unique dance style focused on explosive angularity of the human body in its movement. Most known for his musical theater and film choreography, Fosse was the only director in history to win an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony for his work. His credits include plays Pippin, Sweet Charity, Pajama Game, Chicago and Damn Yankees, and the movies Cabaret, Lenny and All That Jazz.

Fosse, who died at age 60, was son of a vaudeville singer and began his own show business career at age 13.


TITLE IX BARRED GENDER DISCRIMINATION — Then-President Richard M. Nixon signed the Higher Education Act of 1972 on June 23, 1972. This law included a section labeled as Title IX, which reads, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance[.]” All federal agencies that provide grants of financial assistance are required to enforce Title IX’s nondiscrimination mandate.

Title IX include sexual harassment; the failure to provide equal athletic opportunity; sex-based discrimination in a school’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses and programs; and discrimination based on pregnancy. Title IX also prohibits retaliation for filing an OCR complaint or for advocating for a protected right.


THE FATHER OF MODERN COMPUTER SCIENCE — Alan Mathison Turing, born at London, England on June 23, 1912, was a  British mathematician, logician and cryptographer, who came to be respected as the father of modern computer science and artificial intelligence. In 1936 he conceived the 1936 “Turing Machine,” an abstract information-processing mathematical model that foreshadowed digital computers. During WWII, he was a member of the top-secret code-breaking team at England’s Bletchley Park, a group that saved incalculable Allied lives. For this he was awarded membership in the Order of the British Empire. The “Turing Test,” a method for determining the viability of an artificial intelligence test,” might have been successful if its designer had not been punished for being openly gay. As homosexuality was then a crime, the British government in 1952 convicted Turing of “gross indecency,” and stripped him of his government security clearance.

Not being able to complete his life’s work, Turing committed suicide in 1954. England did not permit consensual homosexuality until the enactment of a 1967 law. It wasn’t until 2013 that Queen Elizabeth II granted Turing a posthumous royal pardon.


SET AN OLYMPIC PRECEDENT — WILMA RUDOLPH, born June 23, 1940 in Tennessee, was Olympic gold medal sprinter, born at Bethlehem, TN. She won the 100-, 200- and 400-meter relays at the 1960 Rome games, thus becoming the first woman to win three gold medals at the same Olympics.

Ms. Rudolph had overcome polio as a child and attended Tennessee State University to become an athlete. Rudolph in 1961 won the Amateur Athletic Union’s James E. Sullivan Award, presented annually to “the most outstanding athlete at the collegiate or Olympic level in the United States.”

See previous milestones, here.

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