Between April 1, 1947, and Sept. 30, 1950, VA doctors lobotomized 1,464 veterans at 50 hospitals authorized to perform the surgery, according to agency documents rediscovered by the [Wall Street] Journal. Scores of records from 22 of those hospitals list another 466 lobotomies performed outside that time period, bringing the total documented operations to 1,930. Gaps in the records suggest that hundreds of additional operations likely took place at other VA facilities. The vast majority of the patients were men, although some female veterans underwent VA lobotomies, as well.
(via Lobotomy For World War II Veterans: Psychiatric Care by U.S. Government - WSJ.com)
Mary “Mother” Harris Jones
Mary Harris Jones was over fifty years old before she began her career as a labor organizer. She was born in Ireland, but her family was forced to emigrate because they rebelled against British rule. While living in the northeast, she completed school, became a teacher, and married an iron moulder. From her husband, George E. Jones, she learned how workers were struggling against abuses by unscrupulous employers. Two tragic events changed her from a bystander to a fighter for the rights of labor. In 1867 Mary Jones lost her husband and four children in a yellow fever epidemic. And as she was rebuilding her life in Chicago four years later, her successful dressmaking business was destroyed in the famous Chicago fire. Destitute and alone, Mary Jones strongly identified with working people who had no protection against low wages, long hours, and dangerous working conditions. Owners often used blacklists and violence to intimidate workers and prevent unionism. “Mother” Jones, as she came to be called, was neither frightened nor discouraged. She fearlessly began to organize both men and women to fight for their rights. A fiery and electrifying speaker, “Mother” Jones specialized in creating a public outcry over the inhuman treatment of workers. She once put together a caravan of children on a march to dramatize the evils of child labor. Her most famous efforts were attempts to organize the miners of West Virginia and Colorado. Scorning jail, deportation to other states, and threats on her life, “Mother” Jones became an enemy of the wealthy business owners. Well into her eighties, she continued to agitate and actively assist in the struggle to unionize streetcar, garment, and steel workers. Unique as a woman in the predominately male labor movement, “Mother” Mary Harris Jones became a symbol of labor’s insistence on its right to decent treatment and wages.
(via Mary “Mother” Harris Jones - National Womens Hall of Fame)
Martin Luther King studied Thoreau and Gandhi and put their ideas to work in the United States, while in 1952 the African National Congress and the young Nelson Mandela were collaborating with the South African Indian Congress on civil disobedience campaigns. You wish you could write Thoreau a letter about all this. He had no way of knowing that what he planted would still be bearing fruit 151 years after his death. But the past doesn’t need us. The past guides us; the future needs us.
Equipped with a surplus U.S. Army ambulance he had converted into a darkroom and sleeping quarters and emblazoned with National Geographic Photo-Survey Vehicle in English, Hindi and Urdu, Volkmar K. Wentzel traveled the length and breadth of the Indian subcontinent at a pivotal time in its history: its independence from Britain.
Volkmar K. Wentzel / National Geographic/Taschen
(via National Geographic’s ‘Around the World in 125 Years’ - The Washington Post)