Tag Archives: February 21

The New Yorker Debuts

Eustace-TilleyOn February 21, 1925, The New Yorker debuted with its first issue. The New Yorker is an American magazine which includes serious reportage, social commentary, essays, satire, fiction works, poetry, and essays. Though mostly centered around the life of New Yorkers, the magazine has a broad international fanbase and because it is produced weekly, it is known for its highly topical covers and commentary on American popular culture.

The magazine was founded by Harold Ross and his wife, New York Times reporter Jane Grant. Tired of the “corny” content which filled other humorous publications at the time, Ross strove to create something sophisticated, yet entertaining. The magazine started out as a glorified society column centering around life in New York featuring a now famous dandy gentleman staring at a butterfly through a monocle on the cover. The dandy man on the cover, later given the name ‘Eustace Tilley,’ was drawn by The New Yorker‘s first art director, Rea Irvin.

NY168 - Seaside Cafe.graffleTilley’s appearance on the first cover was meant to be a joke, but confused readers did not know what to make of it or the magazine at first. Was it supposed to be an accurate portrayal of The New Yorker readers? And if so, what did it mean? Are readers cosmopolitan individuals closely studying life’s small beauties? Or are they haughty beings only concerned with their own existence? The perplexing first cover image seemed to mirror the likewise befuddling content inside. Filled with gossip and writing targeted at in-the-know Manhattanites, those involved in the beginning soon decided a broader scope should be the natural evolution of the new publication.

Still holding on to its humorous roots, The New Yorker gradually established a base for serious fiction writers and journalists to publish their work. After World War II came to an end, the magazine began to print short stories, poems, essays, and other contemplative and stimulating writing by some of the 20th and 21st centuries’ most renowned writers. Such famed names as Haruki MurakamiVladimir NabokovJohn O’HaraPhilip RothJ. D. SalingerIrwin ShawJames ThurberJohn Updike, and E. B. White have appeared with bylines in the publication.

The New Yorker’s circulation is now well over one million, and its audience is made up mostly well-educated and liberal-minded individuals who seek the detailed coverage and commentary of Americana the magazine provides. Its combination of journalism and creative pieces as well as reviews and art has made The New Yorker one of the most revered magazines in the world.

Sources: The New YorkerBritannica.com, Wikipedia

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Malcolm X Assassinated

The assassination of African American Muslim minister and civil rights activist Malcolm X took place on February 21, 1965.

Malcolm X was born as Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska on May 19, 1925. His family suffered severe harassment from white supremacist groups who were threatened by his father Earl’s civil rights activism. Constant threats from groups like the Ku Klux Klan caused the Little family to move to East Lansing, Michigan.

Shortly after moving to Michigan, Malcolm’s father was killed. It is speculated that he was murdered by white supremacists, but no investigation was ever opened. Unable to deal with her husband’s death, Malcolm’s mother was committed to a mental institution while her eight children spread out over several orphanages and foster homes.

Even though he excelled in school, Malcolm dropped out at the age of 15 after a teacher told him that there was no point in pursuing his education because of his race. He moved toBoston,Massachusettsto live with his sister and turned to a life of crime. Malcolm was sent to prison in 1946 to serve a 10-year sentence for larceny.

While incarcerated, Malcolm read the teachings of Elijah Muhammad and converted to the Nation of Islam. He decided to drop his last name “Little” and adopted the surname “X” as homage to his unknown black ancestors. Upon his release, Malcolm’s charismatic nature and commanding presence led him to become the spokesperson for the Nation of Islam and Elijah Muhammad’s right hand man.

The teachings of the Nation of Islam differed from the civil rights movement in that it emphasized complete separation of the races and change through violence rather than peaceful integration. In 1964, Malcolm became disenchanted with the Nation of Islam and decided to convert to Sunni Islam after making the Muslim pilgrimage toMecca.

After his trip, Malcolm was more positive about the civil rights movement than ever and sought to collaborate with other civil rights leaders for constructive change. On February 21, 1965 he was supposed to give a speech at the Audubon Ballroom inManhattanbut was shot several times at point blank range. At the age of 39, he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Malcolm X will always be remembered as one of the most influential African Americans in history, and a charismatic civil rights figure that was taken too soon.

Sources: Biography, Wikipedia

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