The list of famous lefties inevitably goes back deep into history, to Charlemagne or Leonardo da Vinci. But it was only in the last few decades that being left-handed ceased to be a real problem for many people, and instead became something that could be celebrated.
As TIME explained in 1969, “southpaws, gallock-handers, chickie paws and scrammies” were seen as sinister—literally, since the word means “left”—for centuries. “In the Middle Ages, for instance, the left-hander lived in danger of being accused of practicing witchcraft,” the article explained. “The Devil himself was considered a southpaw, and he and other evil spirits were always conjured up by left-handed gestures.”
One possible reason that aura of suspicion may have changed, TIME suggested, was a lot less complicated than anything having to do with evil spirits. It was just a matter of simple economics. At the time, lefties had few options in terms…
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