On this date in 1727 Johann Sebastian Back premiered his St Matthew Passion at St Thomas Church in Leipzig. In 1876 the Elks Lodge fraternal organization began. And in 1881 Spelman College was founded in Atlanta as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary, an institute of higher education for African American women.

There were some good turning points on this date: American armed forces liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp (1945); the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichman began in Israel (1961) – he was hanged for his crimes a year later; President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, prohibiting discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race (1968); and Ugandan dictator Idi Amin was deposed (1979).

This was the birthdate for Charles Evans Hughes (1862), who served as the 11th Supreme Court Chief Justice and separately as the 44th US Secretary of State – and ran unsuccessfully for President. It is also the birthdate of Viola Liuzzo (1925) who was shot and killed by Klansman while aiding the Freedom Riders. And it was also the birthday of Ethel Kennedy(1928) wife of later assassinated Senator and presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy, who was a strong philanthropic figure.

In 1890 the famous “elephant man” Joseph Merrick ceased his lifelong struggle and in 1906 circus man James Anthony Bailey, who partnered with PT Barnum, left the Big Top for the last time. We also said goodbye to the noted American botanist Luther Burbank (1926), controversial author Kurt Vonnegut (2007, Slaughterhouse 5), and comedian Johnathan Winters (2013).