Friday, June 1, 2007

On June 1, ...

.... 1793, Marie-Jeanne Roland de la Platière (at right, in a 1787 portrait by Adelaide Labille-Guiard) was arrested in Paris. The 39-year-old historian and journalist, typically known, simply, as Madame Roland, was active in the Girondist faction that had taken part in the French Revolution. Her arrest came after the party fell out of favor. Capital conviction followed, on charges that she was a royalist. Kneeling to submit to execution by guillotine on Nov. 8, 1793, she uttered words quoted to this day: « O liberté, que de crimes on commet en ton nom. »; that is, "O Liberty! how many crimes are committed in thy name!" On hearing of her death her husband, whom she had helped to escape, committed suicide.
... 1968, Helen Keller, 87, died at her home in Westport, Connecticut. Illness had left her deaf, mute, and blind more than 85 years earlier. A teacher, Anne Sullivan Macy, helped her learn to communicate despite these impairments. Keller eventually was graduated cum laude from Radcliffe, published books such as The Story of My Life, became active in the Socialist Party, did a turn in vaudeville, and won the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her image graces the Alabama commemorative quarter, above.

No comments: