March 9th in history:
On March 9th, 1965, more than two thousand civil rights demonstrators led by Martin Luther King Jr. marched to the Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama for the second time in three days. State troopers had physically attacked marchers on March 7th, to keep them from crossing the bridge on a trek from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery. The March 9th demonstration ended with the group turning back at the bridge because of a court order blocking the march. The full march to Montgomery was permitted later that month.
The “original” Martin Luther earned a bachelor’s degree in Bible studies on this date in 1508, a year after becoming a Catholic priest. Five years later, on March 9th, 1513, the pope who would eventually excommunicate Luther was elected. Giovanni de Medici took the papal name Leo X.
The shout “Attaboy, Luther!” is a running joke in the Don Knotts comedy “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken,” written by Jim Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum. Fritzell was only 59 when he died on this date in 1979. He and Greenbaum worked as a writing team for decades, contributing to many popular TV series including “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Mister Peepers,” “Sanford and Son,” and “M*A*S*H.”
December 1 in history:
Henry Ford introduced the first moving assembly line for making cars on this date in 1913. The assembly line process allowed Ford workers to put together a Model T in just over two hours.
The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, includes a city bus from Montgomery, Alabama which was the scene of a historic protest on December 1st, 1955. Forty-two-year-old Rosa Parks was arrested while riding on that bus, for disobeying a law requiring black passengers to move to seats in the back of a bus if there were white passengers waiting to sit down in the front. A year-long boycott of the Montgomery bus system began after her arrest, which led to an ordinance ending segregation on that city’s buses. Parks became a revered figure in the civil rights movement because of the protest, as did a boycott organizer named Martin Luther King Jr.
Comedian Chris Rock has called Richard Pryor “the Rosa Parks of comedy,” for taking risks that would break ground for future performers. Pryor turned 15 on the day of the Parks arrest.
Early in his career, Pryor occasionally opened for Woody Allen, who served as a mentor to him. Allen went from being a TV joke-writer to a successful stand-up comic, and eventually a movie actor, writer, and director, best known for the 1977 Oscar winner “Annie Hall.” Woody was born December 1st, 1935, and shares a birthday with actress and singer Bette Midler (1945), who played his wife in the Paul Mazursky film “Scenes from a Mall.” Midler’s other movies include “The Rose,” “Beaches,” and “Ruthless People,” and she has won four Grammy Awards for her records.