On this day in 1861, Texas becomes the seventh state to secede from the Union when a state convention votes 166 to 8 in favor of the measure. The Texans who voted to leave the Union did so over the objections of their governor, Sam Houston. A staunch Unionist, Houston's election in 1859 as governor seemed to indicate that Texas did not share the rising secessionist sentiments of the other Southern states. However, events swayed many Texans to the secessionist cause. John Brown's raid on the federal armory at Harper's Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), in October 1859 had raised the specter of a major slave insurrection, and the ascendant Republican Party made many Texans uneasy about continuing in the Union. After Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency in November 1860, pressure mounted on Houston to call a convention so that Texas could consider secession. He did so reluctantly in January 1861, and sat in silence on February 1 as the convention voted overwhelmingly in favor of secession. Houston grumbled that Texans were "stilling the voice of reason," and he predicted an "ignoble defeat" for the South. Houston refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy and was replaced in March 1861 by his lieutenant governor.
Charlie Chaplin historian JeTamme Derouet provides some interesting background info for this photo and describes the pair meeting in Hollywood during one of Miss Keller's speaking tours:
"They spent most of the day off alone together and they smiled and laughed a lot like they had their own private world, just walking the studio lot and talking privately together. (The picture seen here) is of her holding her hand to his mouth to feel what he is saying as he speaks to her."
To paraphrase Derouet on Chaplin's interest in sign language:
"Chaplin had worked with several deaf people throughout his career in an effort to improve his own pantomime communication skills and traveled with deaf artist Granville Redmond, who taught Charlie sign language and fingerspelling. He was also a great supporter of the deaf during a time when most people in America were trying to abolish sign language all together."
Ridiculously good guy Chaplin was a ridiculously good guy.