Today in History: November 26
Casablanca Conference at Casablanca, French Morocco, Africa,
U.S. Army Signal Corps,
Prints & Photographs Online Catalog
The film Casablanca opened in New York City on November 26, 1942, as Allied Expeditionary Forces (AEF) secured their hold on North Africa during World War II. Casablanca, Morocco's chief port city, was the setting of the film.
In the film, the hero Rick Blaine settles in Casablanca after fighting fascism in Spain. When his former lover, Ilsa, arrives at his café with her French Resistance-leader husband, Rick helps them escape. By film's end, Rick and Ilsa take leave of each other to serve a greater good—freedom from fascism.
During "Operation Torch"—the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942—Casablanca was bombarded under the command of General Dwight Eisenhower. The city served as the site of the Casablanca Conference from January 14-24, 1943. Attended by U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and French Resistance leaders Charles de Gaulle and Henri Giraud, the Allied leadership developed a unified military strategy and decided that Germany, Italy, and Japan must surrender unconditionally. Russian leader Joseph Stalin declined to attend the conference.
Just as the Allied invasion of Casablanca advanced box office sales of the film Casablanca, so did the movie reinforce the war effort by underscoring the value of freedom and the importance of personal sacrifice. As Variety noted on December 2, 1942, "Casablanca will take the b.o.'s [box offices] of America just as swiftly and certainly as the AEF took North Africa." Casablanca's national release was scheduled to coincide with the Casablanca Conference.
Casablanca was nominated for eight Academy Awards. It won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Direction, and Best Screenplay of 1943. In 1989, Casablanca was placed on the National Film Registry of the National Film Preservation Board.
- The Library of Congress preserves films deemed "culturally, historically, or esthetically important." through the National Film Preservation Board. Each year, the board adds twenty-five films to the National Film Registry. View a list of films selected to the National Film Registry.
- Learn more about the media and World War II. See Women Come to the Front: Journalists, Photographers, and Broadcasters During World War II. This online exhibition showcases eight women who reported on World War II from a variety of locations and perspectives.
- To find out what happened when the Marx Brothers wanted to make their own film entitled Casablanca. Read "Gala Launches Bicentennial" in the October 1997 Library of Congress Information Bulletin.
- View images of the U. S. before and during World War II. Browse the subject index of America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA and OWI, ca. 1935-1945 on World War. Photographers produced over 1,600 color photographs during the latter days of the FSA-OWI project many depicting the war effort on the home front.
But we'll have our rights; see if we don't: and you can't stop us from them; see if you can. You may hiss as much as you like, but it is comin'.
Sojourner Truth, Address to the Woman's Rights Convention, Broadway Tabernacle, New York, September 7, 1853
Proceedings of the Woman's Rights Convention.
Votes for Women: Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, 1848-1921
Preacher, abolitionist, and women's rights advocate Sojourner Truth died in Battle Creek, Michigan on November 26, 1883. The date of Truth's birth is uncertain, but around 1797 she was born a slave called "Isabella" in Ulster, New York. Bought and sold four times, she escaped slavery in 1826 when her owner failed to fulfill his promise to free her before the date mandated by New York law.
Nearly twenty years later, she shed the name, Isabella Van Wagener, and adopted the moniker Sojourner Truth. A prophet and sojourning minister, she spoke out against sin and slavery. Encouraged by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, she added the cause of women's rights to her agenda. Today, Truth is most famous for her speech "Ain't I A Woman." She attacked the idea of the "weaker sex" reportedly saying,
I have plowed, I have planted and I have gathered into barns. And no man could head me. And ain't I a woman? I could work as much, and eat as much as man—when I could get it—and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne children and seen most of them sold into slavery, and when I cried out with a mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me. And ain't I a woman?
"Ain't I A Woman,"
Address to 1851 Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio.
A. Lincoln Showing Sojourner Truth the Bible Presented by Colored People of Baltimore, Executive Mansion, Washington, D.C., October 29, 1864.
By Popular Demand: Portraits of the Presidents and First Ladies, 1789-Present
When the Civil War began, Truth organized supplies for black volunteer troops. In 1864, President Lincoln received her at the White House. That same year, she advised former slaves on behalf of the National Freedmen's Relief Association. She continued to offer advice in the 1870s, encouraging African Americans to migrate to the western states of Kansas and Missouri.
Truth managed to reunite with most of her children. Three daughters joined her in Battle Creek, Michigan where she settled in the 1850s. When she died at age eighty-six, her funeral at the Congregational Church was thought to be the largest ever seen in that city.
- Votes for Women: Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, 1848-1921, a collection of papers from the National American Woman Suffrage Association, contains the text of two Truth speeches: an 1853 address to the Woman's Rights Convention at the Broadway Tabernacle Church in New York; and, an 1867 address to the first anniversary meeting of the American Equal Rights Association. One Hundred Years toward Suffrage provides an introduction to this collection and to the women's movement.
- Find more material documenting the struggle to end slavery. Search the collection African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A. P. Murray Collection, 1818-1907 on abolition.
- Read Today in History features on the Amistad Mutiny and abolitionists Eli Parrish Lovejoy, Lucretia Mott, and John Brown.