FYI May 04, 2021

On This Day

1919 – May Fourth Movement: Student demonstrations take place in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, protesting the Treaty of Versailles, which transferred Chinese territory to Japan.
The May Fourth Movement was a Chinese anti-imperialist, cultural, and political movement which grew out of student protests in Beijing on 4 May 1919.

In retaliation to the Chinese government’s weak response to the Treaty of Versailles, students protested against the government’s decision to allow Japan to retain territories in Shandong that had been surrendered by Germany after the Siege of Tsingtao in 1914. The demonstrations sparked nation-wide protests and spurred an upsurge in Chinese nationalism, a shift towards political mobilization, a shift away from cultural activities, a move towards a populist base and a move away from traditional intellectual and political elites.

The May Fourth Movement was an anti-feudal movement in the form of an interweaving of new and old ideas, and was carried out step by step, not overnight. As Wesleyan University professor Vera Schwarcz, said: “At the beginning of the May Fourth Movement, self-styled ‘new youths’ still saw themselves in terms of a traditional modal”.[1] Many radical, political, and social leaders of the next five decades emerged at this time. In a broader sense, the term “May Fourth Movement” is sometimes used to refer to the period during 1915–1921 more often called the “New Culture Movement”.



Born On This Day

1916 – Jane Jacobs, American-Canadian journalist, author, and activist (d. 2006)
Jane Jacobs OC OOnt (née Butzner; May 4, 1916 – April 25, 2006) was an American-Canadian journalist, author, theorist, and activist who influenced urban studies, sociology, and economics. Her book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), argued that “urban renewal” and “slum clearance” did not respect the needs of city-dwellers.[2][3]

Jacobs organized grassroots efforts to protect neighborhoods from “urban renewal” and “slum clearance”, in particular, plans by Robert Moses to overhaul her own Greenwich Village neighborhood. She was instrumental in the eventual cancellation of the Lower Manhattan Expressway,[4] which would have passed directly through an area of Manhattan that later became known as SoHo, as well as part of Little Italy and Chinatown.[5] She was arrested in 1968 for inciting a crowd at a public hearing on that project.[6] After moving to Toronto in 1968, she joined the opposition to the Spadina Expressway and the associated network of expressways in Toronto that were planned and under construction.[7][8]

As a woman and a writer who criticized experts in the male-dominated field of urban planning,[9][10] Jacobs endured scorn from established figures.[who?] Routinely, she was described first as a housewife,[11] as she did not have a college degree or any formal training in urban planning; as a result, her lack of credentials was seized upon as grounds for criticism,[12][13] however, the influence of her concepts eventually was acknowledged by highly respected professionals.[citation needed]


1916 – Richard Proenneke, American soldier, carpenter, and meteorologist (d. 2003)
Richard Louis Proenneke (/ˈprɛnəkiː/; May 4, 1916 – April 20, 2003) was an American self-educated naturalist, conservationist, writer, and wildlife photographer who, from the age of about 53, lived alone for nearly thirty years (1969–1999) in the mountains of Alaska in a log cabin that he constructed by hand near the shore of Twin Lakes. Proenneke hunted, fished, raised and gathered his own food, and also had supplies flown in occasionally. He documented his activities in journals and on film, and also recorded valuable meteorological and natural data.[1][2] The journals and film were later used by others to write books and produce documentaries about his time in the wilderness.

Proenneke bequeathed his cabin to the National Park Service upon his death and it was included in the National Register of Historic Places four years later. The cabin is a popular attraction of Lake Clark National Park.



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