July 9, 1968 – American author Vardis Fisher dies in his nativeÂ Idaho, aged 73. He was best known for novels set in the Old West, including Mountain Man, the basis for the 1972 Robert Redford film Jeremiah Johnson. Fisher also wrote anÂ impressively researched 12-novel series Testament of Man (out of print and hard to find), which traced human evolution and civilization from the time of Australopithecus to the mid-20th century. Although raised in the Mormon tradition, Fisher “never failed to talk and write about atheism. Never failed to say he was an atheist and was proud of his atheism.” After his death, his widow Opal Fisher engaged in a struggle with Mormon academics over whether Vardis should be remembered as an atheist or a Mormon.
July 9, 1974Â – Former Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court Earl Warren dies in Washington, DC, aged 83. Warren served on the Court from 1953-1969, presiding over numerous landmark cases, including Brown v Board of Education (banning racial segregation in public schools), Engel v Vitale (banning public school prayers), and Abington v Schempp (banning public school Bible readings). He also presided over the Commission that investigated the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
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