November 29, 1942 – Stanley Ann Dunham is born in Wichita, Kansas. She was possibly the most influential atheist of the 20th century, being the mother of America’s first black president, Barack Obama. Obama’s civic commitment is clearly a product of her progressive parenting. He recalled her as a “a lonely witness for secular humanism, a soldier for New Deal, Peace Corps, position-paper liberalism” and one who had “a healthy skepticism of religion as an institution.” She died in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1995, aged 52.
November 29, 1968 – Biologist Oscar Riddle dies Plant City, Florida, aged 91. He was best known professionally for his research into the pituitary gland, but he came to national attention in 1936 when, as a vice president of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, he delivered a speech titled “The Confusion of Tongues,” in which he praised the rapid expansion of biological knowledge, criticized superstition in general, and condemned resistance in public schools to the teaching of evolution. His speech was covered by the New York Times and reprinted in the journal Science. Riddle was named Humanist of the Year in 1958 by the American Humanist Association.
Got info? Suggest a date in freethought history!