So This Is The New Year.

by Joe Thomas


“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” – T.S. Eliot

A new year.

2012 was a good year for me. I finally feel like I’m accomplishing things, building toward a future. It’s a refreshing feeling after treading water for so long. 2012 was a healthier year; I lost around 45 pounds, which has helped me be more active and made me feel better about myself. Fall semester saw me earn a 3.5 GPA for the first time since early high school, mainly because I changed majors to English & Professional Communications. So aside from a few hiccups along the way, 2012 looked like a sea change year for JT.

At the beginning of each new year, I try to think of things I need to improve on and things I’ve been doing well that I want to continue. I hesitate to call them “new years resolutions”, because I think it’s important to do this on a more regular basis than once a year. I generally do it at the beginning of the year, beginning of the summer, and the start of the fall semester. This year, I want to continue doing well in school, continue improving my health, work on developing my personal relationships, manage my finances better, and work on using my creativity more often and in new ways.

Fifty years ago, all during 1963, Americans fought and died throughout the south working for equal rights and the end of segregation. One hundred years before that, the United States was in the midst of a war against itself, waged to grant freedom to citizens of this country who had never before tasted it. As we move into 2013, Americans continue to struggle with the great experiment known as democracy. We continue to work to become more free, more fair… a more perfect union. We still fight every day for our rights; our right to a fair wage, our right to marry whomever we want, our right to own a firearm, our right to control our bodies, our right to vote, our right to organize. As we move forward through 2013 and continue to have these conversations, we must remember the lessons of 1963 and 1863.

Here are some more big 50, 100, and 150 year anniversaries coming up this year:

50 years ago, on 14 January 1963The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath was published by William Heinemann Ltd. in London.  Published under a pseudonym, the author’s identity was not revealed until weeks after her death.

50 years ago, on 22 January 1963, an English translation of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch by Alyeksandr Solzhenitsyn was published in the United States.

50 years ago, on 29 January 1963, Robert Frost died in Boston at the age of 88.

50 years ago, on 4 March 1963, William Carlos Williams died in Rutherford, New Jersey at the age of 79.

100 years ago, on 6 March 1913, the word “jazz” appeared for the first time in print, in the San Francisco Bulletin, as a synonym for pep.

50 years ago, on 18 March 1963, in the case of Gideon v. Wainwright, the US Supreme Court ruled that states must provide an attorney to all criminal defendants who can not afford one.

50 years ago, on 28 March 1963The Birds, a film by Alfred Hitchcock, was released in the United States

100 years ago, on 29 March 1913, Igor Stravinsky (30) completed The Rite of Spring in Paris.

100 years ago, on 5 April 1913, Danish physicist Niels Bohr dated his article “On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules.”  In it he described the quantized atom.

50 years ago, on 29 April 1963, the US Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in courtrooms.

50 years ago, on 3 May 1963, fire hoses and attack dogs were used to disperse civil rights marchers in Birmingham, Alabama.  Demonstrators remained non-violent until a state policeman drove into the crowd.  Blacks responded with rocks and bottles followed by rioting.  450 people were arrested.

50 years ago, on 11 June 1963, accompanied by Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach and surrounded by 150 state troopers and an equal number of journalists, Vivian Juanita Malone and James Alexander Hood attempted to register as the first black students at the University of Alabama.  Governor George Wallace stood in the door of the registration auditorium and prevented their entrance.  At this, President Kennedy signed an order nationalizing the Alabama National Guard who arrived on campus and respectfully carried the President’s demand that the Governor adhere to the federal court order.  At this, Governor Wallace left without incident and the students were registered.  In the evening, President Kennedy made a televised nationwide speech pleading for an end to racial discrimination.

50 years ago, on 12 June 1963, a few hours after President Kennedy addressed the nation on the subject of civil rights, NAACP organizer Medgar Evers was shot and killed in front of his Jackson, Mississippi home.

50 years ago, on 13 June 1963, municipal swimming pools were desegregated in Atlanta without incident.

50 years ago, on 16 June 1963, an agreement between the South Vietnamese government and the country’s Buddhists was signed.  Thousands of Buddhists rioted as they tried to attend the funeral of Quang Duc who killed himself on 11 June.  Police fired tear gas and warning shots.  One person was killed, five injured, 30 arrested.

50 years ago, on 17 June 1963, the US Supreme Court ruled that recitation of the Bible in public schools violated the First Amendment to the Constitution.

150 years ago, on 20 June 1863, West Virginia became the 35th state of the United States.

50 years ago, on 20 June 1963, John Sturges’ film The Great Escape was shown for the first time, in London.

150 years ago, on 3 July 1863, after an artillery duel lasting one hour, 13,000 Confederates attacked the Union center on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg.  They were repulsed with heavy losses.  In the largest battle ever fought in the Western Hemisphere, 7,058 people were killed, 33,264 wounded, and 10,790 were missing (many of these prisoners).

50 years ago, on 10 July 1963, the day after local black leader Hosea Williams was arrested, blacks rioted in Savannah.  Crowds were dispersed by police using tear gas.  After this, anyone seen demonstrating in the city was arrested on sight.

50 years ago, on 5 August 1963, a limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was signed in Moscow by the foreign ministers of the United States, Great Britain, and the USSR.  It banned nuclear tests in the atmosphere, under water, and in outer space.

100 years ago, on 25 August 1913, Leo Frank, manager of a pencil factory in Atlanta, was convicted of murdering Mary Phagan, a 14-year-old worker at the factory.  The case attracted national attention and was fueled by hysterical anti-Semitism.  The next day he was sentenced to death.

50 years ago, on 28 August 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a March on Washington by 200,000 people, demonstrating demands for human rights for all Americans.  They met at the Washington Monument and marched to the Lincoln Memorial to be addressed by Dr. King who made the most famous speech of his life.  Protest leaders also met with President Kennedy at the White House.

50 years ago, on 30 August 1963, the “Hot Line”, a direct communications link between Moscow and Washington, went into operation.

50 years ago, on 10 September 1963, President Kennedy nationalized the Alabama National Guard.  Those troops on guard to prevent desegregation of schools were ordered back to their barracks.  Black students entered previously all-white schools in Birmingham, Mobile, and Tuskegee.  The only incident was at West End High School in Birmingham where white students demonstrated and walked out of school.

50 years ago, on 15 September 1963, a bomb exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, Alabama during Sunday services.  Four black girls were killed, one blinded.  14 people were injured.  Black citizens erupted in violence.  State troopers were dispatched led by an admitted Ku Klux Klan sympathizer.  Two black children were killed later in the day.

100 years ago, on 10 October 1913, President Wilson pressed a button in the White House and Gamboa Dike was blown up, thus completing the Panama Canal.

100 years ago, on 16 October 1913Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw was first performed, in Vienna.

150 years ago, on 26 October 1863, the Football Association of England was formed by eleven clubs from the London area, beginning the standardization of football.

150 years ago, on 19 November 1863, the military cemetery at Gettysburg was dedicated in a ceremony before 15,000 people.  After a two-hour oration by Edward Everett, President Lincoln gave a “little speech.”

50 years ago, on 22 November 1963, United States President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was shot twice in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald (firing from a sixth floor window) as he rode through the city in an open car.  He was pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital and was succeeded by Lyndon Baines Johnson.  Also wounded in the attack was Texas Governor John Connally.  Oswald was arrested.

50 years ago, on 22 November 1863, Aldous Huxley died of cancer in Los Angeles at the age of 69.

50 years ago, on 24 November 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused murderer of President John Kennedy, was shot to death by Jack Ruby, a restaurant owner, in Dallas.  Oswald was being transferred from the city jail to county jail when Ruby burst from a group of reporters and fired point blank into Oswald’s side.  He died later in surgery at Parkland Hospital.

100 years ago, on 1 December 1913, the first continuous, moving assembly line was put into operation by the Ford Motor Company in Highland Park, Michigan.  A new automobile was finished every two-and-a-half minutes.

100 years ago, on 21 December 1913, the first crossword puzzle was published in the New York World.

100 years ago, on 23 December 1913, with President Wilson’s signature, the Federal Reserve Bank was created in the United States.  Twelve regional banks were set up.

Happy 2013 y’all, let’s hope it’s a good one.