FYI February 06, 2020

On This Day

1694 – The warrior queen Dandara, leader of the runaway slaves in Quilombo dos Palmares, Brazil, is captured and commits suicide rather than be returned to a life of slavery.[4][5]

Dandara was an Afro-Brazilian warrior of the colonial period of Brazil and was part of the Quilombo dos Palmares, a settlement of Afro-Brazilian people who freed themselves from enslavement, in the present-day state of Alagoas, Brazil.[1] After being arrested on February 6, 1694, she committed suicide, refusing to return to a life of slavery. She is a mysterious figure today, because not much is known about her life. Most of the stories about her are varied and disconnected.[2]. She and her husband Zumbi dos Palmares, the last king of the Quilombo dos Palmares had three children.

Personality and abilities
Described as a hero, Dandara dominated the techniques of capoeira and fought many battles alongside men and women to defend Palmares, the place where escaped slaves would go to live safely. Palmares was established in the 17th century in the Serra da Barriga, in the state of Alagoas, because it was difficult to access the area due to its dense vegetation.

It is unknown if she was born in Brazil or in Africa. When she was a young girl, she joined a group of Afro-Brazilians to fight against slavery in Brazil. She helped create strategies to protect Palmares. Dandara was known as a fighter, but she also had interests in hunting and agriculture. She planted corn, mandioca, beans, sweet potatoes, sugar cane, and bananas.

The people of Palmares, known as Palmarinos, produced tools for agriculture and weapons for war. They also worked with wood, ceramics, and metals. Initially, all of the activities and work of the Palmarinos was to create their self-sustaining community, but some did trades with villages and mills in the region.

Attacks to Palmares became frequent starting in 1630, with the Dutch invasion in Brazil. According to the stories regarding Dandara, she had an important role in making her husband cut ties with his uncle Ganga-Zumba, who was the first big chief of Quilombo dos Palmares. In 1678, Ganga-Zumba signed a peace treaty with the government of the state of Permambuco. The treaty stated that people of Palmares who had been arrested were to be released. Also, all those born in Palmares were to be free people, not slaves, and they were granted permission to engage in commerce. However, in exchange, the people of Palmares had to stop giving refuge to any new runaway slaves and hand over to the Portuguese authorities any such runaways seeking shelter. Dandara and Zumbi dos Palmares are said to have opposed the deal because it did not end slavery, and in fact made Palmares complicit in its perpetuation. Ganga-Zumba was killed by one of the Palmarinos who opposed his proposal.

The indie game Dandara, developed by Long Hat House and published by Raw Fury, is inspired by Dandara’s history.[3][4]


Born On This Day

1913 – Mary Leakey, English-Kenyan archaeologist and anthropologist (d. 1996)
Mary Douglas Leakey, FBA (née Nicol, 6 February 1913 – 9 December 1996) was a British paleoanthropologist who discovered the first fossilised Proconsul skull, an extinct ape which is now believed to be ancestral to humans. She also discovered the robust Zinjanthropus skull at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, eastern Africa. For much of her career she worked with her husband, Louis Leakey, at Olduvai Gorge, where they uncovered fossils of ancient hominines and the earliest hominins, as well as the stone tools produced by the latter group. Mary Leakey developed a system for classifying the stone tools found at Olduvai. She discovered the Laetoli footprints, and at the Laetoli site she discovered hominin fossils that were more than 3.75 million years old.

During her career, Leakey discovered fifteen new species of animal. She also brought about the naming of a new genus.

In 1972, after the death of her husband, Leakey became director of excavations at Olduvai. She maintained the Leakey family tradition of palaeoanthropology by training her son, Richard, in the field.




Kirk Douglas (born Issur Danielovitch; December 9, 1916 – February 5, 2020) was an American actor, producer, director, philanthropist and author. After an impoverished childhood with immigrant parents and six sisters, he made his film debut in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) with Barbara Stanwyck. Douglas soon developed into a leading box-office star throughout the 1950s, known for serious dramas, including westerns and war films. During his career, he appeared in more than 90 films. Douglas was known for his explosive acting style, which he displayed as a criminal defense attorney in Town Without Pity (1961).

Douglas became an international star through positive reception for his leading role as an unscrupulous boxing hero in Champion (1949), which brought him his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. His other early films include Young Man with a Horn (1950), playing opposite Lauren Bacall and Doris Day, Ace in the Hole opposite Jan Sterling (1951), and Detective Story (1951), for which he received a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actor in a Drama. He received a second Oscar nomination for his dramatic role in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), opposite Lana Turner, and his third nomination for portraying Vincent van Gogh in Lust for Life (1956), which landed him a second Golden Globe nomination.

In 1955, he established Bryna Productions, which began producing films as varied as Paths of Glory (1957) and Spartacus (1960). In those two films, he collaborated with the then-relatively-unknown director Stanley Kubrick, taking lead roles in both films. Douglas has been praised for helping to break the Hollywood blacklist by having Dalton Trumbo write Spartacus with an official on-screen credit.[2] He produced and starred in Lonely Are the Brave (1962), considered a classic, and Seven Days in May (1964), opposite Burt Lancaster, with whom he made seven films. In 1963, he starred in the Broadway play One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a story that he purchased and later gave to his son Michael Douglas, who turned it into an Oscar-winning film.

As an actor and philanthropist, Douglas received three Academy Award nominations, an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. As an author, he wrote ten novels and memoirs. He is No. 17 on the American Film Institute’s list of the greatest male screen legends of classic Hollywood cinema, the highest-ranked living person on the list until his death. After barely surviving a helicopter crash in 1991 and then suffering a stroke in 1996, he focused on renewing his spiritual and religious life. He lived with his second wife (of 65 years), Anne Buydens, a producer, until his death on February 5, 2020, at age 103. A centenarian, he was one of the last surviving stars of the film industry’s Golden Age.[3]



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