Freethought of the Day

Would you like to start your day on a freethought note? "Freethought of the Day" is a daily freethought calendar brought to you courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, highlighting birthdates, quotes, and other historic tidbits.

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There are 2 entries for this date: Frederick Douglass and Teller
Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

This date is traditionally celebrated as the birthday of Frederick Douglass (née Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey). Born as a slave in Maryland in 1818, he was to become a renowned abolitionist, editor and feminist. Escaping from slavery at age 20, he renamed himself Frederick Douglass and became an abolition agent. Douglass traveled widely, often at personal peril, to lecture against slavery. His first of three autobiographies, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, was published in 1845. In 1847 he moved to Rochester, New York, and began publishing a weekly newspaper, North Star. Douglass was the only man to speak in favor of Elizabeth Cady Stanton's controversial plank of woman suffrage at the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848. As a signer of the Declaration of Sentiments, Douglass also promoted woman suffrage in his North Star. Douglass and Stanton remained lifelong friends. In 1870 Douglass launched The New National Era out of Washington, D.C. He was nominated for vice-president by the Equal Rights Party to run with Victoria Woodhull as presidential candidate in 1872. He became US marshall of the District of Columbia in 1877, and was later appointed minister resident and consul-general to Haiti. His District of Columbia home is a national historic site. D. 1895.

“I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.”

—Frederick Douglass, Autobiography

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Teller

Teller

On this date in 1948, Teller was born Raymond Joseph Teller in Philadelphia, Pa. (Teller changed his name legally to his stage moniker, “Teller,” and has a U.S. passport issued with a single name.) Teller graduated Amherst College in 1969 and taught English and Latin in New Jersey before leaving to work as a magician in 1974. Teller and fellow magician Penn Jillette have been collaborators since 1975, at first as two of three members of The Asparagus Valley Cultural Society. Since 1981, the two have performed exclusively as Penn & Teller. Teller is the “silent” half of the duo, performing stunts and magic tricks while Penn talks. He is so well known for his silence that video of him speaking is considered a novelty. According to an older version of Penn & Teller’s website, Teller began performing silently at fraternity parties because he found it was the best way to get party attendees to actually pay attention to his magic tricks.

Since 2001, Penn & Teller have performed their magic act at the Rio in Las Vegas, although they do occasionally continue to tour. In addition, they have appeared in several television specials as well as having created, produced and starred in two television shows, “Penn & Teller: Bullshit!” which aired on Showtime from 2003 to 2010, and “Penn & Teller Tell A Lie,” which aired on the Discovery Channel beginning in 2011. “Bullshit!” focused on challenging and debunking beliefs that are not questioned by those who hold them, including many religious views. “Penn & Teller Tell A Lie” focuses on portraying several true but astonishing facts as well as one urban legend. (The lies were revealed at the end of the season.) Teller describes himself as a skeptic and atheist, and is a fellow of the libertarian Cato Institute. He has collaborated with Teller and others to write books about magic, and has written a biography of his father, “When I’m Dead, All This Will Be Yours!” Joe Teller: A Portrait by His Kid (2000). In 2003, Penn & Teller were awarded FFRF’s Emperor Has No Clothes Award by mail.

“It's fair to say that the Bible contains equal amounts of fact, history, and pizza.” 

—“The Bible: Fact or Fiction?” Season 2, Episode 6 of “Penn & Teller: Bullshit!” May 26, 2004

Compiled by Eleanor Wroblewski

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Freethought of the Day

Would you like to start your day on a freethought note? "Freethought of the Day" is a daily freethought calendar brought to you courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, highlighting birthdates, quotes, and other historic tidbits.

If you would like to be placed on the "Daily Freethought" e-mail list to automatically receive the calendar notice, log in and edit your email settings (My Membership). Or, email  and include your first and last name with your request for verification purposes. This email service is limited to members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation or subscribers to Freethought Today. To become an FFRF member, click here.


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