This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann
“Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past,
for human events ever resemble those of preceding times.”
Week of June 19-25, 2017
1586 – English colonists sail away from Roanoke Island, North Carolina, after failing to establish England’s first permanent settlement in America.
1846 – The New York Knickerbocker Club plays the New York Club in the first baseball game at the Elysian Field in Hoboken, New Jersey. It is the first organized baseball game.
1867 – Ruthless wins the first Belmont Stakes horse race.
1910 – Father’s Day is celebrated for the first time in Spokane, Washington.
1912 – The U.S. government establishes the 8-hour workday.
1934 – Congress establishes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate radio and (later) TV broadcasting.
1940 – “Brenda Starr, Reporter” the first cartoon strip by a woman, appears in Chicago Tribune.
1941 – Cheerios Cereal invents an O-shaped cereal.
1951 – President Harry S. Truman signs the Universal Military Training and Service Act, which extends Selective Service until July 1, 1955 and lowers the draft age to 18.
1952 – “I’ve Got A Secret” debuts on TV with Garry Moore as host and airs until 1967. Moore died in 1993 at age 78. Watch an incredible secret from 1956:
1956 – Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin end their partnership after starring together in 16 films. Jerry Lewis is 91 years old. Dean Martin died in 1995 at age 78.
1961 – The Supreme Court strikes down a provision in Maryland’s constitution requiring state office holders to believe in God.
1964 – The Civil Rights Act of 1964 passes by a vote of 73-27.
1977 – Pope Paul VI makes 19th-century Bishop John Neumann the first U.S. male saint.
1978 – Garfield appears in newspapers around the U.S. for the first time.
1987 – Ben & Jerry Ice Cream and Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia announce a new ice cream flavor, Cherry Garcia.
1981 – “Superman II” sets the all-time, one-day record for theater box-office receipts when it takes in $5.5 million. Watch the movie trailer:
1987 – The Supreme Court strikes down the Louisiana law that requires that schools teach creationism.
1988 – A team of 32 divers in Santa Barbara, California, cycle underwater on a standard tricycle to complete 116.66 miles in 75 hours and 20 minutes.
2000 – The Supreme Court rules that a group prayer led by students at public school football games violates the First Amendment’s principle that called for the separation of church and state.
2016 – The Cleveland Cavaliers win their first National Basketball Association title by defeating the Golden State Warriors 4–3. They are the first NBA team to overcome a 3–1 deficit to win the finals.
1782 – Congress approves the Great Seal of the U.S. and the eagle as its symbol.
1793 – Eli Whitney applies for a patent for his cotton gin.
1863 – The National Bank of Davenport, Iowa, is the first bank chartered in the U.S.
1871 – The Ku Klux Klan trial begins in federal court in Oxford, Mississippi, following the Meridian Race Riot. No one is ever convicted in the deaths resulting from the riots.
1893 – Lizzie Borden is acquitted in the axe murders of her father and stepmother in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Lizzie died in 1927 at age 66.
1911 – The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) incorporates in New York.
1936 – American Jesse Owens sets 100-meter record at 10.2 seconds at the Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany.
1944 – Congress charters the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
1947 – Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel is murdered in Beverly Hills, California, at the order of mob associates angered over the soaring costs of his project, the Flamingo resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was 41 years old.
1948 – “Toast of the Town” hosted by Ed Sullivan premieres on TV and airs until 1971. Sullivan died in 1974 at age 73. Watch part of one of Ed’s shows:
1955 – The AFL and CIO unions agree to combine their names and a merge into a single group.
1963 – The U.S. and the USSR agree to set up a “Hot Line” communication system.
1967 – Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) is convicted of refusing induction into the armed services. Ali is sentenced to five years in prison, fined $10,000, and banned from boxing for three years. He stays out of prison while his case is appealed and returns to boxing in 1970. Ali died in 2016 at age 74.
1977 – Oil enters the Trans-Alaska pipeline and exits 38 days later at Valdez.
1988 – The Supreme Court upholds a law making it illegal for private clubs to discriminate against women and minorities.
1990 – Nelson Mandela lands in New York City to begin a tour of eight U.S. cities. Watch a news report on his visit:
1997 – The tobacco industry agrees to a massive settlement in exchange for major relief from mounting lawsuits and legal bills.
2002 – The Supreme Court rules that the execution of mentally retarded murderers is unconstitutionally cruel in a 6 to 3 vote.
2011 – The first Critics’ Choice Television Awards are held. “Modern Family” wins best comedy series and “Mad Men” wins for best drama series.
2015 – Surfers in Huntington Beach, California, set the Guinness world record for the most surfers to ride on a single board. Sixty-six surfers ride a single 43-foot-long 1,300-pound board for 15 seconds.
1684 – King Charles II revokes the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s charter due to insubordination for violating the terms of the charter.
1788 – The U.S. Constitution goes into effect when New Hampshire becomes the 9th state to ratify it.
1877 – Ten Molly Maguires, Irish coal miner immigrants, are hanged at the Schuylkill County and Carbon County, Pennsylvania, prisons for a series of murders.
1879 – F. W. Woolworth opens his first store in Utica, New York, but it fails the following year. He opens a new store in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1881 and within a few years Woolworth is a millionaire. Woolworth died in 1919 at age 66.
1893 – The first Ferris wheel premieres at Chicago’s Columbian Exposition. It is designed and built by George Washington Gale Ferris. Ferris died of TB in 1896 at age 37.
1913 – Georgia Broadwick becomes the first woman parachutist to jump from an airplane.
1938 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the $3.75 billion Emergency Relief Appropriation Act.
1939 – The New York Yankees announce Lou Gehrig’s retirement after doctors reveal he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Gehrig makes his farewell speech on July 4th:
1945 – Pan Am announces an 88-hour round-the-world flight at a cost of $700.
1954 – The American Cancer Society reports significantly higher death rates among cigarette smokers than among non-smokers.
1964 – Bryon de la Beckwith is arrested for the murder of Medgar Evers. Two trials in 1964 end in hung juries with all white jurors. Beckwith is found guilty 30 years later based on new evidence. He is sentenced to life in prison without parole and died in prison in 2001 at age 80.
1964 – Three civil rights workers, Michael H. Schwerner Andrew Goodman, and James E. Chaney, disappear after their release from a Mississippi jail. Their remains are found six weeks later buried in an earthen dam. In December 19 men, including the county’s Deputy, are arrested and tried for federal civil rights violations. An all-white jury convicts seven, acquits nine, and is deadlocked on three others. In 2005, 80-year-old Edgar Ray Killen is convicted on three counts of manslaughter and sentenced to 60 years in prison. Killen is now 92 years old.
1977 – Former White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman enters prison. He spends 18 months in jail for his role in the Watergate scandal.
1982 – John Hinckley, Jr. is found not guilty by reason of insanity for the 1981 assassination attempt of President Reagan. He was released from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC, in 2016. Hinckley is now 62 years old.
1989 – The Supreme Court rules that burning the American flag as a form of political protest is protected by the First Amendment.
1997 – The Women’s National Basketball Association begins as the New York Liberty beats Los Angeles Sparks.
2003 – The fifth Harry Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” is published by J.K. Rowling. Amazon.com ships out more than one million copies on this day, making it the largest distribution day of a single item in e-commerce history. The book set sales records around the world with an estimated 5 million copies sold on the first day.
2004 – SpaceShipOne, designed by Burt Rutan and piloted by Mike Melvill, reaches 328,491 feet above Earth in a 90-minute flight. The height is about 400 feet above the distance scientists consider to be the boundary of space. It wins the $10 million Ansari X Prize for being the first non-governmental manned spacecraft to go into space twice within two weeks. Watch the flights:
1611 – Mutineers from his ship Discovery set Henry Hudson, his son, and seven supporters adrift in the Hudson Bay. They are never seen again. The mutineers sail back to England and are arrested.
1775 – The colonies issue its first currency of $2 million in bills of credit.
1807 – British soldiers board the USS Chesapeake, a provocation leading to The War of 1812.
1847 – Elizabeth Gregory creates the doughnut when she makes a large batch for her son’s voyage. She gives the recipe to Captain Gregory’s cook so he could make doughnuts for him and his crew.
1870 – Congress creates the Department of Justice.
1922 – Striking coal miners of the United Mine Workers massacred 19 non-union strikebreakers during after they had peacefully left the mine in Herrin, Illinois. Not one of the striking coal miners were ever convicted of the murders.
1934 – John Dillinger is named America’s first Public Enemy Number One.
1939 – A uranium atom is first split at Columbia University.
1941 – President Franklin Roosevelt signs the “GI Bill of Rights.”
1946 – President Truman sets up the CIA, Central Intelligence Agency.
1964 – The Supreme Court rules that Henry Miller’s book, “Tropic of Cancer,” could not be banned.
1967 – “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” premieres on TV and airs until 1973.
1970 – President Nixon signs the 26th Amendment lowering the voting age to 18.
1970 – The Supreme Court rules that juries of less than 12 people are constitutional.
1979 – Little Richard (Richard Wayne Penniman) quits rock & roll again and returns to his religious ministry. He became in ordained minister in 1970. Little Richard is 84 years old.
1981 – Mark David Chapman pleads guilty to killing John Lennon in December 1980. Chapman changes his plea from not guilty by reason of insanity to second-degree murder and is sentenced to 20 years to life with mandatory psychiatric treatment. Chapman is now 62 years old.
1983 – The Space Shuttle Discovery is the first spacecraft to retrieve a satellite from orbit and return it to Earth. Discovery has also flown in space more (38 trips) and carried more crew (246) than any other spacecraft. Watch recovery with audio description:
1989 – The Supreme Court rules that burning the American flag as a form of political protest is protected by the First Amendment.
1992 – The Supreme Court rules that “hate crime” laws violate free-speech rights.
1998 – The Supreme Court rules that evidence illegally obtained by authorities can be used at revocation hearings for a convicted criminal’s parole.
2009 – Eastman Kodak Company announces that it will discontinue sales of the Kodachrome Color Film.
2015 – Former Republican South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley calls for the removal of the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds in the wake of murders of 9 people in a Charleston church. The Confederate flag is removed from the statehouse grounds on July 10th and placed in a museum. Watch her press conference:
1683 – William Penn signs a friendship treaty with the Lenni Lenape Indians, the Six Nations (Mengwes), the Shawanese Nation, the Gawanese, and the Conestogas (Mingoes) in Pennsylvania. It is said that an exchange of wampum belts takes place, but in 1782 Chief Killbuck loses the historic wampum that contained the treaty that had been made with Penn one hundred years earlier.
1784 – The first manned balloon ascension in the U.S. takes place when 13-year-old Edward Warren goes aloft in a tethered hot air balloon at Bladensburg, Maryland.
1810 – John Jacob Astor organizes the Pacific Fur Company in Astoria, Oregon. His great-grandson, John Jacob Astor IV, dies on the Titanic in 1912.
1860 – Congress establishes the Government Printing Office.
1860 – The U.S. Secret Service is created to arrest counterfeiters.
1868 – Christopher Latham Sholes patents the first commercially successful “typewriter.” It does not have the numbers 0 and 1 because the letters o and l could be used instead.
1888 – Frederick Douglass is the first African-American nominated for president.
1926 – The College Board administers the first SAT exam (Scholastic Aptitude Test).
1931 – Wiley Post and Harold Gatty take off for a record-setting flight around the world. Their trip takes 8 days. Watch archive footage of the flight:
1938 – Marineland opens in Florida as “Marine Studios.” It is known as the World’s First Oceanarium.
1947 – Congress overrides President Truman’s veto of the Taft-Hartley Act (limiting labor unions).
1964 – Henry Cabot Lodge resigns as the U.S. envoy to Vietnam and is succeeded by Maxwell Taylor.
1967 – The Senate censures Thomas J. Dodd (D-CT) for misusing campaign funds. It is only the 7th time in the Senate’s history that it censured one of its own members. He is the father of former Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT).
1969 – Warren E. Burger is sworn in as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, replacing retiring Chief Justice Earl Warren.
1972 – President Nixon signs Title IX of the Education Amendments, barring sex discrimination in college sports.
1981 – Amanda Maccaro becomes the first American to win the Russian Ballet Competition.
1986 – Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill refuses to let President Reagan address House before its critical vote on funding for the anti-communist “Contra” rebels in Nicaragua.
2003 – Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants steals second base against the Los Angeles Dodgers, becoming the first player in MLB history to have 500 career home runs and 500 career steals. Bonds ends his career with 762 home runs and 514 stolen bases.
2013 – Aerialist Nik Wallenda completes a quarter mile tightrope walk over the Little Colorado River Gorge in Arizona. Watch and listen to Nik talk to his crew as he walks across the gorge:
1795 – The U.S. and Great Britain sign the Jay Treaty, the first U.S. extradition treaty.
1844 – Charles Goodyear is granted U.S. patent #3,633 for vulcanized rubber.
1853 – President Franklin Pierce signs the Gadsden Purchase (29,670 square miles) from Mexico (now southern Arizona and New Mexico) for $10 million.
1916 – Mary Pickford becomes the first female film star to get a million dollar contract.
1936 – Leading educator and civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune is named the director of Negro Affairs in National Youth Administration.
1940 – TV cameras are used for the first time in a political convention as the Republicans convene in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Watch and listen to the sights and sounds of the convention with commentary:
1947 – Flying saucers are sighted over Mount Rainier by civilian pilot Ken Arnold.
1949 – “Hopalong Cassidy” starring William Boyd becomes the first network TV western. Boyd also stars as Cassidy in 104 radio shows and 66 films from 1935 to 1948. Boyd died in 1972 at age 77.
1957 – The last “I Love Lucy” episode airs on TV. The show premiers in 1951 starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez.
1957 – In Roth v. United States the Supreme Court rules that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment, thus upholding the conviction of Samuel Roth for sending “obscene, lewd, lascivious or filthy” materials through the mail.
1964 – The Federal Trade Commission announces that starting in 1965 cigarette manufactures will be required to include warnings on their packaging about the harmful effects of smoking.
1968 – This is the deadline set for redeeming silver certificate dollars for silver bullion.
1968 – “Resurrection City,” a shantytown constructed as part of the Poor People’s March on Washington D.C., is closed down by authorities. Watch actual news footage:
1970 – The U.S. Senate votes overwhelmingly on an amendment offered by Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) to repeal the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. The Resolution, passed in August 1964, gave then-President Lyndon Johnson authority to use force when declaring war in Vietnam.
1972 – Bernice Gera becomes the first female umpire in a minor league baseball game. She resigns when none of the other umpires will work with her on the field. Gera died in 1992 at age 61.
1977 – The IRS reveals that President Jimmy Carter paid no taxes in 1976.
1982 – In Nixon v Fitzgerald the Supreme Court rules that the president can’t be sued for his actions while in office.
1993 – Yale computer science professor Dr. David Gelernter is seriously injured after receiving a mail bomb sent from the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. Sixteen bombs injure 23 and kill 3 people from 1978 to 1995. Kaczynski is arrested in 1996 and convicted of the bombings and murders. He is now 75 years old and serving life in prison without possibility of parole.
1997 – The U.S. Air Force releases a report titled “The Roswell Report, Case Closed” that dismisses the claims that an alien spacecraft crashed in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. Watch the official Pentagon press conference:
2002 – The Supreme Court rules that juries, not judges, must make the decision to give a convicted killer the death penalty.
2010 – John Isner of the U.S. defeats Nicolas Mahut of France at Wimbledon after 10 hours, the longest match in tennis history.
1638 – A lunar eclipse becomes the first astronomical event recorded in the U.S.
1798 – The U.S. passes the Alien and Sedition Act allowing the president to deport aliens considered “dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States.”
1867 – Barbed wire is patented by Lucien B. Smith of Ohio.
1868 – President Andrew Johnson passes a law giving government workers an 8-hour day.
1876 – George Armstrong Custer and his 7th Cavalry (262 men) are wiped out by the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians at Little Big Horn in Montana.
1921 – Jack Hutchinson becomes the first American to win the British Open Golf Tournament.
1942 – Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower is appointed commander of U.S. forces in Europe during World War II.
1948 – President Harry Truman signs the Displaced Persons Bill, allowing 205,000 European victims of Nazi persecution into the U.S.
1951 – CBS broadcasts the first commercial color TV shows to 5 network stations from New York Studios. Arthur Godfrey, Ed Sullivan, and George Balanchine are among those appearing on the show.
1953 – The first passenger flies commercially around the world in less than 100 hours.
1962 – The Supreme Court rules that the use of unofficial non-denominational prayer in public schools is unconstitutional.
1968 – Bobby Bonds of the San Francisco Giants hits a grand-slam home run in his first game with the Giants. He is the first player to debut with a grand-slam home run. Bonds died in 2003 at age 57.
1977 – Roy C. Sullivan, a park ranger in Virginia, is struck by lightning for the 7th time, setting a Guinness World Record. Sullivan died in 1983 at age 71 of a self-inflicted gunshot. Listen to an audio report about his life:
1981 – The Supreme Court upholds a male-only draft registration as constitutional.
1985 – ABC’s “Monday Night Football” begins the season with a new line-up. The trio includes Frank Gifford, Joe Namath, and O.J. Simpson.
1990 – The Supreme Court upholds the right of an individual, whose wishes are clearly made, to refuse life-sustaining medical treatment. “The right to die” decision is made in the Curzan vs. Missouri case.
1998 – In Clinton vs. City of New York the Supreme Court rules that the presidential Line Item Veto Act of 1996 is unconstitutional.
2000 – A Florida judge approves a class-action lawsuit to be filed against American Online (AOL) on behalf of hourly subscribers who were forced to view “pop-up” advertisements.
2008 – Facebook agrees to transfer over 1.2 million common shares and pay $20 million in cash to settle a lawsuit. In 2004, Harvard students Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra sue Zuckerberg for misleading them and using their ideas to develop Facebook.
2015 – A 6-3 Supreme Court ruling preserves the Obamacare subsidies in the Affordable Care Act. Chief Justice Roberts writes the majority decision and the late Justice Scalia writes the dissenting opinion.