August 18

Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita was published in 1958 in New York. The novel deals with a literature professor’s obsession with a 12 year-old girl. The novel became one of the best-known and controversial pieces of literature in the 20th century. The name “Lolita” became synonymous with a sexually precocious girl. Two films, tow operas, two ballets, and a Broadway musical were produced from the novel. Lolita is included on Time’s list of the 100 Best Novels. Other Nabokov works include The Defense and Pale Fire. The author passed away in 1977.

James Meredith became the first African American to graduate from the University of Mississippi in 1963. He went on to earn a law degree from Columbia. Getting enrolled at the University of Mississippi was the difficult. Twice the university rejected him and then he filed suit against the school for discrimination. After the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed his case, Meredith began to attend courses on October 1, 1962. Protests broke out on campus, two people were killed, and President Kennedy called in U.S. Marshals, Army troops, and troops from the Mississippi National Guard.

In 1977, anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko was arrested at a roadblock and accused of violating the Terrorism Act No. 83 in King William’s Town, South Africa. Biko had founded the Black Consciousness Movement that took in much of the black urban population. After being beaten into a coma, Biko was driven to Pretoria and died shortly after his arrival. Police claimed he died because of a hunger strike, but an autopsy showed the real cause of death from beatings. The film, Cry Freedom, starring Denzel Washington and Kevin Kline was based on writings of journalist Donald Woods who had befriended Biko.

Birthdays Today

1920Shelley Winters, American actress and singer (d. 2006)
1933Roman Polanski, French-Polish director, producer, screenwriter, and actor
1935Rafer Johnson, American decathlete and actor
1936Robert Redford, American actor, director, and producer
1952Patrick Swayze, American actor and singer (d. 2009)
1958Madeleine Stowe, American actress

Larry Moskal began his career as a Social Studies teacher in 1971. He graduated from the University of Buffalo with degrees in history and education. Larry taught Social Studies for the Ken-Ton School system, a suburban school system north of Buffalo, New York until 2005, and then taught and was the Dean of Students at San Miguel High School in Tucson. At Ken-Ton, he pioneered several online courses for high school students. In the 1980s, he spent three years teaching in Colombia, South America and spent four years at Lewiston-Porter High School. He currently is the PowerSchool Administrator for San Miguel accomplishing his work over the Internet.