April 15 in freethought history…

asaphiliprandolphApril 15, 1889 – African-American civil rights activist Asa Philip Randolph is born in Crescent City, Florida. Randolph was a key figure in the fight to end discrimination in the defense industry and the US military, and he was head of the 1963 March on Washington, during which Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Randolph generally identified as an atheist, and was named Humanist of the Year in 1970 by the American Humanist Association. He died in 1979, aged 90.

April 15, 1920 – Hungarian-American psychiatrist Thomas Szasz is born in Budapest. He campaigned for (among other things) the rights of the mentally ill and against the use of coercive treatments of mental illness. He was named Humanist of the Year in 1973 by the American Humanist Association. Szasz died in 2012, aged 92.

April 15, 2011Atlas Shrugged, Part I, the first installment of a film trilogy based on Ayn Rand’s pro-capitalism magnum opus, opens in limited release in the United States. Starring Taylor Schilling and Grant Bowler, the film was universally panned by critics, earning less than $5 million at the box office against a $20 million budget. Despite this theatrical debacle, the producers managed to release two follow-up films, each with a new cast.

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