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Tucked away in the northeast corner of a popular London park sits a small site where freedom of speech reigns supreme.

Since 1872, the ordinary and extraordinary have gathered in the unspectacular concrete cove in Hyde Park known as Speakers' Corner to declare their views on an array of topics, many controversial. Everything from Brexit and the Iraq War to gender equality and veganism have been up for lively and spirited speeches and debates.

Men the likes of Marcus Garvey, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, and George Orwell have taken a turn at Speakers' Corner, but most days you'll find people decidedly less notorious who just want to be heard.


A man at Speakers' Corner in 2002. Photo by Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images.

Despite its serene setting, the origins of Speakers' Corner is little messier.

The location itself may have macabre origins. Hyde Park was once the spot of the Tyburn Gallows, installed in 1196. Onlookers would buy seats to watch the executions. Before people were put to death, they were allowed to make one final speech.

In 1783, the gallows were dismantled and executions were moved to the prison, but speeches and protests in Hyde Park continued. Police frequently attempted to stop the demonstrations, but the people of London continued to use the space to assemble and protest. Close to 100 years later, in 1872, Parliament set aside this particular section of the park for public oration.

Speakers' Corner in 1923. Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images.

For 144 years, Speakers' Corner has hosted a steady stream of lively orators.

Through their words and photos, you can see some incredible history unfold.

1. If you were passionate and well-spoken, it was easy to draw a crowd at Speakers' Corner, especially before the advent of TV.

A man addressing the crowd at Speakers' Corner in 1933. Photo by J. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images.

2. Some speakers essentially became local celebrities, like Charlie in the 1920s.

Photo by J. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images.

3. Religious speakers and proselytizers have always been common.

A speaker lectures on "Christianity Astray — The Bible Truth" in 1933. Photo by J. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images.

4. Including rising political leaders of all stripes.

Here, a young Aneurin Bevan speaks to the crowd on May Day 1936. Bevan would go on to spearhead the creation of the National Health Service.

Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images.

Now, you may be thinking: 'Hey, wait a second, where are all the women and people of color?'

Great question. They have a place in Speakers' Corner history too.

5. Because free speech was celebrated and encouraged, people of color had the opportunity to speak out on issues too.

Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Women, children, and families took center stage to stand up for their beliefs too.

6. This woman used her time in front of the crowd to sing a powerful hymn.

Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images.

7. And when these women marched for equal rights, their journey started at Speakers' Corner, quite literally.

Their march to No. 10 Downing Street began near the same spot where suffragettes gathered decades prior.

Members of the National Women's  Movement, marched from Speakers' Corner to No. 10 Downing Street to celebrate International Women's Day in 1971. Photo by Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

8. Hundreds of children marched to Speakers' Corner during a school strike in 1972.

Photo by Steve Wood/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

9. And single-parent families demanded equality in 1975.

Photo by Angela Deane-Drummond/Evening Standard/Getty Images.

10. Even with the rise of blogs, social media, and independent publishing, Speakers' Corner remains a popular place to share strongly held opinions.

Anarchists rallied at Speakers' Corner in 2009 ahead of the G-20 summit. Photo by Bruno Vincent/AFP/Getty Images.

11. Or, at the very least, a place to share the benefits of a vegan lifestyle.

Yep, that's Heather Mills. She brought a truck and a weird ad campaign to Speakers' Corner.

Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images.

Whether or not you agree with the speakers' words or causes, Speakers' Corner is a celebration of free speech and assembly.

No avatars or pen names to hide behind. Speakers literally stand up for what they believe in. And regardless of whether their opinions jibe with yours, it's a powerful remnant from an era long gone.

Photo by General Photographic Agency/Getty Images.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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