July 31, 1921 – Peter Benenson, founder of Amnesty International, is born in London.
July 31, 1951Â – Publisher and atheist activistÂ E. Haldeman-JuliusÂ is found dead in his swimming pool in Girard, Kansas, one day after his 62nd birthday. Haldeman-Julius wasÂ best known as publisher of the Little Blue Books, whichÂ introduced millions of readers to works of philosophy, history, science and more for as little as five cents a copy. AuthorsÂ printed or reprinted under the LBB series includedÂ Thomas Paine, Voltaire, Robert Ingersoll, Clarence Darrow and many more. Notably, Will Durant’s classicÂ The Story of PhilosophyÂ began as a series of Little Blue Books. Haldeman-JuliusÂ published an exposÃ© on J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, which led to an investigation by that agency and eventually a conviction for tax evasion. He was found dead just weeks after his conviction.
July 31, 2012Â – Skeptic and rationalist Sanal Edamaruku, under threats of violence and possible imprisonment, flees his native India for exile in Finland.Â Earlier that yearÂ Edamaruku investigated a â€œmiraculousâ€ drip of water from a Christ-statueâ€™s toe in Mumbai and traced it to a seeping drainpipe. Infuriated Catholics complained under a statute prohibiting outraging religious sentiments. He still resides in Finland.
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