May 4 in freethought history…

thomashuxleyMay 4, 1825 - English biologist Thomas Huxley is born in Ealing, United Kingdom. Huxley’s work in comparative anatomy led to his conclusion (widely accepted by scientists today) that birds evolved from dinosaurs. Huxley was an energetic advocate for colleague Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, earning the nickname “Darwin’s Bulldog.” He also coined the term “agnostic.” Huxley died in 1895, aged 70.

May 4, 2013 – Civil rights activist Alton Lemon dies near Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, aged 84. Lemon was the lead plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case Lemon v Kurtzman, which found public funding of private school salaries unconstitutional. (The ruling gave birth to the “Lemon Test,” a guideline for determing whether a piece of legislation violates the separation of church and state.) Lemon described himself as an “ethical humanist,” and served as the first African-American leader of the Philadelphia Ethical Society.

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