FYI May 30, 2020

On This Day

1381 – Beginning of the Peasants’ Revolt in England.
The Peasants’ Revolt, also named Wat Tyler’s Rebellion or the Great Rising, was a major uprising across large parts of England in 1381. The revolt had various causes, including the socio-economic and political tensions generated by the Black Death in the 1340s, the high taxes resulting from the conflict with France during the Hundred Years’ War, and instability within the local leadership of London. The final trigger for the revolt was the intervention of a royal official, John Bampton, in Essex on 30 May 1381. His attempts to collect unpaid poll taxes in Brentwood ended in a violent confrontation, which rapidly spread across the south-east of the country. A wide spectrum of rural society, including many local artisans and village officials, rose up in protest, burning court records and opening the local gaols. The rebels sought a reduction in taxation, an end to the system of unfree labour known as serfdom, and the removal of the King’s senior officials and law courts.

Inspired by the sermons of the radical cleric John Ball and led by Wat Tyler, a contingent of Kentish rebels advanced on London. They were met at Blackheath by representatives of the royal government, who unsuccessfully attempted to persuade them to return home. King Richard II, then aged 14, retreated to the safety of the Tower of London, but most of the royal forces were abroad or in northern England. On 13 June, the rebels entered London and, joined by many local townsfolk, attacked the gaols, destroyed the Savoy Palace, set fire to law books and buildings in the Temple, and killed anyone associated with the royal government. The following day, Richard met the rebels at Mile End and acceded to most of their demands, including the abolition of serfdom. Meanwhile, rebels entered the Tower of London, killing the Lord Chancellor and the Lord High Treasurer, whom they found inside.

On 15 June, Richard left the city to meet Tyler and the rebels at Smithfield. Violence broke out, and Richard’s party killed Tyler. Richard defused the tense situation long enough for London’s mayor, William Walworth, to gather a militia from the city and disperse the rebel forces. Richard immediately began to re-establish order in London and rescinded his previous grants to the rebels. The revolt had also spread into East Anglia, where the University of Cambridge was attacked and many royal officials were killed. Unrest continued until the intervention of Henry Despenser, who defeated a rebel army at the Battle of North Walsham on 25 or 26 June. Troubles extended north to York, Beverley and Scarborough, and as far west as Bridgwater in Somerset. Richard mobilised 4,000 soldiers to restore order. Most of the rebel leaders were tracked down and executed; by November, at least 1,500 rebels had been killed.

The Peasants’ Revolt has been widely studied by academics. Late 19th-century historians used a range of sources from contemporary chroniclers to assemble an account of the uprising, and these were supplemented in the 20th century by research using court records and local archives. Interpretations of the revolt have shifted over the years. It was once seen as a defining moment in English history, but modern academics are less certain of its impact on subsequent social and economic history. The revolt heavily influenced the course of the Hundred Years’ War, by deterring later Parliaments from raising additional taxes to pay for military campaigns in France. The revolt has been widely used in socialist literature, including by the author William Morris, and remains a potent political symbol for the political left, informing the arguments surrounding the introduction of the Community Charge in the United Kingdom during the 1980s.



Born On This Day

1912 – Millicent Selsam, American author and academic (d. 1996)
Millicent Ellis Selsam (1912–1996) was an American children’s author.

Selsam was born May 30, 1912, in New York City. She became interested in biology during her high school years. She took this interest to college when she studied biology at Brooklyn College. She was then offered a fellowship teaching at Columbia University while completing an M.A. in botany.[1]

After receiving her M.A., Selsam taught high school science before deciding to write science discovery books for children in 1946.[2] Her first book was Egg to Chick. After that her work found outlets at Harper & Row, Morrow, Macmillan, Doubleday and Walker, among other publishers.[3] For some years she taught biology at Brooklyn College and in New York City high schools.

Selsam wrote over a hundred children’s books and was married to the philosopher Howard Selsam.[4] During her career, she was the recipient of many awards, including the 1965 Thomas Alva Edison Mass Media Award for best children’s science book, Biography of an Atom.[4]

Personal life and death

Selsam married Howard Selsam. They had one child, Robert.[4]

She died age 84 on October 12, 1996.[4]




By Jay Croft, CNN: Killer Mike urges Atlanta protesters ‘not to burn your own house down’ in emotional plea

“I am the son of an Atlanta police officer,” said the rapper and activist, who was joined at a press conference by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Police Chief Erika Shields and fellow Atlanta rap star T.I. “My cousin is an Atlanta city police officer. And my other cousin an East Point police officer.”
Excellent speech!
By Nate Scott, USA Today: Watch Killer Mike give stirring speech on protests after killing of George Floyd
By Brendan Hessee, Life Hacker: How to Schedule Tweets on Twitter’s Website

By Josh Jones, Open Culture: Read the CIA’s Simple Sabotage Field Manual: A Timeless Guide to Subverting Any Organization with “Purposeful Stupidity” (1944)

By Darius Foroux, Pocket Worthy: 25 Illustrated Ideas That Could Change Your Life Be nice, don’t judge, learn every day, and take more risks!

By Lucas Reilly, Mental Floss: Why Alaska Is Home to America’s Easternmost Point Breaking down a geographical technicality.
By Lucas Reilly, Mental Floss: Robert Smalls: The Slave Who Stole a Confederate Warship and Became a Congressman To save his family—and himself—Robert Smalls had to do something drastic. His bravery made him a folk hero.
The Awesomer: The Globular Springtail; The 8×6 Workshop; Star Wars: The Radio Drama and more ->




Taste of Home: 100 Restaurant Copycat Recipes
By Lisa Kaminski, Taste of Home: The Bread Recipe You Should Make Based on Your Zodiac Sign
By Jesse Szewczyk, The Kitchn: Ovenly’s Internet-Famous Peanut Butter Cookies Are 100% Worth the Hype
A Taste of Alaska: Blackberry Cobbler