Alan Paton wrote Cry, the Beloved Country about his native country, South Africa, in 1946. In the 60 plus years since, it has become a classic. When I was an undergraduate at Duke in the 1970’s, this book was required reading in a class that I did not have to take. In preparation for a trip to South Africa this month, I recently read it for the first time.
In 1796, the last full year of George Washington’s presidency, the citizens of the United States honored their first president by celebrating his birthday, February 22nd. From the celebration in 1796 sprung a tradition of honoring President Washington by celebrating his birthday. By the early 1800s, wealthy Americans were celebrating Washington’s birthday with lavish parties and receptions; the average American commemorated the holiday by gathering with friends for picnics or a couple of drinks at the local bar.