March 25, 2021

#ThrowbackThursday – 25 March

From a week-long honeymoon spent in bed, to the tragic end of a marriage made in heaven, here are five events that went down in history on 25 March:

1811 – Oxford Expels Future Famous Poet

Over two hundred years ago, an 18-year-old student named Percy Bysshe Shelly was expelled from Oxford University alongside his friend, Thomas Jefferson Hogg.

This is because the duo refused to deny or confirm authorship of a 13-page pamphlet titled “The Necessity of Atheism”, which they had published and distributed all over the university. They even sent copies of the controversial pamphlet to bishops, professors, and heads of the college.

Needless to say, Shelley and Hogg were identified as the authors, and were promptly dismissed from the prestigious institution. The former went on to become one of England’s most famous poets, while the latter became a barrister.

1939 – “Hillbilly Hits” Makes its Debut

To showcase the very best of country music – or “hillbilly” music, as it was crudely dubbed in the United States of America – “Billboard Magazine” released its own monthly rankings for this particular genre.

The “Hillbilly Hits” showcased a wide range of country music from Jimmy Rodgers, Roy Acuff, Jenny Lou Carson, and Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith among others who would influence the likes of Elvis Presley, Ray Charles and Dolly Parton.

It was only in 1949 that “Hillbilly Hits” was rebranded as “Hot Country Singles”, which sounded less crude and offensive – no doubt that country musicians were glad about this change!

1965 – The March to Montgomery

After five days of marching from Selma, Alabama, Martin Luther King led thousands of non-violent protesters to the state capital of Montgomery. Here, local African Americans, students and church people had been campaigning for voting rights.

Speaking to the assembled crowd, King said: “The end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man.”

Five months later, the US government passed the Voting Rights Act, which banned racially discriminatory voting practices used to prevent African Americans from exercising their right to vote.

1969 – A Bed-In for Peace

At the height of the Vietnam War and the Cold War, musicians John Lennon and Yoko Ono got married on 20 March. Five days later, they invited members of the press to their honeymoon suite at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

There, the newlyweds were found in bed … but not in the way the press thought.

Sitting upright and dressed in all-white, buttoned-up pyjamas – with signs that read “Bed Peace” and “Hair Peace” on the window behind them – Lennon and Ono staged their week-long “bed-in”, during which they intended to protest against global warfare and promote peace.

2005 – “Brennifer” is No More

Fans’ hearts broke completely when one half of Hollywood’s most powerful and successful couple filed for divorce.

After seven years of being together (a rarity in Tinseltown for married couples to last that long), actress Jennifer Aniston – who had been separated from actor Brad Pitt for two months at that point – made the filing, citing irreconcilable differences.

They finalised the divorce in October, and went their separate ways afterwards – Pitt embarked on an 11-year romance with actress Angelina Jolie, while Aniston married screenwriter Justin Theroux in 2011.

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