Five People Born on February 4

rosa_parks-150x150Today is February 4, 2010 and the 35th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar.  There are 330 days left in the year 2010. According the Mayan calendar, there are 1051 days till the end of the current cycle.  On this date in 1861, the Confederate States of America were formed when six states broke away from the Union in Montgomery, AL.    Here are five people that share a birthday on this day:

number1Rosa Parks (1913-2005)
Born Rosa Louise McCauley in Tuskegee, Alabama, this unlikely woman was to become the icon of the Civil Rights movement. Her refusal to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus spurred on a city-wide boycott and helped launch nation-wide efforts to end segregation of public facilities.  The Montgomery, Alabama city code required that all public transportation be segregated and that bus drivers had the “powers of a police officer of the city while in actual charge of any bus for the purposes of carrying out the provisions” of the code. While operating a bus, drivers were required to provide separate but equal accommodations for white and black passengers by assigning seats. This was accomplished with a line roughly in the middle of the bus separating white passengers in the front of the bus and African-American passengers in the back. When an African-American passenger boarded the bus, they had to get on at the front to pay their fare and then get off and re-board the bus at the back door. When the seats in the front of the bus filled up and more white passengers got on, the bus driver would move back the sign separating black and white passengers and, if necessary, ask black passengers give up their seat.  On December 1, 1955, after a long day at work at the Montgomery Fair department store, Rosa Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus for home. She took a seat in the first of several rows designated for “colored” passengers. Though the city’s bus ordinance did give drivers the authority to assign seats, it didn’t specifically give them the authority to demand a passenger to give up a seat to anyone (regardless of color). However, Montgomery bus drivers had adopted the custom of requiring black passengers to give up their seats to white passengers, when no other seats were available. If the black passenger protested, the bus driver had the authority to refuse service and could call the police to have them removed.  She refused and the police arrested her.  Rosa Parks received many accolades during her lifetime including the Spingarn Medal, the NAACP’s highest award. She also received the Martin Luther King Jr. Award. On September 9, 1996 President Bill Clinton awarded Rosa Parks the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given by the U.S. executive branch. The next year, she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award given by the U.S. legislative branch. In 1999, Time magazine named Rosa Parks one of the 20 most influential people of the 20th century.  She died, quietly, in her apartment in 2005 at the age of 92.

number2George A. Romero (Born 1940)
American director, born George Andrew Romero in New York City. Romero was passionate about filmmaking from an early age. After attending Carnegie-Mellon University, he worked in the industrial film business making commercials and shorts. In 1968, he released his first full-length feature, a horror film called Night of the Living Dead. Shot in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, the low-budget film soon reached cult status. Romero subsequently turned it into a trilogy with 1978’s Dawn of the Living Dead and 1985’s Day of the Dead.  Known for mobilizing tiny budgets to create unforgettable scare flicks, Romero also directed Creepshow (1980), Martin (1978) and the TV show Tales From the Darkside (1984-1986). Though the success of his Dead trilogy afforded him bigger budgets and higher profile actors, Romero failed to attain the same level of success later in his career.

number3Oscar De La Hoya (Born 1973)
American professional boxer born in Los Angeles, California.  His parents were immigrants from Mexico prior to his birth.  Boxing was a common thread in De La Hoya’s family: his grandfather was an amateur fighter in the 1940s, while his father boxed professionally in the 1960s. Oscar himself began boxing at the age of six. His idol was the Olympic gold medalist Sugar Ray Leonard, who became a celebrity after the 1976 Summer Olympics before going professional; Leonard became the first boxer to win titles in five divisions, from welter to light heavyweight.  With the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, fast approaching, De La Hoya made the U.S. Olympic team. After an upset victory in the first round over the Cuban boxer Julio Gonzalez, De La Hoya defeated Marco Rudolph of Germany to win gold and become the only U.S. boxer to take home a medal from Barcelona. De La Hoya turned professional after the 1992 Olympics, winning his first pro fight in a first-round knockout of Lamar Williams in Inglewood, California, on November 23, 1992. He compiled an extremely successful record during his first year as a pro, and on March 5, 1994, won his first professional title, the junior lightweight championship of the World Boxing Organization (WBO), with a technical knockout (TKO) of Danish fighter Jimmi Bredahl in the tenth round of the fight. Four months later, De La Hoya captured the WBO lightweight title as well, knocking out Jorge Paez in the second round.  His good looks and undeniable talent made De La Hoya a hit with fans and the media from the beginning of his career. Outside the ring, he became the best-known boxer in America, earning respect from many for his charity and community service efforts including a nonprofit foundation and a youth boxing center in his old East Los Angeles neighborhood. In 2000, De La Hoya released his first album, in both English and Spanish, on the EMI/Latin label. Entitled Oscar, the album topped Latin dance charts and a single ‘Ven a Mi,’ was nominated for a Grammy Award.  De La Hoya has been preparing himself for a life after boxing. Already established as a boxing promoter, De La Hoya expanded his business in 2006. He announced a new real estate venture called Golden Boy Partners, which will build retail, commercial, and residential developments in urban Latino communities.

number4Charles Lindberg (1902-1974)
Pilot, inventor, and writer born in Detroit, Michigan.  Lindbergh became famous for making the first solo transatlantic airplane flight in 1927.  Lindbergh studied mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin before leaving school to pursue his interest in flight. He went to Lincoln, Nebraska, where he made his first solo flight in 1923. Lindbergh became a barnstormer, or daredevil pilot, performing at fairs and other events. He enlisted with the U.S. Army in 1924 and trained as an Army Air Service Reserve pilot. He later worked as an airmail pilot, flying back and forth between St. Louis and Chicago. There was a prize of $25 000 offered by hotel owner Raymond Orteig to the first pilot to make the journey from New York to Paris without making any stops. Lindbergh wanted to win this challenge and enlisted the support of some St. Louis businessmen. Several others had tried and failed, but this didn’t deter him. Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, New York, on May 20, 1927. Flying a monoplane named Spirit of St Louis, he crossed the Atlantic Ocean. Lindbergh landed at Le Bourguet Field near Paris after 33.5 hours in the air. During his groundbreaking trip, he had traveled more than 3,600 miles. Upon his arrival, Lindbergh was welcomed by more than 100,000 people who came to see aviation history in the making. After his daring feat, large crowds enthusiastically greeted wherever he went. Lindbergh received many prestigious honors, including the Distinguished Flying Cross medal from President Calvin Coolidge.  After his success, he became a public speaker, married and moved his family to a home in Hopewell, New Jersey. The couple started a family with the birth of their first child, Charles Augustus, Jr. At only 20 months old, the boy was kidnapped from their home in 1932. The crime made headlines around the world. The Lindberghs paid the $50,000 ransom, but sadly their son’s dead body was found in the nearby woods weeks later. The police traced the ransom money to Bruno Hauptmann, a carpenter with a criminal record, and arrested him for the crime. To compound Lindbergh’s grief, the ensuing trial of his son’s accused killer became a media frenzy. Hauptmann was convicted and later executed in 1936.  As World War Two loomed, Lindberg was certain the German Air Force was unstoppable.  He joined a group known as America First Organization, which advocated the United States remain neutral to war in Europe.  Many felt that he was a Nazi sympathizer, yet he joined the U.S. war effort with full support after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.  After the war, Lindbergh wrote several books, including Of Flight and Life (1948) and The Spirit of St. Louis (1953), which won the 1954 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography. He also lobbied for environmental preservation. In his later years, he and his wife moved to the Hawaiian island of Maui.  Despite any personal controversies, Lindbergh is credited with helping to usher in the age of commercial aviation. His incredible acts of courage continue to inspire others. His grandson, Erik Lindbergh, recreated the flight that made his grandfather famous in 2002.

number5Clint Black (Born 1962)
Country singer-songwriter born in Long Branch, New Jersey and raised in Houston, Texas.  Influenced by  many early country singers, Black was playing acoustic guitar and singing by age 15. After dropping out of high school, he worked days as a fishing guide and ironworker while singing in local bars at night.  In 1987, Black met Z.Z. Top manager Bill Ham. Within six months, Ham had succeeded in signing Black with RCA. Black’s debut album Killin’ Time (1989) stayed at No. 1 on the country album charts for 28 weeks. Thanks in large part to its four No. 1 singles, “Better Man,” “Killin’ Time,” “Nobody’s Home,” and “Walkin’ Away,” the album was certified triple-platinum. After a second successful album in 1990, Put Yourself in My Shoes, Black was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1991.  After the release of The Hard Way in 1992 and No Time to Kill in 1993, Black tried his hand at acting, appearing in television’s Wings and the film Maverick in 1994. He released One Emotion in 1994, his Greatest Hits in 1996, Nothin’ But the Taillights in 1997, and D’Lectrified in 1999.  In October 1991, Black married former Knots Landing star Lisa Hartman, also a singer. The couple was nominated for a Grammy Award in early 2000 for their collaboration, “When I Said I Do,” which hit No. 1 on the country charts.