November 26 in freethought history…

govindpansareNovember 26, 1933 - Indian politician and rationalist Govind Pansare is born in Kolhar village, Maharashtra, India. He was involved in left-wing politics, but also opposed the taboo against inter-caste marriages, Hindu superstitions regarding the conception of male children, and the glorification by Hindu extremists of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin. Pansare supported the Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Act, a Maharashtra state law that protected citizens from certain types of fraud. He was assassinated in February 2015 by gunmen, presumed right-wing Hindus.

November 26, 1940 – Attorney and freethought activist Edwin Kagin is born in Greenville, South Carolina. He was a founding member of the Free Inquiry Group (FIG) of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, and a co-founder (with wife Helen Kagin) of Camp Quest, a children’s summer camp that emphasizes science and skeptical thinking. Kagin died in 2014, aged 73.

November 26, 1956 – Sixteen-year-old Ellery Schempp stages a one-person protest at Abington (Pennsylvania) High School against the school’s requirement that students read ten Bible verses and the Lord’s Prayer every day. The protest led to a lawsuit against the school, and culminated in Abington School District v Shempp, in which the Supreme Court struck down public school mandated Bible reading as unconstitutional.

November 26, 1999 – Anthropologist Ashley Montagu dies in Princeton, New Jersey, aged 94. his major contributions include recognizing the importance of touch in the emotional development of monkeys (and by extension, humans), questioning the validity of race as a biological concept, and opposing genital modification/mutilation of children. He was named Humanist of the Year in 1995 by the American Humanist Association.

November 26, 2007 – The first episode of the American Freethought podcast is released.

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