OTD in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. pens his Letter from Birmingham Jail while incarcerated in Birmingham, Alabama for protesting against segregation. The letter defends the strategy of nonviolent resistance to racism. It says that people have a moral responsibility to break unjust laws & to take direct action rather than waiting potentially forever for justice to come through the courts. Responding to being referred to as an ‘outsider’, King writes, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.

This landmark missive from one of the greatest activists in history calls for direct, non-violent resistance in the fight against … More

Born OTD in 1802, Victor Hugo. Hugo was at the forefront of the Romantic literary movement & many of his works have inspired music, both during his lifetime & after his death, including the musicals Notre-Dame de Paris & Les Misérables. He produced more than 4,000 drawings in his lifetime, & campaigned for social causes such as the abolition of capital punishment. Though a committed royalist when he was young, Hugo’s views changed as the decades passed, & he became a passionate supporter of republicanism; his work touches upon most of the political & social issues & the artistic trends of his time. Hugo began planning a major novel about social misery & injustice as early as the 1830s, but a full 17 years were needed for Les Misérables to be realised and finally published in 1862.

Victor Hugo’s tale of injustice, heroism and love follows the fortunes of Jean Valjean, an escaped convict determined to put … More