Brooklyn Today for Jan. 26

Good morning. Today is the 26th day of the year. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle for Jan. 26, 1860, reported on the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher’s latest sermon at Plymouth Church (now Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims) in Brooklyn Heights. Beecher, a strong opponent of slavery, talked about the complicity of the country’s church denominations in the “peculiar institution.” There were, he said, 213,000 slaves owned by ministers and members of the Methodist Church; 77,000 owned by ministers and members of the Presbyterian Church; 125,000 owned by ministers and members of the Baptist Church, and so forth.

Well-known people who were born today include comedienne Ellen DeGeneres, Hall of Fame hockey player Wayne Gretzky, singer-musician Andrew Ridgeley of Wham!, guitarist Eddie Van Halen of the rock group Van Halen, political activist Angela Davis, singer Anita Baker and cartoonist-writer Jules Feiffer.