Monday, April 9

Happy birthday to us!

Addy and her parents have moved to a boarding house. There Addy meets an inspiring friend, M'dear. Like many people who grew up enslaved, Addy doesn't know when she was born, so M'dear urges Addy to claim a day for her birthday. Then M'dear falls ill. When Addy goes out to get medicine, she faces prejudice--and danger. M'dear helps Addy overcome her anger and gives her a deeper understanding of freedom. When Addy finally claims a birthday, it is a special day indeed, and the whole city celebrates.

The date Addy Walker and I chose? April 9 - the end of the Civil War.

Now that was a day to celebrate, even if no one sang "Happy Birthday to You" to either of us.

"Happy Birthday to You," also known more simply as "Happy Birthday," is a song that is traditionally sung to celebrate the anniversary of a person's birth.

According to the 1998 Guinness Book of World Records, "Happy Birthday to You" is the most recognized song in the English language, followed by "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." The song's base lyrics have been translated into at least 18 languages.

The melody of "Happy Birthday to You" comes from the song "Good Morning to All," which was written and composed by American siblings Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill in 1893. The combination of melody and lyrics in "Happy Birthday to You" first appeared in print in 1912, and probably existed even earlier. None of these early appearances included credits or copyright notices.

The Summy Company registered for copyright in 1935, crediting authors Preston Ware Orem and Mrs. R.R. Forman. In 1990, Warner Chappell purchased the company owning the copyright for $15 million, with the value of "Happy Birthday" estimated at $5 million. Based on the 1935 copyright registration, Warner claims that the United States copyright will not expire until 2030, and that unauthorized public performances of the song are technically illegal unless royalties are paid to it.

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