There will be no meeting in August do to our Rummage and Bake Sale. Please stop by and check out all the bargains and yummy baked goids.
We will see you September 3 for our next dinner and meeting night.
There will be no meeting in August do to our Rummage and Bake Sale. Please stop by and check out all the bargains and yummy baked goids.
We will see you September 3 for our next dinner and meeting night.
July 1st – Canada Day, a national holiday in Canada, formerly known as Dominion Day, commemorating the confederation of Upper and Lower Canada and some of the Maritime Provinces into the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867.
July 1, 1862 – President Abraham Lincoln signed the first income tax bill, levying a 3% income tax on annual incomes of $600-$10,000 and a 5% tax on incomes over $10,000. Also on this day, the Bureau of Internal Revenue was established by an Act of Congress.
July 1, 1863 – Beginning of the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War.
July 1, 1893 – President Grover Cleveland underwent secret cancer surgery aboard a yacht owned by his friend, Commodore E.C. Benedict. The surgery was performed on a cancerous growth in his mouth. The entire left side of his jaw was removed along with a small portion of his soft palate. A second, smaller operation was performed on July 17th. Cleveland was then fitted with a rubber prosthesis which he wore until his death in 1908. The secrecy was intended to prevent panic among the public during the economic depression of 1893.
July 2, 1776 – The Continental Congress in Philadelphia adopted the following resolution, originally introduced on June 7, by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia: “Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved. That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances. That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.”
July 2, 1788 – Congress announced the United States Constitution had been ratified by the required nine states and that a committee had been appointed to make preparations for the new American government.
July 2, 1881 – President James A. Garfield was shot and mortally wounded as he entered a railway station in Washington, D.C. He died on September 19th.
July 2, 1917 – A race riot occurred in St. Louis, Missouri, resulting in an estimated 75 African Americans killed and hundreds injured. To protest the violence against blacks, W.E.B. DuBois and James Weldon Johnson later led a silent march down Fifth Avenue in New York.
July 2, 1964 – President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race in public accommodations, publicly owned or operated facilities, employment and union membership and in voter registration. The Act allowed for cutoff of Federal funds in places where discrimination remained.
Birthday – The first African American on the U.S. Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) was born in Baltimore, Maryland. Nominated by President Johnson, he began his 24-year career on the High Court in 1967.
July 3, 1775 – During the American Revolution, George Washington took command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, Massachusetts.
July 3, 1976 – The raid on Entebbe airport in Uganda occurred as an Israeli commando unit rescued 103 hostages on a hijacked Air France airliner. The jet had been en route from Tel Aviv to Paris when it was hijacked by pro-Palestinian guerrillas. Three hostages, seven hijackers and twenty Ugandan soldiers were killed during the rescue.
July 3, 1988 – Iran Air Flight 655 was destroyed while flying over the Persian Gulf after the U.S. Navy Warship Vincennes fired two surface-to-air missiles, killing all 290 passengers aboard. A subsequent U.S. military inquiry cited stress related human failure for the mistaken identification of the civilian airbus as an enemy F-14 fighter jet.
July 4, 1776 – The Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress.
July 4, 1863- Vicksburg, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River, surrendered to General Grant and the Army of the West after a six week siege. With the Union in control of the Mississippi, the Confederacy was effectively split in two, cut off from its western allies.
July 4, 1882 – The “Last Great Buffalo Hunt” began on Indian reservation lands near Hettinger, North Dakota as 2,000 Teton Sioux Indians in full hunting regalia killed about 5,000 buffalo. By this time, most of the estimated 60-75 million buffalo in America had been killed by white hunters who usually took the hides and left the meat to rot. By 1883, the last of the free-ranging buffalo were gone.
Birthday – Novelist and short-story writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) was born in Salem, Massachusetts. His works included; The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables and The Blithedale Romance.
Birthday – Song writer Stephen Foster (1826-1864) was born in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania. Among his nearly 200 songs were; Oh! Susanna, Camptown Races, Swanee River, Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair, and Beautiful Dreamer. He died in poverty at Bellevue Hospital in New York.
Birthday – Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) the 30th U.S. President was born in Plymouth, Vermont. He became President on August 3, 1923, after the death of Warren G. Harding. In 1924, Coolidge was elected President but did not run for re-election in 1928.
July 5, 1775- The Continental Congress adopted the Olive Branch Petition expressing hope for a reconciliation with Britain. However, King George III refused even to look at the petition and instead issued a proclamation declaring the colonists to be in a state of open rebellion.
Birthday – Civil War Admiral David Farragut (1801-1870) was born near Knoxville, Tennessee. He is best remembered for his yelling “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” during an attack on his fleet by the Confederates.
Birthday – Promoter and showman P.T. Barnum (1810-1891) was born in Bethel, Connecticut. His American Museum opened in 1842, exhibiting unusual acts such as the Feejee Mermaid, Siamese Twins Chang and Eng, and General Tom Thumb. In 1871, Barnum opened “The Greatest Show on Earth” in Brooklyn, New York. He later merged with rival J.A. Bailey to form the Barnum and Bailey Circus.
Birthday – Cecil J. Rhodes (1853-1902) was born at Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, England. As a South African millionaire and politician, he was said to have once controlled 90 percent of the world’s diamond production. His will established the Rhodes Scholarships at Oxford University for young scholars aged 18-25. Rhodesia was also named for him.
July 6, 1885 – Louis Pasteur gave the first successful anti-rabies inoculation to a boy who had been bitten by an infected dog.
Birthday – Revolutionary War Naval Officer John Paul Jones (1747-1792) was born in Kirkbean, Scotland. He is best remembered for responding “I have not yet begun to fight!” to British opponents seeking his surrender during a naval battle.
July 7, 1898 – President William McKinley signed a resolution annexing Hawaii. In 1900, Congress made Hawaii an incorporated territory of the U.S., which it remained until becoming a state in 1959.
Birthday – Baseball pitcher Leroy R. (Satchel) Paige (1906-1982) was born in Mobile, Alabama. Following a career in the Negro Leagues, he became, at age 42, the first African American pitcher in the American League. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.
July 8, 1776 – The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence occurred as Colonel John Nixon read it to an assembled crowd in Philadelphia.
July 8, 1943 – During the Nazi occupation of France, Resistance leader Jean Moulin died following his arrest and subsequent torture by the Gestapo. He had been sent by the Allies into France in 1942 to unite the fledgling Underground movement. In June of 1943, he was arrested in Lyon, tortured for eleven days but betrayed no one. He died aboard a train while being transferred to a concentration camp.
Birthday – Nelson Rockefeller (1908-1979) was born in Bar Harbor, Maine. He served as Governor of New York from 1958 to 1973. He became vice-president under Gerald Ford in 1974, serving until January 20, 1977.
July 9, 1868 – The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. The Amendment defined U.S. citizenship and prohibited individual States from abridging the rights of any American citizen without due process and equal protection under the law. The Amendment also barred individuals involved in rebellion against the U.S. from holding public office.
July 10, 1943 – The Allied invasion of Italy began with an attack on the island of Sicily. The British entry into Syracuse was the first Allied success in Europe. General Dwight D. Eisenhowerlabeled the invasion “the first page in the liberation of the European Continent.”
July 10, 1973 – The Bahamas gained their independence after 250 years as a British Crown Colony.
July 10, 1991 – Boris Yeltsin took the oath of office, becoming the first popularly elected president in Russia’s thousand-year history.
Birthday – Theologian and founder of Presbyterianism, John Calvin (1509-1564) was born in Noyon, France.
Birthday – American artist James Whistler (1834-1903) was born in Lowell, Mass. He is best remembered for his portrait Whistler’s Mother.
Birthday – French author Marcel Proust (1871-1922) was born near Paris. “Happiness,” he wrote in The Past Recaptured, “is beneficial for the body but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.”
Birthday – Tennis player Arthur Ashe (1943-1993) was born in Richmond, Virginia. He won a total of 33 titles including the U.S. men’s singles championship and U.S. Open in 1968 and the men’s singles at Wimbledon in 1975. As a pioneering African American athlete, he fought against racism and stereotyping and was arrested numerous times while protesting. In 1992, he announced he had likely contracted HIV through a transfusion during heart surgery. He then began a $5 million fundraising effort on behalf of the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS and campaigned for public awareness regarding the dreaded disease. He died from pneumonia in New York, February 6, 1993.
Birthday – John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) the 6th U.S. President, and son of the 2nd President, John Adams, was born in Braintree, Massachusetts. After serving just one term as President, he served 17 years as a member of Congress. He died in 1848 while in the House of Representatives in the same room in which he had taken the presidential Oath of Office. He was the the first president whose father had also been president.
July 12, 1943 – During World War II, in the Battle of Kursk, the largest tank battle in history took place outside the small village of Prohorovka, Russia. About nine hundred Russian tanks attacked an equal number of German tanks fighting at close range. When Hitler ordered a cease-fire, 300 German tanks remained strewn over the battlefield.
July 12, 1994 – Germany’s Constitutional Court ended the ban on sending German troops to fight outside the country. The ban had been in effect since the end of World War II. The ruling allowed German troops to join in United Nations and NATO peace-keeping missions. On July 14, German military units marched in Bastille Day celebrations in Paris, the first appearance of German troops there since World War II.
Birthday – British pottery designer Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795) was born in Burslem, Staffordshire, England.
Birthday – American philosopher Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was born in Concord, Massachusetts. At Walden Pond he wrote, “I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.”
July 13, 1787 – Congress enacted the Northwest Ordinance establishing formal procedures for transforming territories into states. It provided for the eventual establishment of three to five states in the area north of the Ohio River, to be considered equal with the original 13. The Ordinance included a Bill of Rights that guaranteed freedom of religion, the right to trial by jury, public education and a ban on slavery in the Northwest.
July 14, 1789 – The fall of the Bastille occurred at the beginning of the French Revolution.
July 14, 1791 – In England, the Birmingham riot occurred on the second anniversary of the fall of the Bastille. Mob rule lasted for three days, targeting controversial scientist and theologian Joseph Priestly’s home and laboratory as well as the homes of his friends. Priestly, who had expressed support for the American and French revolutions, fled to London with his family and later moved to America.
Birthday – American folk singer and social activist Woody Guthrie (1912-1967) was born in Okemah, Oklahoma. Best known for This Land Is Your Land, Union Maid, and Hard Traveling.
Birthday – Gerald R. Ford, the 38th U.S. President was born in Omaha, Nebraska, July 14, 1913 (as Leslie King). In 1973, he was appointed vice president following the resignation of Spiro T. Agnew. He became president on August 9, 1974, following the resignation of Richard M. Nixon. He was the first non-elected vice president and non-elected president of the U.S.
July 15, 1918 – During the Battle of the Marne in World War I, German General Erich Ludendorff launched Germany’s fifth, and last, offensive to break through the Chateau-Thierry salient. However, the Germans were stopped by American, British and Italian divisions. On July 18, General Foch, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied troops, launched a massive counter-offensive. The Germans began a retreat lasting four months until they requested an armistice in November.
Birthday – Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) was born in Leiden, Holland. Best known for The Night Watch and many portraits and self portraits.
Birthday – The first American saint, Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917) was born in Lombardy, Italy. She was the founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and established Catholic schools, orphanages, convents and hospitals. She was canonized, July 7, 1946, by Pope Pius XII.
July 16, 1769 – San Diego was founded as the mission San Diego de Alcala by Father Junipero Serra.
July 16, 1945 – The experimental Atomic bomb “Fat Boy” was set off at 5:30 a.m. in the desert of New Mexico desert, creating a mushroom cloud rising 41,000 ft. The bomb emitted heat three times the temperature of the interior of the sun and wiped out all plant and animal life within a mile.
July 16, 1969 – The Apollo 11 Lunar landing mission began with a liftoff from Kennedy Space Center at 9:37 a.m.
July 16, 1999 – A small plane piloted by John F. Kennedy Jr. took off at 8:38 p.m. from Fairfield, New Jersey, heading toward Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. His wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister Lauren were passengers on the 200 mile trip. The plane was expected to arrive about 10 p.m. but disappeared off radar at 9:40 p.m. Five days later, July 21, following an extensive search, the bodies were recovered from the plane wreckage in 116 feet of water roughly 7 miles off Martha’s Vineyard. The next day, following an autopsy, the cremated remains of John F. Kennedy, 38, his wife Carolyn, 33, and her sister Lauren, 34, were scattered at sea from a U.S. Navy ship, with family members present, not far from where the plane had crashed.
Birthday – British portrait painter Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) was born in Plympton, Devon, England.
Birthday – Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910) was born near Concord, New Hampshire.
Birthday – African American journalist and anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) was born to slaves at Holly Springs, Missouri. Following the Civil War, as lynchings became prevalent, Wells traveled extensively, founding anti-lynching societies and black women’s clubs.
Birthday – Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (1872-1928) was born near Oslo. He was the first to sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean via the Northwest Passage. He discovered the South Pole in 1911 and flew over the North Pole in a dirigible in 1926. In June 1928, he flew from Norway to rescue survivors of an Italian Arctic expedition, but his plane vanished.
July 17, 1918 – In the Russian town of Ekaterinburg in Siberia, former Czar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, and their five children were brutally murdered by Bolsheviks.
July 17, 1996 – TWA Flight 800 departed Kennedy International Airport in New York bound for Paris but exploded in mid-air 12 minutes after takeoff, apparently the result of a mechanical failure. The Boeing 747 jet crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Long Island about 8:45 p.m. All 212 passengers and 17 crew members on board were killed.
Birthday – Puerto Rican patriot Luis Munoz-Rivera (1859-1916) was born in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico. He worked tirelessly to attain self-government for his homeland.
July 18, 1947 – President Harry Truman signed an Executive Order determining the line of succession if the president becomes incapacitated or dies in office. Following the vice president, the speaker of the house and president of the Senate are next in succession. This became the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified on February 10, 1967.
Birthday – American politician Samuel Hayakawa (1906-1992) was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is remembered as the college president who climbed atop a sound truck at San Francisco State College in 1968 during student protests, then disconnected the wires thus silencing the demonstrators. This made him popular among conservatives including California Gov. Ronald Reagan. Hayakawa became a Republican and was elected in 1976 to the U.S. Senate, serving just one term. In 1986, he led the successful California initiative to declare English the state’s official language.
Birthday – Nelson Mandela was born the son of a Tembu tribal chieftain on July 18, 1918, at Qunu, near Umtata, in South Africa. He became a lawyer, joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944, eventually becoming deputy national president in 1952. In 1964, he was convicted for sabotage as a result of his participation in the struggle against apartheid. He spent the next 28 years in jail, but remained a symbol of hope to South Africa’s non-white majority. Released in 1990, he was elected was elected President of South Africa in 1994 in the first election in which all races participated.
July 19-20, 1848 – A women’s rights convention was held at Seneca Falls, New York. Topics discussed included voting rights, property rights and divorce. The convention marked the beginning of an organized women’s rights movement in the U.S.
July 19, 1863 – During the American Civil War, Union troops made a second attempt to capture Fort Wagner near Charleston, South Carolina. The attack was led by the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry, commanded by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, who was killed along with half of the 600 men in the regiment. This battle marked the first use of black Union troops in the war.
Birthday – French impressionist painter Edgar Degas (1834-1917) was born in Paris. Best known for his paintings of dancers in motion.
July 20, 1715 – The Riot Act took effect in Britain. If a dozen or more persons were disturbing the peace, an authority was required to command silence and read the following, “Our sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God save the king.” Any persons who failed to obey within one hour were to be arrested.
July 20, 1954 – An agreement was signed in Geneva, Switzerland, ending hostilities between French forces in Vietnam and the People’s Army of Vietnam.
July 20, 1969 – A global audience watched on television as Apollo 11 Astronaut Neil Armstrong took his first step onto the moon. As he stepped onto the moon’s surface he proclaimed, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” – inadvertently omitting an “a” before “man” and slightly changing the meaning.
Birthday – Explorer Edmund Hillary was born in Auckland, New Zealand, July 20, 1919. In 1953, he became first to ascend Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world at 29,023 ft.
July 21, 1898 – Guam was ceded to the United States by Spain.
Birthday – Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) was born in Oak Park, Illinois. His works included; The Sun Also Rises (1926), A Farewell to Arms (1929), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) and The Old Man and the Sea (1952). Awarded the Nobel Prize in 1954, he wrote little afterward, became ill and shot himself to death on July 2, 1961.
Birthday – University professor and author Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Best known for stating, “The medium is the message,” regarding modern mass communication.
July 22, 1934 – Bank robber John Dillinger (1902-1934) was shot and killed by FBI agents as he left Chicago’s Biograph Movie Theater after watching the film Manhattan Melodrama starring Clark Gable and Myrna Loy. Dillinger was the first criminal labeled by the FBI as “Public Enemy No. 1.” After spending nine years (1924-1933) in prison, Dillinger went on a deadly crime spree, traveling through the states of Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. He was reportedly betrayed by the “Lady in Red.”
July 23, 1952 – Egyptian army officers launched a revolution changing Egypt from a monarchy to a republic.
July 24, 1943 – During World War II in Europe, the Royal Air Force conducted Operation Gomorrah, raiding Hamburg, while tossing bales of aluminum foil strips overboard to cause German radar screens to see a blizzard of false echoes. As a result, only twelve of 791 Allied bombers involved were shot down.
July 24, 1945 – At the conclusion of the Potsdam Conference in Germany, Winston Churchill, Harry Truman and China’s representatives issued a demand for unconditional Japanese surrender. The Japanese, unaware the demand was backed up by an Atomic bomb, rejected the Potsdam Declaration on July 26.
Birthday – “The Liberator” Simon Bolivar (1783-1830) was born in Caracas, Venezuela. He is known as the George Washington of South America for his efforts to liberate six nations: Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia from the rule of Spain.
Birthday – French playwright and novelist Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870) was born in Villers-Cotterets, France. His works included The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.
Birthday – American pilot Amelia Earhart (1898-1937) was born in Atchison, Kansas. She became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic and to fly solo from Hawaii to California. She perished during a flight from New Guinea to Howland Island over the Pacific Ocean on July 3, 1937.
July 25, 1898 – During the Spanish-American War, the U.S. invaded Puerto Rico, which was then a Spanish colony. In 1917, Puerto Ricans became American citizens and Puerto Rico became an unincorporated territory of the U.S. Partial self-government was granted in 1947 allowing citizens to elect their own governor. In 1951, Puerto Ricans wrote their own constitution and elected a non-voting commissioner to represent them in Washington.
July 25, 1909 – The world’s first international overseas airplane flight was achieved by Louis Bleriot in a small monoplane. After asking, “Where is England?” he took off from France and landed in England near Dover, where he was greeted by British police.
July 25, 1943 – Mussolini was deposed just two weeks after the Allied attack on Sicily. The Fascist Grand Council met for the first time since December of 1939 then took a confidence vote resulting in Mussolini being ousted from office and placed under arrest. King Victor Emmanuel of Italy then ordered Marshal Pietro Badoglio to form a new government.
July 25, 1956 – The Italian luxury liner Andrea Doria sank after colliding with the Swedish liner Stockholm on its way to New York. Nearby ships came to the rescue, saving 1,634 people, including the captain and the crew, before the ship went down.
July 26, 1944 – The U.S. Army began desegregating its training camp facilities. Black platoons were then assigned to white companies in a first step toward battlefield integration. However, the official order integrating the armed forces didn’t come until July 26, 1948, signed by President Harry Truman.
July 26, 1945 – The U.S. Cruiser Indianapolis arrived at Tinian Island in the Marianas with an unassembled Atomic bomb, met by scientists ready to complete the assembly.
July 26, 1953 – The beginning of Fidel Castro’s revolutionary “26th of July Movement.” In 1959, Castro led the rebellion that drove out dictator Fulgencio Batista. Although he once declared that Cuba would never again be ruled by a dictator, Castro’s government became a Communist dictatorship.
Birthday – Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was born in Dublin, Ireland.
July 27, 1953 – The Korean War ended with the signing of an armistice by U.S. and North Korean delegates at Panmunjom, Korea. The war had lasted just over three years.
July 28, 1932 – The Bonus March eviction in Washington, D.C., occurred as U.S. Army troops under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, Major Dwight D. Eisenhower and Major George S. Patton, attacked and burned the encampments of unemployed World War I veterans. About 15,000 veterans had marched on Washington, demanding payment of a war bonus they had been promised. After two months’ encampment in Washington’s Anacostia Flats, forced eviction of the bonus marchers by the U.S. Army was ordered by President Herbert Hoover.
July 28, 1943 – During World War II, a firestorm killed 42,000 civilians in Hamburg, Germany. The firestorm occurred after 2,326 tons of bombs and incendiaries were dropped by the Allies.
Birthday – Jackie Kennedy (1929-1994) was born in Southampton, New York (as Jacqueline Lee Bouvier). She was married to John Fitzgerald Kennedy and after his death later married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.
Birthday – Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) was born in Dovia, Italy. He ruled Italy from 1922-1943, first as prime minister and then as “Il Duce,” the absolute dictator.
July 30, 1975 – Former Teamsters Union leader James Hoffa was last seen outside a restaurant near Detroit, Michigan. His 13-year federal prison sentence had been commuted by President Richard M. Nixon in 1971. On December 8, 1982, seven years after his disappearance, an Oakland County judge declared Hoffa officially dead.
Birthday – Automotive pioneer Henry Ford (1863-1947) was born in Dearborn Township, Michigan. He developed an assembly-line production system and introduced a $5-a-day wage for automotive workers. “History is bunk,” he once said.
July 31, 1776 – During the American Revolution, Francis Salvador became the first Jew to die in the conflict. He had also been the first Jew elected to office in Colonial America, voted a member of the South Carolina Provincial Congress in January 1775.
July 31, 1790 – The U.S. Patent Office first opened its doors. The first U.S. patent was issued to Samuel Hopkins of Vermont for a new method of making pearlash and potash. The patent was signed by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
Birthday – Founder of Utah and patriarch of the Mormon church Brigham Young (1801-1877) was born in Whittingham, Vermont. Called the “American Moses,” he led thousands of religious followers across the wilderness to settle over 300 towns in the West, including Salt Lake City, Utah.
Birthday – Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) was born in Los Angeles (as Norma Jean Mortensen). Following an unstable childhood spent in foster homes and orphanages, she landed a job as a photographer’s model which led to a movie career. She later married baseball legend Joe DiMaggio. Beneath her glamorous movie star looks she was fragile and insecure and eventually succumbed to the pressures of Hollywood life. She died in Los Angeles from an overdose of sleeping pills on August 5, 1962. Best known for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Bus Stop (1956), Some Like It Hot (1959), and The Misfits (1961).
Birthday – Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) was born in Paris. He was a military leader, governor-general, and author, whose acts of extreme cruelty and violence resulted in the term sadism being created from his name to describe gratification in inflicting pain.
June 3, 1937 – The Duke of Windsor married Wallis Warfield Simpson in Monts, France. As King Edward VIII, he had abdicated the British throne in December of 1936 amid tremendous controversy to marry Simpson, an American who had been divorced. Following the wedding, the couple lived in France and had minimal contact with the British Royal family. The Duke died in Paris on May 28, 1972 and was buried near Windsor Castle in England.
June 3, 1972 – Sally Jan Priesand was ordained a rabbi thus becoming the first woman rabbi in the U.S. She then became an assistant rabbi at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York City.
June 3, 1989 – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, died. On February 1, 1979, after 15 years in exile, he had staged a triumphant return to Iran which led to the downfall of the Shah. Khomeini then reorganized the government on Islamic principles. On November 11, 1979, a group of students loyal to Khomeini seized 66 hostages in the American Embassy in Teheran after the former Shah had entered the U.S. for medical treatment. Thus, began an international political crisis lasting until January 20, 1981, when they were released.
Birthday – Confederate president Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) was born at Todd County, Kentucky. After the Southern states formed the Confederacy in 1861, he hoped to be named commander of the Confederate military forces but was instead chosen to be president, serving until 1865. Following the Civil War, he was imprisoned but never brought to trial. He died at age 81 in New Orleans.
June 4, 1944 – During World War II in Europe, Rome was liberated by the U.S. 5th Army, led by General Mark Clark. Rome had been declared an open city by German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring amid Allied concerns the Germans might stage a Stalingrad-style defense that would devastate the historic ‘Eternal’ city.
June 4, 1972 – An express train packed with more than 600 people rammed into a stalled train at full speed in the main station of Jessore, Bangladesh, killing 76 and injuring over 500 persons.
June 4, 1989 – The Chinese government ordered its troops to open fire on unarmed protesters in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The protest had started on April 16 as about 1,000 students marched to mourn the death of Hu Yaobang, a pro-reform leader within the Chinese government. Despite government warnings, pro-reform and pro-democracy demonstrations continued for a month drawing ever-larger crowds of young people, eventually totaling over a million persons. On May 13, three thousand students began an eight-day hunger strike. The government imposed martial law on May 20 and brought in troops. On June 2, in their first clash with the People’s Army, demonstrators turned back an advance of unarmed troops. However, in the pre-dawn hours of June 4, the People’s Army, using tanks, machine-guns, clubs and tear gas, opened fire on the unarmed protesters. Armored personnel carriers then rolled into the square crushing students still sleeping in their tents. The Chinese government later claimed only 300 died in the attack. U.S. estimates put the toll at over 3,000. Following the massacre, over 1,600 demonstrators were rounded up and jailed, with 27 being executed.
Birthday – King George III (1738-1820) was born. He ruled England for 60 years from 1760 to 1820 and was the British King against whom the American Revolution was directed.
June 5, 1783 – The first sustained flight occurred as a hot-air balloon was launched at Annonay, France, by brothers Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier. Their 33-foot-diameter globe aerostatique ascended about 6,000 feet. In September, they repeated the experiment for King Louis XVI, using a sheep, rooster and duck as the balloon’s passengers.
June 5, 1968 – Robert F. Kennedy was shot and mortally wounded while leaving the Hotel Ambassador in Los Angeles. The shooting occurred after a celebration of Kennedy’s victory in the California presidential primary. He died at 1:44 a.m., June 6, at age 42, leaving behind his wife Ethel and eleven children, the last one born after his death. President John F. Kennedy had named his brother and campaign manager, Robert Francis Kennedy, to the post of U.S. Attorney General in 1961. Robert served as the president’s closest confidant. After the assassination of JFK, Robert remained as Attorney General until 1964, when he resigned to make a successful run for the U.S. Senate from New York. Allied with the plight of the poor and disadvantaged in America, he spoke out against racial discrimination, economic injustice and the Vietnam War. In March of 1968, he had announced his candidacy for the presidency. And with the win in California, appeared headed for the nomination.
Birthday – Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith (1723-1790) was born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. He wrote An Enquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, published in 1776. The book described the workings of a market economy and established him as one of the most influential figures in the development of modern economic theory.
Birthday – British economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) was born in Cambridge, England. He wrote The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money in 1936, stating his ideas about government responsibility and commitment to maintaining high employment. He claimed that business investors and governments, not consumers, were the source of business cycle shifts.
June 6, 1872 – Pioneering feminist Susan B. Anthony was fined for voting in a presidential election at Rochester, New York. After voting rights had been granted to African American males by the 15th Amendment, she attempted to extend the same rights to women. She led a group of women that voted illegally, to test their status as citizens. She was arrested, tried and sentenced to pay $100, which she refused. Following her death in 1906 after five decades of tireless work, the Democratic and Republican parties both endorsed women’s right to vote. In August of 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was finally ratified, allowing women to vote.
June 6, 1944 – D-Day, the largest amphibious landing in history, began in the early-morning hours as Allied forces landed in Normandy on the northern coast of France. Operation Overlord took months of planning and involved 1,527,000 soldiers in 47 Allied divisions along with 4,400 ships and landing craft, and 11,000 aircraft. The Germans had about 60 divisions spread along France and the Low Countries. American forces landed on two western beaches, Utah and Omaha, while British and Canadian troops landed farther east on Gold, Juno and Sword beaches. By the end of the day 150,000 Allied soldiers and their accompanying vehicles had landed with 15,000 killed and wounded.
June 6, 1978 – By a vote of almost two to one, California voters approved Proposition 13, an amendment to the state constitution severely limiting property tax rates.
Birthday – American patriot Nathan Hale (1755-1776) was born in Coventry, Connecticut. During the American Revolution, he volunteered for a dangerous spy mission in Long Island and was captured by the British on the night of September 21, 1776. Brought before British General William Howe, Hale admitted he was an American officer. Howe ordered him to be hanged the following morning. As Hale mounted the gallows he uttered, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”
June 7, 1965 – The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Connecticut law banning contraception. In Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court guaranteed the right to privacy, including freedom from government intrusion into matters of birth control.
Birthday – French painter Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) was born in Paris. He worked as a stockbroker, then became a painter in middle age. He left Paris and moved to Tahiti where he developed an interest in primitive art. Among his best-known paintings; Vision After the Sermon (1888), When Shall We Be Married? (1892), Holiday (1896), and Two Tahitian Women (1899). His style using broad, flat tones and bold colors, inspired artists such as Edvard Munch, Henri Matisse, and the young Pablo Picasso.
June 8, 1874 – Apache leader Cochise died on the Chiricahua Reservation in southeastern Arizona. After a peace treaty had been broken by the U.S. Army in 1861, he waged war against settlers and soldiers, forcing them to withdraw from southern Arizona. In 1862, he became principal chief of the Apaches. He and 200 followers avoided capture by hiding in the Dragoon Mountains. In June of 1871, Army General George Crook assumed command in Arizona and managed to win the allegiance of many Apaches. Cochise then surrendered. He disappeared briefly in the spring of 1872 but returned and settled on the reservation where he died.
Birthday – American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin. He designed about 1,000 structures and is considered the most influential architect of his time. He became the leader of a style known as the Prairie School featuring houses with low-pitched roofs and extended lines that blend into the landscape. He once wrote, “No house should ever be on any hill or on anything. It should be of the hill, belonging to it, so hill and house could live together each the happier for the other.”
June 9, 1898 – The British signed a 99-year lease for Hong Kong, located on the southeastern coast of China. Hong Kong, consisting of an area measuring 400 square miles, was administered as a British Crown Colony until July 1, 1997, when its sovereignty reverted to the People’s Republic of China.
Birthday – Composer and lyricist Cole Porter (1893-1964) was born in Peru, Indiana. He published his first song The Bobolink Waltz at the age of ten. His Broadway career was launched in 1928 when five of his songs were used in the musical play Let’s Do It. Among his many contributions to the Broadway stage; Fifty Million Frenchmen, The Gay Divorcee, Anything Goes, Leave It to Me, Du Barry Was a Lady, Something for the Boys, Kiss Me Kate, Can-Can and Silk Stockings.
June 10, 1652 – In Massachusetts, silversmith John Hull opened the first mint in America, in defiance of English colonial law. The first coin issued was the Pine Tree Shilling, designed by Hull.
June 10, 1942 – In one of the most infamous single acts of World War II in Europe, all 172 men and boys over age 16 in the Czech village of Lidice were shot by Nazis in reprisal for the assassination of SS leader Reinhard Heydrich. The women were deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp where most died. Ninety young children were sent to the concentration camp at Gneisenau, with some later taken to Nazi orphanages if they were German looking. The village was then completely leveled until not a trace remained.
Birthday – African American actress Hattie McDaniel (1889-1952) was born in Wichita, Kansas. She won an Academy Award in 1940 for her role as ‘Mammy’ in Gone with the Wind.
Birthday – Judy Garland (1922-1969) was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota (as Frances Gumm). She is best remembered for her portrayal of Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz (1939) and other films including Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) and Easter Parade (1948). She became one of the most popular concert performers of the 1950s and ’60s and broke box-office records in New York City and London. She was found dead of an overdose of sleeping pills in London on June 22, 1969.
June 11, 1991 – Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted, spewing ash into the air, visible over 60 miles. The surrounding areas were covered with ash and mud created by rainstorms. Nearby U.S. military bases were also damaged.
June 11, 1994 – After 49 years, the Soviet military occupation of East Germany ended. At one time there had been 337,800 Soviet troops stationed in Germany. Over 300,000 Russians died during World War II in the Battle for Berlin.
Birthday – German composer Georg Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was born in Munich. His best-known works include; Till Eulenspiegel (1895), Also Sprach Zarathustra (1896) and Don Quixote (1898).
Birthday – American feminist and politician Jeannette Rankin (1880-1973) was born in Missoula, Montana. She was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress. She was a reformer and a pacifist and was the only member of Congress to vote against a declaration of war against Japan following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941.
Birthday – Undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau (1910-1997) was born in Ste-Andre-de-Cubzac, France. In 1943, he helped invent the first underwater breathing apparatus, called the Aqualung. He is best known for his Emmy Award winning television series, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, which premiered in the U.S. in 1968.
Birthday – American football coach Vince Lombardi (1913-1970) was born in Brooklyn, New York. In 1959, he became head coach of the Green Bay Packers, winning five NFL titles and two Super Bowls in nine seasons. He is generally regarded as the greatest coach and the finest motivator in football history. He retired in 1968 but was lured back to coach the Washington Redskins. He contracted cancer after coaching the Redskins for just one season and died September 3, 1970, in Washington, D.C.
June 12, 1898 – The Philippines declared their independence from Spain. The islands were named after King Philip II. Once freed from Spain, the islands were then invaded and occupied by U.S. forces. They became an American colony and remained so until after World War II.
June 12, 1963 – Civil rights leader Medgar Evers was assassinated in Jackson, Mississippi, by a rifle bullet from an ambush. He had been active in seeking integration of schools and voter registration for African Americans in the South. Widespread public outrage following his death led President John F. Kennedy to propose a comprehensive Civil Rights law. Evers was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Birthday – George Bush, the 41st U.S. President, was born in Milton, Massachusetts, June 12, 1924. During World War II, he became the youngest pilot in the U.S. Navy. Following the war, he co-founded a Texas oil equipment manufacturing company. He then entered politics, serving in a variety of roles including in the U.S. Congress, the United Nations, as U.S. liaison to China, C.I.A. director, and two terms as vice-president under Ronald Reagan. Elected to the presidency in 1988, President Bush is best remembered for forging a successful multinational military alliance following the invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, by Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army. However, following the defeat of Iraq, Bush was beset by domestic problems in the U.S. which resulted in a significant drop in popularity and his loss in the 1992 election to Bill Clinton.
Birthday – Anne Frank (1929-1945) was born in Frankfurt, Germany. She is perhaps the best-known victim of the Nazi Holocaust. Anne and her family moved from Germany to Amsterdam to flee Nazi persecution, then went into hiding in a small attic after Holland was invaded by Nazis. Anne, a girl on the verge of womanhood, was unable to go outside for any reason. In 1942, she began a diary to cope with the boredom, fear, annoyances, and loneliness of captivity. Her family’s hiding place was eventually discovered, and Anne and her family were deported to Nazi concentration camps. She contracted typhus and died at Bergen-Belsen in 1945. After the war, her father published her diary, which inspired the world, revealing a young woman who had managed to remain hopeful, despite it all.
June 13, 1971 – The New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers, a collection of top-secret documents exposing U.S. strategy in the Vietnam War.
June 13, 1966 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled (5-4) in the case of Miranda v. Arizona that an accused person must be apprised of certain rights before police questioning including the right to remain silent, the right to know that anything said can be used against the individual in court, and the right to have a defense attorney present during interrogation. American police officers now routinely read prisoners their ‘Miranda’ (constitutional) rights before questioning.
Birthday – Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet and dramatist William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was born in Dublin, Ireland. Among his plays; The Countess Cathleen (1892) and Cathleen ni Houlihan (1902).
Birthday – American Army General Winfield Scott (1786-1866) was born in Petersburg, Virginia. Nicknamed “Old Fuss and Feathers” because of his formality, he served in three wars; the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the American Civil War. He was also nominated for the presidency by the Whig party in 1852 but was defeated by Franklin Pierce.
June 14, 1775 – The first U.S. Military service, the Continental Army consisting of six companies of riflemen, was established by the Second Continental Congress. The next day, George Washington was appointed by a unanimous vote to command the army.
June 14, 1777 – John Adams introduced a resolution before Congress mandating a United States flag, stating, “…that the flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.” This anniversary is celebrated each year in the U.S. as Flag Day.
June 14, 1922 – Warren G. Harding became the first U.S. President to broadcast a message over the radio. The event was the dedication of the Francis Scott Key Memorial in Baltimore.
June 14, 1951 – Univac 1, the world’s first commercial electronic computer was unveiled in Philadelphia. It was installed at the Census Bureau and utilized a magnetic tape unit as a buffer memory.
Birthday – Photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White (1906-1971) was born in New York City. In 1936, she became one of four original staff photographers for Life Magazine. She was the first woman to become an accredited war correspondent during World War II. She covered the Italian campaign, the siege of Moscow and the American crossing of the Rhine into Germany. Her photographs of Nazi concentration camps stunned the world. She later photographed Mahatma Gandhi and covered the migration of millions of people after the Indian subcontinent was subdivided. She also served as a war correspondent during the Korean War. Her best-known book was a study of rural poverty in the American South, You Have Seen Their Faces (1937).
Birthday – American writer Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was born in Litchfield, Connecticut. She wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, an anti-slavery novel containing vivid descriptions of the sufferings and oppression of African Americans. The book provoked a storm of protest and inflamed people in the North against slavery in the South. The names of two characters from the novel have become part of the English language – the slave, Uncle Tom, and the villainous slave owner, Simon Legree. During the Civil War, as Harriet Beecher Stowe was introduced to President Abraham Lincoln, he reportedly said, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war.”
Birthday – American editor and compiler John Bartlett (1820-1905) was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Although he had little formal education, he created Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, one of the most-used reference works of the English language, which today contains 22,000 entries.
Birthday – German psychiatrist and pathologist Alois Alzheimer (1864-1915) was born in Markbreit am Mainz, Germany. In 1907, he published an article first describing ‘Alzheimers,’ a degenerative disease, usually beginning at age 40-60, affecting nerve cells of the brain and leading to severe memory impairment and progressive loss of mental faculties.
June 15, 1215 – King John set his seal to Magna Carta, the first charter of British liberties, guaranteeing basic rights that have since become the foundation of modern democracies around the world.
Birthday – Pianist and composer Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) was born in Bergen, Norway. He incorporated the rhythms and melodies of Norwegian folk music into his songs and instrumentals including Piano Concerto in A Minor, Peer Gynt Suite, Norwegian Peasant Dance, and Ich liebe Dich.
June 16, 1963 – Valentina Tereshkova, 26, became the first woman in space as her Soviet spacecraft, Vostok 6, took off from the Tyuratam launch site. She manually controlled the spacecraft completing 48 orbits in 71 hours before landing safely.
Birthday – Film comedian Stan Laurel (1890-1965) was born in Ulverston, England. He teamed up with Oliver Hardy as Laurel & Hardy delighting audiences for more than 30 years.
Birthday – American author and photographer John Griffin (1920-1980) was born in Dallas, Texas. He darkened his white skin using chemicals and ultraviolet light, then kept a journal on his experiences while posing as an African American traveling through the deep South. The journal was published as the book, Black Like Me.
June 17, 1972 – Following a seemingly routine burglary, five men were arrested at the National Democratic Headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. However, subsequent investigations revealed the burglars were actually agents hired by the Committee for the Re-election of President Richard Nixon. A long chain of events then followed in which the president and top aides became involved in an extensive cover-up of this and other White House sanctioned illegal activities, eventually leading to the resignation of President Nixon on August 9, 1974.
Birthday – Russian composer Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) was born near St. Petersburg. Among his best-known works, the ballets The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913), and the choral work Symphony of Psalms (1930).
June 18, 1812 – After much debate, the U.S. Senate voted 19 to 13 in favor of a declaration of war against Great Britain, prompted by Britain’s violation of America’s rights on the high seas and British incitement of Indian warfare on the Western frontier. The next day, President James Madison officially proclaimed the U.S. to be in a state of war. The War of 1812 lasted over two years and ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in Belgium on December 24, 1814.
June 18, 1815 – On the fields near Waterloo in central Belgium, 72,000 French troops, led by Napoleon, suffered a crushing military defeat from a combined Allied army of 113,000 British, Dutch, Belgian, and Prussian troops. Thus ended 23 years of warfare between France and the other powers of Europe. Napoleon was then sent into exile on the island of St. Helena off the coast of Africa. On May 5, 1821, the former vain-glorious Emperor died alone on the tiny island, abandoned by everyone.
June 18, 1983 – Dr. Sally Ride, a 32-year-old physicist and pilot, became the first American woman in space, beginning a six-day mission aboard the space shuttle Challenger, launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Birthday – British explorer George Mallory (1886-1924) was born in Mobberley, Cheshire, England. When asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, he simply answered, “Because it is there.” He disappeared while climbing through the mists toward its summit on the morning of June 8, 1924. His body, perfectly preserved due to the cold conditions, was discovered by climbers in 1999, just 600 meters (2,030 feet) from the summit.
June 19, 1953 – Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed by electrocution at Sing Sing Prison in New York. They had been found guilty of providing vital information on the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union during 1944-45. They were the first U.S. civilians to be sentenced to death for espionage and were also the only married couple ever executed together in the U.S.
Birthday – Baseball great Lou Gehrig (1903-1941) was born in New York City. He played in 2,130 consecutive games and seven World Series for the New York Yankees and had a lifetime batting average of .340. He contracted the degenerative muscle disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, now called ‘Lou Gehrig’s disease,’ and died on June 2, 1941.
June 20, 1782 – The U.S. Congress officially adopted the Great Seal of the United States of America.
Birthday – American military hero and actor Audie Murphy (1924-1971) was born in Kingston, Texas. He was the most decorated American soldier of World War II, awarded 37 medals and decorations, including the Medal of Honor for single-handedly turning back a German infantry company by climbing on a burning U.S. tank destroyer and firing its .50-cal. machine gun, killing 50 Germans. He later became an actor in western and war movies and made 45 films including; The Red Badge of Courage (1951), Destry (1954), and To Hell and Back (1955), based on his autobiography. He died May 28, 1971, in a plane crash near Roanoke, Virginia.
June 21, 1964 – Three white civil rights workers – James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner – left Meridian, Mississippi, at 9 a.m. to investigate a church burning. They were expected back by 4 p.m. When they failed to return, a search was begun. Their murdered bodies were discovered on August 4th.
Birthday – French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) was born in Paris. Dubbed the “father of existentialism,” in 1964, he rejected the Nobel Prize for Literature when it was awarded to him.
Birthday – Britain’s Prince William (William Arthur Philip Louis) was born in London, June 21, 1982.
June 22, 1918 – A Michigan Central Railroad troop train struck the rear of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus train in Ivanhoe, Indiana. Fifty-three circus performers were killed. Of the circus animals not killed, most were maimed and had to be destroyed. The performers, of whom only three could be identified, were buried in a mass grave.
June 22, 1941 – Starting at 3:15 am, some 3.2 million German soldiers plunged headlong into Russia across an 1800-mile front, in a major turning point of World War II. At 7 am that morning, a proclamation from Hitler to the German people announced, “At this moment a march is taking place that, for its extent, compares with the greatest the world has ever seen…”
June 23, 1865 – The last formal surrender of Confederate troops occurred as Cherokee leader and Confederate Brigadier General Watie surrendered his battalion comprised of American Indians in the Oklahoma Territory.
June 24, 1948 – Soviet Russia began a blockade of Berlin. Two days later the Allies responded with an emergency airlift to relieve two million isolated West Berliners. During the Berlin Airlift, American and British planes flew about 278,000 flights, delivering 2.3 million tons of food, coal and medical supplies. A plane landed in Berlin every minute from eleven Allied staging areas in West Germany. The Russians lifted their blockade of Berlin on May 12, 1949, however the airlift continued until September 30th.
June 24, 2010 – Labor Party deputy Julia Gillard became Australia’s first female Prime Minister. She was born in Wales and had moved to Australia as a child. She worked as a lawyer before entering politics.
Birthday – Boxing champ Jack Dempsey (1895-1983) was born in Manassa, Colorado. Dubbed “The Manassa Mauler,” he reigned as world heavyweight champion from 1919 to 1926. Following his boxing career, he became a successful New York restaurant operator.
June 25, 1862 – During the American Civil War, the Seven Days Campaign began as Confederate General Robert E. Lee launched a series of assaults to prevent a Union attack on Richmond, Virginia. The Campaign included battles at Oak Grove, Gaine’s Mills, Garnett’s Farm, Golding’s Farm, Savage’s Station, White Oak Swamp and Malvern Hill, resulting in over 36,000 casualties on both sides. Despite losing the final assault at Malvern Hill, the Confederates succeeded in preventing the Union Army from taking Richmond.
June 25, 1876 – General George A. Custer, leading 250 men, attacked an encampment of Sioux Indians near Little Bighorn River in Montana. Custer and his men were then attacked by 2000-4000 Indian braves. Only one scout and a single horse survived ‘Custer’s Last Stand’ on the Little Bighorn Battlefield. News of the humiliating defeat infuriated Americans and led to all-out war. Within a year, the Sioux Indians were a broken and defeated nation.
June 25, 1950 – The Korean War began as North Korean troops, led by Russian-built tanks, crossed the 38th parallel and launched a full-scale invasion of South Korea. Five days later, U.S. ground forces entered the conflict, which lasted until July 27, 1953, when an armistice was signed at Panmunjom, formally dividing the country at the 38th parallel into North and South Korea.
June 25, 1990 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled (5-4) that it was unconstitutional for any state to require, without providing other options, a minor to notify both parents before obtaining an abortion.
June 25, 1991 – Following the collapse of Soviet rule in Eastern Europe, the republics of Croatia and Slovenia declared their independence from Yugoslavia. Ethnic rivalries between Serbians and Croatians soon erupted. In 1992, fighting erupted in Bosnia-Herzegovina between Serbians and ethnic Muslims. A campaign of terrorism and genocide, termed ‘ethnic cleansing,’ was started by the Serbs against the Muslims. At least two million people became refugees, and about 200,000 were missing and presumed dead. Violence in the region raged on through 1995 despite economic sanctions and the efforts of U.N. peacekeeping forces in the area.
Birthday – British satirist George Orwell (1903-1950) was born at Montihari in Bengal (as Eric Arthur Blair). He is best known for two works of fiction Animal Farm (1944), and 1984 (1949).
June 26, 1893 – Illinois Gov. John P. Altgeld issued a controversial pardon for three anarchists convicted after the Haymarket Riot. The riot had occurred in Chicago in May of 1886, after 180 police officers advanced on 1,300 persons listening to speeches by labor activists and anarchists. A bomb was thrown. Seven police were killed and over 50 wounded. Four anarchists were then charged with conspiracy to kill, convicted and hanged while another committed suicide in jail. Three others were given lengthy jail terms, then pardoned by Gov. Altgeld in a move that likely cost him his political career.
June 26, 1945 – The United Nations Charter was signed in San Francisco by 50 nations. The Charter was ratified on October 24, 1945.
Birthday – American author Pearl Buck (1892-1973) was born in Hillsboro, West Virginia. She became a noted authority on China and wrote books including The Good Earth which revealed the mysterious Chinese culture to Western readers. She received a Nobel Prize in 1938 for her many books.
Birthday – Champion athlete Mildred “Babe” Didrikson (1914-1952) was born in Port Arthur, Texas. Nicknamed after baseball legend Babe Ruth, she won two gold medals at the 1932 Olympics, setting world records in the javelin throw and high hurdle. She then took up golf, winning the 1946 U.S. Women’s Amateur Tournament. In 1947, she won 17 straight golf championships and became the first American winner of the British Ladies’ Amateur Tournament. As a pro golfer, she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1950 and 1954. She also excelled in softball, baseball, swimming, figure skating, billiards, and even football. In 1950, she was named ‘woman athlete of the first half of the 20th century’ by the Associated Press. She died of cancer at age 42.
Birthday – American musician Mildred J. Hill (1859-1916) was born in Louisville, Kentucky. She composed the melody for what is now the world’s most often sung song, Happy Birthday to You.
June 28, 1862 – During the American Civil War, the siege of the Confederate city of Vicksburg began as Admiral David Farragut succeeded in taking a fleet past the Mississippi River stronghold. The siege continued over a year.
June 28, 1914 – Archduke Francis Ferdinand, Crown Prince of Austria and his wife were assassinated at Sarajevo, touching off a conflict between the Austro-Hungarian government and Serbia that escalated into World War I.
June 28, 1919 – The signing of the Treaty of Versailles formally ended World War I. According to the terms, Germany was assessed sole blame for the war, forced give up Alsace-Lorraine and overseas colonies, and pay reparations of $15 Billion. The treaty also prohibited German rearmament.
Birthday – Flemish painter and diplomat Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was born in Siegen, Westphalia, Germany. Regarded as the greatest of Flemish painters, he was considered the master artist of his day. He was also skilled in science and politics and spoke seven languages. Among his masterpieces; Le Coup de Lance and The Descent from the Cross.
Birthday – Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) was born in Geneva, Switzerland. His book The Social Contract stated that no laws are binding unless agreed upon by the people, a concept that deeply affected the French. In his novel Emile he challenged harsh child-rearing methods of his day and argued that young people should be given freedom to enjoy sunlight, exercise and play. “Man is born free,” he wrote in The Social Contract, “and everywhere he is in chains.”
Birthday – German American physicist Maria Goeppert Mayer (1906-1972) was born in Kattowitz, Germany. She participated in the secret Manhattan Project, the building of the first atomic bomb. She later became the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize, sharing the 1963 prize for physics for works explaining atomic nuclei, known as the nuclear shell theory.
June 29, 1972 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled (5-4) that capital punishment was a violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibiting “cruel and unusual punishment.” The decision spared the lives of 600 individuals then sitting on death row. Four years later, in another ruling, the Court reversed itself and determined the death penalty was not cruel and unusual punishment. On October 4, 1976, the ban was lifted on the death penalty in cases involving murder.
Birthday – Social worker Julia Lathrop (1858-1932) was born in Rockford, Illinois. She fought to establish child labor laws and was instrumental in establishing the first juvenile court in the U.S. In 1912, President Taft named her to head the newly created Children’s Bureau. In 1925, she became a member of the Child Welfare Committee of the League of Nations.
Birthday – American surgeon William Mayo (1861-1939) was born in LeSeuer, Minnesota. He was one of the Mayo brothers, pioneers of the concept of the group clinic, bringing together specialists from a number of medical fields to better perform diagnoses and treatment. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, became an internationally known medical center.
June 30, 1971 – The 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was enacted, granting the right to vote in all federal, state and local elections to American citizens 18 years or older. The U.S. thus gained an additional 11 million voters. The minimum voting age in most states had been 21.
June 30, 1997 – In Hong Kong, the flag of the British Crown Colony was officially lowered at midnight and replaced by a new flag representing China’s sovereignty and the official transfer of power.
May 1st – Observed as May Day, a holiday and spring festival since ancient times, also observed in socialist countries as a workers’ holiday or Labor Day.
May 1, 1707 – Great Britain was formed from a union between England and Scotland. The union included Wales which had already been part of England since the 1500’s. The United Kingdom today consists of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
May 1, 1960 – An American U-2 spy plane flying at 60,000 feet was shot down over Sverdlovsk in central Russia on the eve of a summit meeting between President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet Russia’s Premier Nikita Khrushchev. The sensational incident caused a cancellation of the meeting and heightened existing Cold War tensions. The pilot, CIA agent Francis Gary Powers, survived the crash, and was tried, convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Russian court. Two years later he was released to America in exchange for an imprisoned Soviet spy. On his return to America, Powers encountered a hostile public which apparently believed he should not have allowed himself to be captured alive. He died in a helicopter crash in 1977.
May 1, 2004 – Eight former Communist nations and two Mediterranean countries joined the European Union (EU) marking its largest-ever expansion. The new members included Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, along with the island of Malta and the Greek portion of the island of Cyprus. They joined 15 countries already in the EU, representing in all 450 million persons.
Birthday – Irish-born American labor leader Mary ‘Mother’ Jones (1830-1930) was born in County Cork, Ireland. She endured misfortune early in life as her husband and four children died in the yellow fever epidemic of 1867. She also lost all her belongings in the Chicago Fire of 1871. She then devoted herself to organizing and advancing the cause of Labor, using the slogan, “Join the Union, boys.” She also sought to prohibit child labor. She remained active until the very end, giving her last speech on her 100th birthday.
Birthday – World War II General Mark Clark (1896-1984) was born in Madison Barracks, New York. He commanded the U.S. Fifth Army which invaded Italy in September of 1943, fighting a long and brutal campaign against stubborn German opposition.
Birthday – African American Olympic athlete Archie Williams (1915-1993) was born in Oakland, California. Williams, along with Jesse Owens, defeated German athletes at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and helped debunk Adolf Hitler’s theory of Aryan racial superiority. Williams won a gold medal in the 400-meter race. After the Olympics, he went on to earn a mechanical engineering degree from the University of California-Berkeley but faced discrimination and wound up digging ditches. He later became an airplane pilot and trained Tuskegee Institute pilots including the Black Air Corp of World War II.
May 2, 2011 – U.S. Special Operations Forces killed Osama bin Laden during a raid on his secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The raid marked the culmination of a decade-long manhunt for the elusive leader of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization based in the Middle East. Bin Laden had ordered the coordinated aerial attacks of September 11th, 2001, in which four American passenger jets were hijacked then crashed, killing nearly 3,000 persons. Two jets had struck and subsequently collapsed the 110-story Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, while another struck the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C. A fourth jet also headed toward Washington had crashed into a field in Pennsylvania as passengers attempted to overpower the hijackers on board.
Birthday – Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903) was born in Carpino, Italy (as Gioacchino Pecci). He was elected Pope in 1878 at age 67 and lived to govern the church another 25 years, laying the foundation for modernization of Church attitudes toward a rapidly industrializing and changing world.
Birthday – Italian writer and statesman Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was born in Florence, Italy. He offered a blunt, realistic view of human nature and power in his works The Prince and Discourses on Livy.
Birthday – Golda Meir (1898-1978) was born in Kiev, Russia. She was one of the founders of the modern state of Israel and served as prime minister from 1969 to 1974.
May 4, 1494 – During his second journey of exploration in the New World, Christopher Columbus discovered Jamaica.
May 4, 1886 – The Haymarket Square Riot occurred in Chicago after 180 police officers advanced on 1,300 persons gathered in the square listening to speeches of labor activists and anarchists. A bomb was thrown. Seven policemen were killed and over 50 wounded. Four anarchists were then charged with conspiracy to kill, convicted and hanged while another committed suicide in jail. Three others were given lengthy jail terms.
May 4, 1970 – At Kent State University, four students – Allison Krause, 19; Sandra Lee Scheuer, 20; Jeffrey Glenn Miller, 20; and William K. Schroeder, 19 – were killed by National Guardsmen who opened fire on a crowd of 1,000 students protesting President Richard Nixon’s decision to invade Cambodia. Eleven others were wounded. The shootings set off tumultuous campus demonstrations across America resulting in the temporary closing of over 450 colleges and universities.
May 5th – Celebrated in Mexico as Cinco de Mayo, a national holiday in remembrance of the Battle of Puebla in 1862, in which Mexican troops under General Ignacio Zaragoza, outnumbered three to one, defeated the invading French forces of Napoleon III.
May 5, 1865 – Decoration Day was first observed in the U.S., with the tradition of decorating soldiers’ graves from the Civil War with flowers. The observance date was later moved to May 30th and included American graves from World War I and World War II and became better known as Memorial Day. In 1971, Congress moved Memorial Day to the last Monday in May, thus creating a three-day holiday weekend.
May 5, 1893 – The Wall Street Crash of 1893 began as stock prices fell dramatically. By the end of the year, 600 banks closed, and several big railroads were in receivership. Another 15,000 businesses went bankrupt amid 20 percent unemployment. It was the worst economic crisis in U.S. history up to that time.
May 5, 1961 – Alan Shepard became the first American in space. He piloted the spacecraft Freedom 7 during a 15-minute 28-second suborbital flight that reached an altitude of 116 miles (186 kilometers) above the earth. Shepard’s success occurred 23 days after the Russians had launched the first-ever human in space, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, during an era of intense technological competition between the Russians and Americans called the Space Race.
Birthday – Communism founder Karl Marx (1818-1883) was born in Treves, Germany. He co-authored Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto, advocating the abolition of all private property and a system in which workers own all the means of production, land, factories and machinery.
Birthday – Pioneering American journalist Nellie Bly (1867-1922) was born in Cochran’s Mills, Pennsylvania (as Elizabeth Cochrane). She was a social reformer and human rights advocate who once posed as an inmate in an insane asylum to expose inhumane conditions. She is best known for her 1889-90 tour around the world in 72 days, beating by eight days the time of Phileas Fogg, fictional hero of Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in Eighty Days.
May 6, 1527 – The Renaissance ended with the Sack of Rome by German troops as part of an ongoing conflict between the Hapsburg Empire and the French Monarchy. German troops killed over 4,000 Romans, imprisoned the Pope, and looted works of art and libraries. An entire year passed before order could be restored in Rome.
May 6, 1937 – The German airship Hindenburg burst into flames at 7:20 p.m. as it neared the mooring mast at Lakehurst, New Jersey, following a trans-Atlantic voyage. Thirty six of the 97 passengers and crew were killed. The inferno was caught on film and witnessed by a commentator who broke down amid the emotional impact and exclaimed, “Oh, the humanity!” The accident effectively ended commercial airship traffic.
Birthday – Psychoanalysis founder Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was born in Freiberg, Moravia. His theories became the foundation for treating psychiatric disorders by psychoanalysis and offered some of the first workable cures for mental disorders.
Birthday – Explorer Robert E. Peary (1856-1920) was born in Cresson, Pennsylvania. He organized and led eight Arctic expeditions and reached the North Pole on April 6, 1909. In another expedition, he proved Greenland is an island. He also proved the polar ice cap extends beyond 82° north latitude and discovered the Melville meteorite.
May 7, 1915 – The British passenger ship Lusitania was torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland, losing 1,198 of its 1,924 passengers, including 114 Americans. The attack hastened neutral America’s entry into World War I.
May 7, 1945 – In a small red brick schoolhouse in Reims, Germany, General Alfred Jodl signed the unconditional surrender of all German fighting forces thus ending World War II in Europe. Russian, American, British and French ranking officers observed the signing of the document which became effective at one-minute past midnight on May 9th. Jodl was then ushered in to see Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who curtly asked Jodl if he fully understood the document. Eisenhower then informed Jodl that he would be held personally responsible for any deviation from the terms of the surrender. Jodl was then ushered away.
May 7, 1954 – The French Indochina War ended with the fall of Dien Bien Phu, in a stunning victory by the Vietnamese over French colonial forces in northern Vietnam. The country was then in divided in half at the 17th parallel, with South Vietnam created in 1955.
May 7, 1992 – The 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, prohibiting Congress from giving itself pay raises.
Birthday – Composer Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was born in Hamburg, Germany. He composed over 300 songs and numerous orchestral, choral, piano, and chamber works, including his German Requiem commemorating the death of his mother.
Birthday – American poet Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982) was born in Glencoe, Illinois. He was awarded three Pulitzer Prizes, and was also a playwright, editor, lawyer, professor, farmer, and served as Librarian of Congress from 1939 to 1944.
May 8, 1942 – During World War II in the Pacific, the Battle of the Coral Sea began in which Japan would suffer its first defeat of the war. The battle, fought off New Guinea, marked the first time in history that two opposing naval forces fought by only using aircraft without the opposing ships ever sighting each other.
May 8, 1945 – A second German surrender ceremony was held in Berlin. Soviet Russia’s leader Josef Stalin had refused to recognize the German surrender document signed a day earlier at Reims. This time, German Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel signed the surrender document which declared, as did the first, that hostilities would end as of 12:01 a.m. on May 9th.
Birthday – International Red Cross founder and Nobel Prize winner Henri Dunant (1828-1910) was born in Geneva, Switzerland. He was also a founder of the YMCA and organized the Geneva Conventions of 1863 and 1864.
Birthday – Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) the 33rd U.S. President was born in Lamar, Missouri. He became president upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in April 1945. Two weeks after becoming president he was informed of the top-secret Atomic bomb project. In the war against Japan, an Allied invasion of Japan was being planned which would cost a minimum of 250,000 American lives. Truman then authorized the dropping of the bomb. On August 6, 1945, the first bomb exploded over Hiroshima, followed by a second bomb dropped on Nagasaki on August 9th. The next day, Japan sued for peace. Truman served as President until January of 1953. He was the last of only nine U.S. Presidents who did not attend college. His straightforward, honest, no-nonsense style earned him the nickname, “Give ’em hell, Harry.”
May 9th – Victory Day in Russia, a national holiday commemorating the defeat of Nazi Germany during the “Great Patriotic War” (World War II) honoring the 20 million Russians who died in the war.
May 9, 1862 – During the American Civil War, General David Hunter, Union commander of the Department of the South, issued orders freeing the slaves in South Carolina, Florida and Georgia. He did so without congressional or presidential approval. The orders were countermanded by President Abraham Lincoln ten days later.
Birthday – Abolitionist leader John Brown (1800-1859) was born in Torrington, Connecticut. He led an attack on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry in October of 1859, to secure weapons for his “army of emancipation” to liberate slaves. Inside the arsenal, Brown and his followers held 60 hostages and managed to hold out against the local militia but finally surrendered to U.S. Marines under the command of Colonel Robert E. Lee. Ten of Brown’s men, including two of his sons, were killed. Brown was taken prisoner. He was convicted by the Commonwealth of Virginia of treason, murder, and inciting slaves to rebellion, and hanged on December 2, 1859.
May 10, 1869 – The newly constructed tracks of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railways were first linked at Promontory Point, Utah. A golden spike was driven by Leland Stanford, president of the Central Pacific, to celebrate the linkage. It is said that he missed the spike on his first swing which brought roars of laughter from men who had driven thousands upon thousands of spikes themselves.
May 10, 1889 – A riot erupted outside the Astor Place Opera House in New York as British actor William Charles Macready performed inside. Angry crowds revolted against dress requirements for admission and against Macready’s public statements on the vulgarity of American life. The mob then shattered theater windows. Troops were called out and ordered to fire, killing 22 and wounding 26.
May 10, 1994 – Former political prisoner Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as president of South Africa. Mandela had won the first free election in South Africa despite attempts by various political foes to deter the outcome.
May 11, 1862 – To prevent its capture by Union forces advancing in Virginia, the Confederate Ironclad Merrimac was destroyed by the Confederate Navy. In March, the Merrimac had fought the Union Ironclad Monitor to a draw. Naval warfare was thus changed forever, making wooden ships obsolete.
May 11, 1969 – During the Vietnam War, the Battle of “Hamburger Hill” began. While attempting to seize the Dong Ap Bia Mountain, U.S. troops repeatedly scaled the hill over a 10-day period and engaged in bloody hand-to-hand combat with the North Vietnamese. After finally securing the objective, American military staff decided to abandon the position, which the North Vietnamese retook shortly thereafter. The battle highlighted the futility of the overall American military strategy.
Birthday – Songwriter Irving Berlin (1888-1989) was born (as Israel Isidore Baline) in Tyumen, Russia. At the age of four, Berlin moved with his family to New York City and later began singing in saloons and on street corners to help his family following the death of his father. Although he could not read or write musical notation, he became one of America’s greatest songwriters, best known for songs such as God Bless America, White Christmas, There’s No Business-Like Show Business, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Puttin’ On the Ritz, and Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning.
Birthday – Modern dance pioneer Martha Graham (1893-1991) was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her dance career at age 22 in the Greenwich Village Follies. She later incorporated primal emotions and ancient rituals in her works, bringing a new psychological depth to modern dance. In a career spanning 70 years, she created 180 dance works. She performed until the age of 75.
May 12, 1937 – George VI was crowned at Westminster Abbey in London, following the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII. King George reigned until his death in 1952. He was succeeded by his daughter Elizabeth, the current reigning monarch.
May 12, 1949 – Soviet Russia lifted its blockade of Berlin. The blockade began on June 24, 1948 and resulted in the Berlin airlift. For 462 days – from June 26, 1948, until September 30, 1949, American and British planes flew about 278,000 flights, delivering 2.3 million tons of food, coal and medical supplies to two million isolated West Berliners. A plane landed in Berlin every minute from 11 Allied staging areas in West Germany. The planes were nicknamed ”candy bombers” after pilots began tossing sweets to children. They also flew out millions of dollars’ worth of products manufactured in West Berlin.
Birthday – British nurse and public health activist Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) was born in Florence, Italy. She volunteered to aid British troops in Turkey where she improved hospital sanitary conditions and greatly reduced the death rate for wounded and sick soldiers. She received worldwide acclaim for her unselfish devotion to nursing, contributed to the development of modern nursing procedures, and emphasized the dignity of nursing as a profession for women.
May 13, 1846 – At the request of President James K. Polk, Congress declared war on Mexico. The controversial struggle eventually cost the lives of 11,300 U.S. soldiers and resulted in the annexation of lands that became parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and Colorado. The war ended in 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
May 13, 1943 – During World War II in North Africa, over 250,000 Germans and Italians surrendered in the last few days of the Tunis campaign. British General Harold Alexander then telegraphed news of the victory to Winston Churchill, who was in Washington attending a war conference. The victory re-opened Allied shipping lanes in the Mediterranean.
May 13, 1981 – Pope John Paul II was shot twice at close range while riding in an open automobile in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. Two other persons were also wounded. An escaped terrorist, already under sentence of death for the murder of a Turkish journalist, was immediately arrested and was later convicted of attempted murder. The Pope recovered and later held a private meeting with the would-be assassin and then publicly forgave him.
May 14, 1607 – The first permanent English settlement in America was established at Jamestown, Virginia, by a group of royally chartered Virginia Company settlers from Plymouth, England.
May 14, 1804 – Meriwether Lewis and William Clark departed St. Louis on their expedition to explore the Northwest. They arrived at the Pacific coast of Oregon in November of 1805 and returned to St. Louis in September of 1806, completing a journey of about 6,000 miles.
May 14, 1796 – Smallpox vaccine was developed by Dr. Edward Jenner, a physician in rural England. He coined the term vaccination for the new procedure of injecting a milder form of the disease into healthy persons resulting in immunity. Within 18 months, 12,000 persons in England had been vaccinated and the number of smallpox deaths dropped by two-thirds.
May 14, 1942 – During World War II, an Act of Congress allowed women to enlist for noncombat duties in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC), the Women Appointed for Voluntary Emergency Service (WAVES), Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS), and Semper Paratus Always Ready Service (SPARS), the Women’s Reserve of the Marine Corp.
Birthday – German physicist Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686-1736) was born in Danzig, Germany. He introduced the use of mercury in thermometers and greatly improved their accuracy. His name is now attached to one of the major temperature measurement scales.
Birthday – British landscape and portrait painter Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) was born in Sudbury, Suffolk, England. Among his best-known works: The Blue Boy, The Watering Place and The Market Cart.
May 15, 1972 – George Wallace was shot while campaigning for the presidency in Laurel, Maryland. As a result, Wallace was permanently paralyzed from the waist down.
May 16, 1862 – During the American Civil War, Union General Benjamin Butler, military governor of New Orleans, issued his “Woman Order” declaring that any Southern woman showing disrespect for Union soldiers or the U.S. would be regarded as a woman of the town, or prostitute. This and other controversial acts by Butler set the stage for his dismissal as military governor in December 1862.
May 17, 1792 – Two dozen merchants and brokers established the New York Stock Exchange. In good weather they operated under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street. In bad weather they moved inside to a coffeehouse to conduct business.
May 17, 1875 – The first Kentucky Derby horse race took place at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
May 17, 1954 – In Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that segregation of public schools “solely based on race” denies black children “equal educational opportunity” even though “physical facilities and other ‘tangible’ factors may have been equal. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” Thurgood Marshall had argued the case before the Court. He went to become the first African American appointed to the Supreme Court.
May 18, 1804 – Napoleon Bonaparte became Emperor of France, snatching the crown from the hands of Pope Pius VII during the actual coronation ceremony, and then crowning himself.
May 18, 1980 – Mount St. Helens volcano erupted in southwestern Washington State spewing steam and ash over 11 miles into the sky. This was the first major eruption since 1857.
May 18, 1998 – In one of the biggest antitrust lawsuits of the 20th century, American software giant Microsoft Corporation was sued by the U.S. Federal government and 20 state governments charging the company with using unfair tactics to crush competition and restrict choices for consumers. The lawsuits alleged Microsoft used illegal practices to deny personal computer owners the benefits of a free and competitive market and alleged Microsoft extended its monopoly on operating systems to “develop a chokehold” on the Internet browser software market.
Birthday – Hollywood director Frank Capra (1897-1991) was born in Palermo, Sicily. His quintessential American films were affectionate portrayals of the common man and examined the strengths and foibles of American democracy. Best known for It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), It Happened One Night (1934) and You Can’t Take It with You (1938).
Birthday – Pope John Paul II (1920-2005) was born (as Karol Wojtyla) in Wadowice, Poland. In 1978, he became 264th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, the first non-Italian elected in 456 years and the first Polish Pope.
May 19, 1943 – During World War II in Europe, Royal Air Force bombers successfully attacked dams in the German Ruhr Valley using innovative ball-shaped bouncing bombs that skipped along the water and exploded against the dams. The dams had provided drinking water for 4 million persons and supplied 75% of the electrical power for industry in the area.
Birthday – Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969) was born in the central Vietnamese village of Kim Lien (as Nguyen That Thanh). In 1930, he organized the Indo-Chinese Communist party and later adopted the name Ho Chi Minh, meaning “he who enlightens.” In 1945, he proclaimed the independence of Vietnam and served as president of North Vietnam from 1945 to 1969. He led the longest and most costly war during the 20th Century against the French and later the Americans. On April 29, 1975, six years after his death, the last Americans left South Vietnam. The next day the city of Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City.
Birthday – Black nationalist and civil rights activist Malcolm X (1925-1965) was born in Omaha, Nebraska (as Malcolm Little). While in prison he adopted the Islamic religion and after his release in 1952, changed his name to Malcolm X and worked for the Nation of Islam. He later made a pilgrimage to Mecca and became an orthodox Muslim. He was assassinated while addressing a meeting in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem on February 21, 1965.
Birthday – African American playwright Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) was born in Chicago, Illinois. She is best known for A Raisin in the Sun (1959) a play dealing with prejudice and black pride. The play was the first stage production written by a black woman to appear on Broadway. She died of cancer at the age of 34. A book of her writings entitled To Be Young, Gifted, and Black was published posthumously.
May 20, 325 A.D. – The Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical council of Catholic Church was called by Constantine I, first Christian Emperor of the Roman Empire. With nearly 300 bishops in attendance at Nicaea in Asia Minor, the council condemned Arianism which denied Christ’s divinity, formulated the Nicene Creed and fixed the date of Easter.
May 20, 1862 – President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act opening millions of acres of government owned land in the West to “homesteaders” who could acquire up to 160 acres by living on the land and cultivating it for five years, paying just $1.25 per acre.
May 20, 1927 – Charles Lindbergh, a 25-year-old aviator, took off at 7:52 a.m. from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, in the Spirit of St. Louis attempting to win a $25,000 prize for the first solo nonstop flight between New York City and Paris. Thirty-three hours later, after a 3,600-mile journey, he landed at Le Bourget, Paris, earning the nickname “Lucky Lindy” and becoming an instant worldwide hero.
May 20, 1932 – Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. She departed Newfoundland, Canada, at 7 p.m. and landed near Londonderry, Ireland, completing a 2,026-mile flight in about 13 hours. Five years later, along with her navigator Fred Noonan, she disappeared while trying to fly her twin-engine plane around the equator.
Birthday – Founder of modern Zionism Theodore Herzl (1860-1904) was born in Budapest, Hungary. He advocated the establishment of a new land for the Jews rather than assimilation into various, historically anti-Semitic, countries and cultures.
May 21, 1881 – The American Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton. The organization today provides volunteer disaster relief in the U.S. and abroad. Community services include collecting and distributing donated blood and teaching health and safety classes.
May 21, 1991 – Former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated during a re-election campaign, killed by a bomb hidden in a bouquet of flowers. He had served as prime minister from 1984 to 1989, succeeding his mother, Indira Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1984.
Birthday – Russian physicist and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989) was born in Moscow. Although he helped construct the first atomic and hydrogen bombs for Soviet Russia, he later denounced the Soviet government and was exiled from 1980 to 1986. He was instrumental in formulating the political reform concept called perestroika and in encouraging glasnost (openness) in restrictive communist countries.
May 22, 1972 – President Richard Nixon became the first American president to visit Moscow. Four days later, Nixon and Soviet Russia’s leader Leonid Brezhnev signed a pact pledging to freeze nuclear arsenals at current levels.
May 22, 1947 – Congress approved the Truman Doctrine, assuring U.S. support for Greece and Turkey to prevent the spread of Communism.
Birthday – German composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883) was born in Leipzig, Germany. He made revolutionary changes in the structure of opera and is best known for The Ring of the Nibelung, a series of operas based on old German myths which include: Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Siegfried, and Gõtterdammerung.
Birthday – Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was born at Edinburgh, Scotland. He was also deeply interested in and lectured on spiritualism.
Birthday – Laurence Olivier (1907-1989) was born in Dorking, England. Considered one of the most influential actors of the 20th Century, he was honored with nine Academy Award nominations, three Oscars, five Emmy awards, and a host of other awards. His repertoire included most of the major Shakespearean roles, and films such as The Entertainer, Rebecca, Pride and Prejudice, The Boys from Brazil, Marathon Man and Wuthering Heights. He was knighted in 1947 and made a peer of the throne in 1970.
Birthday – Journalist Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) was born in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts. She became the first American woman to serve as a foreign correspondent, reporting for the New York Tribune. Her book Women in the Nineteenth Century, published in 1845, is considered the first feminist statement by an American writer, and brought her international acclaim. Sailing from Italy to the U.S. in 1850, she died, along with her husband and infant son, in a shipwreck off Fire Island, New York.
Birthday – The first American female attorney Arabella Mansfield (1846-1911) was born near Burlington, Iowa (as Belle Aurelia Babb). She was certified in 1869 as an attorney and admitted to the Iowa bar, but never practiced law. Instead she chose a career as a college educator and administrator. She was also instrumental in the founding of the Iowa Suffrage Society in 1870.
May 24, 1844 – Telegraph inventor Samuel Morse sent the first official telegraph message, “What hath God wrought?” from the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., to Baltimore.
May 24, 1881 – A boating disaster occurred in Canada when Victoria, a small, double-decked stern-wheeler carrying over 600 passengers on the Thames River keeled over then sank, killing 182 persons.
May 25, 1787 – The Constitutional Convention began in Philadelphia with delegates from seven states forming a quorum.
May 25, 1994 – After 20 years in exile, Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn returned to his homeland. He had been expelled from Soviet Russia in 1974 after his three-volume work exposing the Soviet prison camp system, The Gulag Archipelago, was published in the West.
Birthday – American author and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His works include: Nature (1836), Essays, First Series (1841), Essays, Second Series (1844), Poems (1847, 1865), Representative Men (1850), English Traits (1856), The Conduct of Life (1860), and Society and Solitude (1870).
May 26, 1940 – The Dunkirk evacuation began in order to save the British Expeditionary Force trapped by advancing German armies on the northern coast of France. Boats and vessels of all shapes and sizes ferried 200,000 British and 140,000 French and Belgian soldiers across the English Channel by June 2nd.
Birthday – Interpretive dancer Isadora Duncan (1878-1927) was born in San Francisco. She revolutionized the entire concept of dance by developing a free-form style and rebelled against tradition, performing barefoot in a loose-fitting tunic. She experienced worldwide acclaim as well as personal tragedy. Her two children drowned, her marriage failed, and she met a bizarre death in 1927 when a scarf she was wearing caught in the wheel of the open car in which she was riding, strangling her.
Birthday – Actor, singer Al Jolson (1886-1950) was born in St. Petersburg, Russia (as Asa Yoelson). One of the premier American vaudeville entertainers of his day, he appeared in the first motion picture with full sound, The Jazz Singer, in 1927.
May 27, 1937 – In San Francisco, 200,000 people celebrated the grand opening of the Golden Gate Bridge by strolling across it.
Birthday – Legendary Wild West figure Wild Bill Hickok (1837-1876) was born in Troy Grove, Illinois. He was a frontiersman, lawman, legendary marksman, army scout and gambler. On August 2, 1876, he was shot dead during a poker game by a drunk in the Number Ten saloon in Deadwood, in the Dakota Territory. In his hand he held a pair of eights and a pair of aces which became known as the ‘dead man’s hand.’
Birthday – American politician Hubert H. Humphrey (1911-1978) was born in Wallace, South Dakota. Humphrey was a mainstay of liberal Democratic politics, championed civil rights, and was considered by political friends and foes alike to be a truly decent man. He served as vice president under Lyndon Johnson. In 1968, Humphrey was the Democratic candidate for president, but lost to Republican Richard Nixon in a very close race.
May 28, 1961 – Amnesty International was founded by London lawyer Peter Berenson. He read about the arrest of a group of students in Portugal then launched a one-year campaign to free them called Appeal for Amnesty. Today Amnesty International has over a million members in 150 countries working to free prisoners of conscience, stop torture and the death penalty, and guarantee human rights for women.
Birthday – William Pitt the Younger (1759-1806) was born at Hayes, Kent, England. Following in his father’s footsteps, he became British prime minister at age 24 and served from 1783 to 1801 and again from 1804 to 1806. Pitt was influenced by Adam Smith’s economic theories and reduced Britain’s large national debt brought on by the American Revolution.
Birthday – All-around athlete Jim Thorpe (1888-1953) was born near Prague, Oklahoma. He won the pentathlon and decathlon events at the 1912 Olympic Games and played professional baseball and football.
May 29, 1453 – The city of Constantinople was captured by the Turks, who renamed it Istanbul. This marked the end of the Byzantine Empire as Istanbul became the capital of the Ottoman Empire.
May 29, 1660 – The English monarchy was restored with Charles II on the throne after several years of a Commonwealth under Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell.
May 29, 1787 – At the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia the Virginia Plan was proposed calling for a new government consisting of a legislature with two houses, an executive chosen by the legislature and a judicial branch.
May 29, 1865 – Following the American Civil War, President Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation granting general amnesty to Confederates. The amnesty excluded high ranking Confederates and large property owners, who had to apply individually to the President for a pardon. Following an oath of allegiance, all former property rights, except slaves, were returned to the former owners.
Birthday – American revolutionary leader Patrick Henry (1736-1799) was born in Studley, Virginia. He is best remembered for his speech in 1775 declaring: “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”
Birthday – German historian Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) was born in Blankenburg-am-Harz, Germany. He authored the influential book The Decline of the West which argued that civilizations rise and fall in regular cycles.
Birthday – John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963) the 35th U.S. President was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was the youngest man ever elected to the presidency and the first Roman Catholic. He was assassinated in Dallas, November 22, 1963, the fourth President to killed by an assassin.
May 30, 1783 – The Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first daily newspaper published in America.
May 30, 1943 – During World War II in the Pacific, the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska were retaken by the U.S. 7th Infantry Division. The battle began on May 12 when an American force of 11,000 landed on Attu. In three weeks of fighting U.S. casualties numbered 552 killed and 1,140 wounded. Japanese killed numbered 2,352, with only 28 taken prisoner, as 500 chose suicide rather than be captured.
Birthday – Founder of the Russian empire Peter the Great (1672-1725) was born near Moscow. He vastly increased the power of the Russian monarchy and turned his backward country into a major power in the Western world. Among his accomplishments, he completely overhauled the government and the Greek Orthodox Church as well as the military system and tax structure. He built St. Petersburg, established printing presses and published translations of foreign books, modernized the calendar, simplified the Russian alphabet and introduced Arabic numerals. He died at age 52 and was succeeded by his wife Catherine.
May 31, 1862 – During the American Civil War, the Battle of Seven Pines occurred as Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army attacked Union General George McClellan’s troops in front of Richmond Virginia and nearly defeated them. Johnston was badly wounded. Confederate General Robert E. Lee then assumed command, replacing the wounded Johnston. Lee renamed his force the Army of Northern Virginia.
May 31, 1889 – Over 2,300 persons were killed in the Johnstown flood in Pennsylvania. Heavy rains throughout May caused the Connemaugh River Dam to burst sending a wall of water 75 feet high pouring down upon the city.
Birthday – American poet Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was born in Long Island, New York. His poem Leaves of Grass is considered an American classic. His poetry celebrated modern life and took on subjects considered taboo at the time.
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The DAV Auxiliary always aims to raise awareness for helping our nation’s veterans. Here you can find dates and information on special upcoming events in your local area and across the nation. You can also get the latest details for the DAV Auxiliary National Convention and other upcoming conferences.
On October 27 2018, our Auxiliary members gave out candy to children in Buffalo and Pleasant Hope. Have a safe Halloween!