Happy birthday, Ruth First (May 4, 1925 – Aug. 17, 1982)! #Communist. #Feminist. Anti-apartheid activist. Journalist. Editor. Member of the Communist Party of South Africa. Author of “117 Days: An Account of Confinement and Interrogation Under the South African 90-Day Detention Law” (1965). Assassinated by letter bomb, sent to her by the South African Police while she was in exile in Mozambique. Born in Johannesburg. Died in Maputo, Mozambique.
~The Marginal Mennonite Society Heroes/Martyrs Series.
Happy birthday, Jane Jacobs (May 4, 1916 – April 25, 2006)! Journalist. Anti-war activist. Author of the best-selling and influential book “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” (1961). As a female writer in the field of urban planning, Jacobs endured much scorn from the men who dominated the field. We can thank Jane and her fellow Greenwich Village activists for the survival of Washington Square Park. The evil “city planner” Robert Moses wanted to build an expressway that would have passed directly through the park and necessitated the destruction of hundreds of historic buildings. Plans for the expressway resurfaced multiple times in the 1960s, but Jacobs and her band of activists were able to prevent Moses from prevailing every time. In 1968 Jacobs moved to Canada so that her two sons could avoid the draft. They moved to an area of Toronto known as the “American ghetto” because of its population of U.S. draft dodgers. While living in Toronto she participated in the grass-roots opposition to the Spadina Expressway. Her oft-repeated question was: Are we building cities for people or for cars?