July 24 is the birthdate of John Henry Newton. He was pressed into the Royal Navy in his youth and later became a slave ship captain. In 1748 he had a religious epiphany at sea and eventually became a minister, hymn-writer and abolitionist. He authored many hymns, including "Amazing Grace" (lyrics composed in 1772), which reflected his long spiritual struggle. The hymn achieved obscurity in Britain but became popular in the U.S. after 1800 during the Second Great Awakening (Christian revivals). Its modern popularity owes much to singer/activists Mahalia Jackson, Joan Baez and Judy Collins.