February 27

Author John Steinbeck was born in 1902. His most famous works include The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and Of Mice and Men. Steinbeck received a Pulitzer Prize for The Grapes of Wrath and a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. His first success was Tortilla Flat (1935). Steinbeck grew up in Salinas County in California which influenced much of his work. The National Steinbeck Center in Salinas is worth a visit. Steinbeck died in 1968.

In 1932, Actress Elizabeth Taylor was born in England. She first came to prominence in National Velvet (1944). Taylor was one of the great screen actresses of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Other notable films include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Butterfield 8, and Cleopatra. Among her eight marriages were Richard Burton and Eddie Fisher. Taylor had a passion for jewelry and was co-founder of the American Foundation for AIDS Research. She won two Academy Awards, Butterfield 8 (1960) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). Elizabeth Taylor died in 2011 of congestive heart failure.

Lawyer, author and activist Ralph Nader was born in 1934. His areas of interest included consumer protection and environmentalism. Nader was the author of Unsafe at Any Speed, mostly attacking the Chevrolet Corvair. He has been a five-time candidate for president and was the Green Party candidate in 1996 and 2000. Nader is a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School.

The Wounded Knee Incident began in 1973 when about 200 Native Americans seized and occupied the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota. The group was upset with a tribal leader as well as the failure of the U.S. government to fulfill treaties with Native Americans. The occupation lasted 71 days and captured the attention of the media.

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.