This Week In History
by Dianne Hermann
“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people.
They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”
– Thomas Jefferson
Week of June 1-7, 2015
1638 – The first earthquake recorded in the U.S. hits Plymouth, Massachusetts.
1657 – The first Quakers arrive in New Amsterdam (now New York City).
1660 – Mary Dyer is hanged for defying a law banning Quakers from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1789 – The first U.S. congressional act becomes law. The law regulates the time and manner of administering oaths.
1813 – Capt. John Lawrence utters the future Navy motto “Don’t give up the ship” after being mortally wounded during a battle between his U.S. Navy vessel Chesapeake and the British gunship Shannon. (Note: After his death, Lawrence’s crew gives up the ship to the British.)
1862 – General Robert E. Lee assumes command of the Confederate forces during the Civil War after Joe Johnston is injured at Seven Pines.
1869 – Thomas A. Edison patents the voting machine.
1880 – The U.S. census exceeds 50 million people (50,155,783).
1890 – The U.S. census exceeds 60 million people (62,622,250). The current population from the U.S. Census Bureau census is about 321 million people.
1905 – The Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition opens in Portland, Oregon.
1908 – John Krohn begins his walk around the perimeter of the U.S. pushing a wheelbarrow. Krohn, starting westbound from Portland, Maine, walks 9,024 miles in 357 days. He wears out 11 pairs of shoes, 112 pairs of socks, and 5 wheels on the wheelbarrow. He writes a book about his experiences called “The Walk of Colonial Jack.”
1925 – Lou Gehrig, replacing Wally Pipp, plays in the first of his record 2,130 consecutive baseball games.
1936 – The Queen Mary arrives in New York, completing its maiden voyage. The ship departed Southampton, England, on May 27th.
1938 – Superman makes his first appearance in Action Comics #1.
1957 – Don Bowden is the first U.S. runner to break the 4-minute mile.
1963 – Alabama Governor George Wallace vows to defy an injunction that orders the integration of the University of Alabama.
1978 – The U.S. reports finding wiretaps in the American Embassy in Moscow.
1980 – Ted Turner’s Cable News Network begins broadcasting.
2007 – Jack Kevorkian is released from prison after serving eight years of his 10-25 year prison term for second-degree murder in the 1998 death of Thomas Youk, 52, of Oakland County, Michigan. Kevorkian died in 2011 at age 83.
2008 – NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander becomes the first spacecraft to scoop up Martian soil. Watch a report and animation of the Mars Lander:
1780 – The Derby horse race is held for the first time in England. The Kentucky Derby is started by Meriwether Clark, grandson of William Clark (of Lewis & Clark Expedition fame), who attended the Derby race in 1872. The first Kentucky Derby race is run in 1875.
1873 – Ground is broken on Clay Street in San Francisco for world’s first cable railroad.
1886 – Grover Cleveland becomes the first president to get married during his presidency. He marries Frances Folsom.
1897 – Mark Twain, at age 61 in responding to the rumors that he had died, is quoted by the New York Journal as saying “the report of my death was an exaggeration.” Twain died in 1910 at age 74.
1913 – The first strike settlement is mediated by the U.S. Department of Labor for railroad clerks.
1918 – Velveeta Cheese is created by the Monroe Cheese Company. Velveeta is bought by Kraft in 1927. The processed product is named for its velvety texture.
1924 – U.S. citizenship is granted to all American Indians.
1935 – Babe Ruth, age 40, announces his retirement as a baseball player. His record 714 home run record stands for 39 years until it is broken by Hank Aaron.
1964 – The Rolling Stones perform their first U.S. concert in Lynn, Massachusetts.
1966 – U.S. space probe Surveyor 1 lands on the moon and starts sending photographs of the Moon’s surface back to Earth. It is the first soft landing on the Moon. Watch a newsreel report and animation:
1986 – Regular TV coverage of U.S. Senate sessions begins.
1995 – Captain Scott F. O’Grady’s Air Force F-16C is shot down by Bosnian Serbs. He is rescued six days later. Watch Capt. O’Grady talk about his ordeal:
1998 – Voters in California pass Proposition 227. The act abolishes the state’s 30-year-old bilingual education program and requires that all children be taught in English.
2003 – The Supreme Court rules that companies cannot be sued under a trademark law for using information in the public domain without giving credit to the originator. The case originates with 20th Century Fox suing Dastar Corp. over their use of World War II footage.
1539 – Hernando de Soto claims Florida for Spain.
1784 – The U.S. Congress formally creates the U.S. Army to replace the disbanded Continental Army, which is created on June 14, 1775 by the Second Continental Congress.
1800 – John Adams moves to Washington, DC. He is the first president to live in what later became the capital of the United States.
1851 – Baseball players wear standardized uniforms for the first time. The New York Knickerbockers wear straw hats, white shirts, and long blue trousers.
1888 – The poem “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Thayer is published in the San Francisco Examiner.
1916 – The ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) is established by Congress.
1943 – A mob of 60 people from the Los Angeles Naval Reserve Armory beat up everyone perceived to be Hispanic, starting the week long Zoot Suit Riots.
1949 – The show “Dragnet” starring Jack Webb as Joe Friday is first broadcast on the radio and airs until 1957. Webb also stars in the TV version of “Dragnet” from 1952 to 1959. Webb revives the iconic character Joe Friday in another TV series from 1967 to 1970 and stars in three “Dragnet” movies. Webb died in 1982 at age 62. Watch a Joe Friday explain what it means to be a cop:
1953 – Alexander Cartwright, not Abner Doubleday, is officially credited as the founder of baseball by the U.S. Congress.
1957 – Howard Cosell appears on his first TV show. The former lawyer covers a wide variety of sporting events until 1993. Cosell called himself, “Arrogant, pompous, obnoxious, vain, cruel, verbose, and a showoff.” Cosell died in 1995 at age 77.
1959 – The first U.S. Air Force Academy holds its first graduation. The Class of 1959 has 207 graduates.
1968 – Valerie Solanas, author of the radical feminist SCUM Manifesto (Society for Cutting Up Men), attempts to assassinate Andy Warhol by shooting him. She is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, but deemed fit to stand trial. She is sentenced to three years in prison with the year she spent in a psychiatric ward counted as time served. Solonas continues to stalk Warhol, is arrested again in 1971, and institutionalized. Warhol died in 1987 at age 58. Solonas died in 1988 at age 52.
1972 – Sally J. Priesand becomes first female U.S. rabbi.
1976 – The U.S. is presented with the oldest known copy of 1215 AD Magna Carta (Latin for Great Charter) by the British for the U.S. bicentennial.
2012 – Tiger Woods wins his 73rd Professional Golf Association tournament and ties Jack Nicklaus’s record. Woods now has 79 PGA wins, second to Sam Snead with 82 PGA wins.
1794 – Congress passes the Neutrality Act, banning Americans from serving in the armed forces of foreign countries.
1812 – The Louisiana Territory is officially renamed the “Missouri Territory.”
1896 – Henry Ford drives his first Ford automobile through the streets of Detroit.
1919 – The U.S. Senate passes the Women’s Suffrage bill, granting women the right to vote.
1927 – In the first Ryder Cup golf tournament, the U.S. beats England 9 ½ to 2 ½ at the Worcester Country Club in Worcester, Massachusetts.
1929 – George Eastman demonstrates the first Technicolor movie in Rochester, New York.
1939 – Sylvan Goldman introduces the first shopping cart in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It is actually a folding chair frame mounted on wheels.
1947 – The House of Representatives approves the Taft-Hartley Act. Co-sponsored by Senator Robert Taft (son of President William Taft), the Act places restrictions on organized labor unions and survives a veto by President Truman.
1949 – “Cavalcade of Stars” debuts on TV and airs until 1952. Jackie Gleason is made the host in 1950. Watch the 1951 Gleason sketch that will later spawn “The Honeymooners”:
1972 – Angela Davis, a black activist, is acquitted of aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder in the 1970 death of a court judge and the wounding of a prosecutor and juror during the trial of Jonathon Jackson, even though it is proven that Davis purchased the weapons used in the attack. Davis is now 71 years old.
1973 – A patent for the ATM (Automated Teller Machine) is granted to Don Wetzel, Tom Barnes, and George Chastain.
1985 – The Supreme Court, in a 6-3 ruling on Wallace v. Jaffree, strikes down the Alabama “moment of silence” law citing its purpose is to endorse religion and return voluntary prayer into public schools.
1990 – Greyhound Bus Lines files for bankruptcy during a strike. Greyhound emerges from bankruptcy reorganization for following year and is still in business.
1992 – The U.S. Postal Service announces that in a nationwide vote people prefer the “younger Elvis” stamp design.
2003 – The U.S. House of Representatives passes a bill with a 282-139 vote that bans “partial birth” abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy. President Bush signs the bill is into law. The Supreme Court upholds the law in a 5-4 decision in 2007.
1752 – Benjamin Franklin flies a kite for the first time to demonstrate that lightning is a form of electricity.
1851 – Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes the first installment of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in “The National Era.”
1884 – Civil War General William T. Sherman refuses the Republican presidential nomination saying, “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.”
1907 – Maytag introduces the automatic washer. It is a wooden-tub washing machine with a flywheel that is manually operated by a rotary handle.
1917 – Ten million U.S. men begin registering for the draft in World War I.
1933 – President Roosevelt signs the bill that takes the U.S. off the gold standard.
1937 – Henry Ford initiates the 32-hour work week.
1947 – Secretary of State George C. Marshall outlines the “Marshall Plan,” or European Recovery Program, after World War II.
1954 – “Your Show Of Shows,” last airs on NBC-TV. It premieres in 1950 and stars Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. Caesar died in 2014 at age 91 and Coca died in 2001 at age 90. Watch the classic birthday sketch:
1967 – The National Hockey League (NHL) awards three new franchises to the Minnesota North Stars (later the Dallas Stars), the California Golden Seals (no longer in existence), and the Los Angeles Kings.
1967 – Murderer Richard Speck is sentenced to death in the electric chair for the murders of eight student nurses in their South Chicago home. He is also a suspect in the murder of many other people, mostly girls and women. His sentence is commuted to 50-100 years when the Supreme Court abolishes the death penalty in 1972. Speck died of a heart attack in prison in 1991 at age 49.
1968 – Robert F. Kennedy, age 42, is assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan in Los Angeles after Kennedy wins the California presidential primary.
1977 – The first personal computer, the Apple II designed by Steve Wozniak, goes on sale. By the end of production in 1993 between 5 and 6 million computers had been produced. The Woz is 64 years old.
1981 – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that five men in Los Angeles are suffering from a rare pneumonia found in patients with weakened immune systems. They are the first recognized cases of what becomes known as AIDS.
2001 – U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords leaves the Republican Party to become an Independent, an act that shifts control of the U.S. Senate from the Republican to the Democrat Party. Jeffords retires from the Senate in 2006.
1664 – New Amsterdam is renamed New York City.
1816 – Ten inches of snow falls in New England during the “year without a summer.” It may have been caused by a series of volcanic eruptions of Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1815.
1850 – Levi Strauss makes his first pair of blue jeans using rivets at the points of strain. Strauss died in 1902 at age 73 and left an estate estimated at $6 million.
1882 – The electric iron is patented by Henry W. Seely of New York City.
1896 – George Harbo and Frank Samuelson of Norway leave New York harbor and row across the Atlantic Ocean in an 18-foot boat. It takes the pair 55 days to row 3,270 miles.
1925 – Chrysler Corporation is founded Walter Percy Chrysler. Future Chrysler head Lee Iacocca is 8 months old.
1932 – The Revenue Act of 1932 is enacted, creating the first gas tax in the United States, at a rate of 1 cent per gallon sold.
1933 – The first drive-in theater opens in Camden, New Jersey.
1944 – The D-Day invasion of Europe takes place on the beaches of Normandy, France with 400,000 Allied American, British, and Canadian troops.
1960 – The “Steve Allen Show” airs its last broadcast on NBC-TV. It premieres in 1956. Watch the original show introduction:
1966 – Stokely Carmichael launches the “Black Power” movement. He heads the Black Panther Party from 1967-1969. He moves to Africa in 1969 and changes his name to Kwame Ture and espouses anti-American, anti-Semitic, and Pro-Communist ideas. Carmichael died in 1998 at age 57 of prostate cancer, blaming the U.S. government for “infecting” him.
1971 – The “Ed Sullivan Show” airs its last broadcast on CBS-TV. It premiers in 1948 and launches the careers of many famous people and bands. Sullivan died in 1974 at age 73. He had a really good shoe.
1978 – Proposition 13 is approved by voters and cuts California property taxes by 57%. In the wake of the anti-tax vote funding for freeways, higher education, prisons, assistance to needy families, and local government is drastically cut.
1981 – American sculptor and artist Maya Yang Lin wins the competition for the design the Vietnam War Memorial.
2005 – The Supreme Court rules that federal authorities can prosecute sick people who smoke marijuana on doctor’s orders. The ruling concludes that state medical marijuana laws do not protect users from the federal ban on the drug.
1775 – The United Colonies change their name to the United States.
1776 – Richard Henry Lee of Virginia proposes to the Continental Congress a resolution calling for a Declaration of Independence.
1864 – Abe Lincoln is re-nominated for President by the Republican Party.
1909 – “America’s Sweetheart” Mary Pickford makes her screen debut at the age of 16. She is one of the 38 original founding members of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences. Pickford died in 1979 at age 87. Watch an excerpt from the film:
1912 – Capt. Charles De Forest Chandler performs U.S. Army tests using the first machine gun mounted on a plane. Pilot Lieutenant Thomas De Witt Milling makes several passes over a Maryland airfield at 50 miles per hour while Chandler fires a “Lewis” gun mounted on a swiveling turret at a cloth target on the ground, scoring hits with 45 out of 50 rounds. The Lewis gun is designed in 1911 by U.S. Army Col. Isaac Newton Lewis.
1930 – The New York Times agrees to capitalize the n in “Negro.”
1932 – Over 7,000 World War I veterans march on Washington, DC demanding their promised bonuses.
1939 – George VI and Elizabeth I are the first king and queen of England to visit the U.S. Watch a report on the royal visit:
1955 – The game show “The $64,000 Question” premieres on CBS-TV and airs until 1958. This and other game shows fail when it is discovered that the games are rigged or the contestants are coached.
1955 – Dwight Eisenhower is the first president to appear on color TV.
1965 – Sony introduces its home video tape recorder, priced at $995.
1968 – Sirhan Sirhan is indicted for the Robert Kennedy assassination.
1969 – Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash perform on a Grand Ole Opry TV special. (The show is taped on May 1st.)
1977 – Anita Bryant leads a successful crusade against Miami gay rights laws. Bryant, a singer, beauty pageant winner, and spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Commission, is an outspoken critic of homosexuality. Bryant is now 75 years old. Watch one of her orange juice commercials:
1982 – President Ronald Reagan meets Pope John Paul II and Queen Elizabeth II during a European trip.
1989 – Wayne Gretzky wins his 9th National Hockey League Hart Trophy (MVP) in 10 years.
1994 – The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia declares the RMS Titanic, Inc. (RMST) “salvor in possession” of the wreck and the wreck site of the RMS Titanic.
2000 – U.S. Federal Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson orders the break up of Microsoft Corporation.