This Week in History: Feb. 5-11, 2024


This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate
their own understanding of their history.” George Orwell

Feb. 5-11, 2024

February 5

1778 – South Carolina becomes the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation. It was replaced by the Constitution in 1788.

1922 – Reader’s Digest magazine is first published. Roy DeWitt Wallace came up with the idea of publishing articles on various subjects while he was recovering from wounds he received during World War I. Wallace was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Nixon in 1972. Wallace died 1981 at age 91.

1973 – A funeral is held for Lt. Col. William Nolde, the last U.S. soldier killed in the Vietnam War. Nolde was killed in combat 11 hours before the ceasefire under the Paris Peace Accord became effective.

1991 – A Michigan court bars Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a euthanasia activist, from assisting in suicides. Between 1994 and 1997 Kevorkian was tried four times for participating in assisted suicides. He was acquitted three times (the fourth was a mistrial). In 1999 Kevorkian was convicted of 2nd degree murder and served 8 years of his 10-15-year sentence. He died in 2011 at age 83.

2003 – Secretary of State Colin Powell presents evidence to the U.N. concerning Iraq’s material breach of U.N. Resolution 1441, which was unanimously passed in 2002. Its purpose was to give Saddam Hussain yet another opportunity to comply with the disarmament obligations set out in 10 previous resolutions.

2018 – The Dow Jones has its largest one-day point loss in history. It dropped 1,175.21 points. That record stood until March 16, 2020, when the Dow dropped 2,997 points amid concerns over the Coronavirus.

February 6

1693 – A royal charter is granted for the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was the 2nd college in the U.S. after Harvard University.

1891 – The Dalton Gang stages their first, albeit unsuccessful, train robbery when they attempt to rob a Southern Pacific train in California. The Dalton brothers were lawmen in the late 1880s. It’s believed they became outlaws because of the strained frontier conditions and not being paid. The gang robbed several trains and banks until they attempted to rob two bank simultaneously in Coffeyville, Kansas, in October of 1892. Two Dalton brothers and two other gang members were killed, while Emmett Dalton survived being shot 23 times. Emmett was pardoned after serving 14 years of a life sentence. He moved to California and became a real estate agent, author, and actor. Emmett died in 1937 at age 66.

1911 – The Arizona Pioneers’ Home, the first old-age home in the U.S., opened in Prescott, Arizona. It was a home for indigent pioneers and disabled miners. It is still in operation.

1971 – Alan Shepard hits the first golf balls on the Moon. Both golf balls Shepard hit are still on the Moon. Shepard died in 1998 at age 74. Watch his zero gravity putt.

1996 – Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss begins her 7-year jail sentence for tax evasion of which she served 20 months. Her 1994 conviction for pandering was later overturned. Fleiss is now 58 years old.

2000 – First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton formally declares that she is a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat from the state of New York. She won the election in November. She lost her presidential bids in 2008 and 2016.

2018 – Elon Musk’s SpaceX company launches Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful rocket. The rocket launch was successful, even though the rocket booster was destroyed on impacting the ocean when only one of the three booster engines restarted. There have been a total of nine SpaceX Falcon Heavy launches.

February 7

1812 – A 7.5–8 magnitude earthquake shakes New Madrid, Missouri. This was the final in a series of earthquakes to hit the area from December to February. They were the largest earthquakes to ever hit the contiguous U.S. and caused substantial damage.

1839 – Henry Clay declares in the Senate, “I had rather be right than president.” Clay lost his bid for the presidency in 1824, 1832, and 1844. Clay died in 1852 at age 75 and was the first person to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

1948 – Omar Bradley succeeds Dwight Eisenhower as Army Chief of Staff. In 1950, Bradley became the last of only nine people promoted to the rank of 5-Star General. Eisenhower served as president from 1953 to 1961.

1973 – The Senate creates the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities to investigate the Watergate scandal during the 1972 election.

1984 – The Bubble Boy (born without an immune system) touches his mom for the first time as he lay dying in the hospital following an unsuccessful bone marrow transplant. Twelve-year-old David died two weeks later. His last name (Vetter) was not revealed until 10 years after his death to protect his family’s privacy. His brother, born with the same hereditary disease (SCID), lived only 7 months. Watch a touching video.

1999 – NASA’s Stardust space probe is launched. The mission was to collect comet dust samples from the comet Wild 2. The mission was completed on January 15, 2006, when the sample capsule returned to Earth.

February 8

1837 – Richard Johnson is the first vice president chosen by the Senate according to the 12th Amendment, which states that Congress shall cast votes specifically for president and vice president. He served during the Van Buren administration. Johnson died in 1850 at age 70.

1887 – The Dawes Act, written by Congressman Henry Dawes, authorizes the President of the United States to survey Native American tribal land and divide it into individual allotments called reservations.

1910 – William D. Boyce, philanthropist, incorporates the Boy Scouts of America. Boyce died in 1929 at age 70.

1935 – Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago is the first player picked in the first National Football League draft. Berwanger was picked by the Eagles, but he never played in the NFL. He died in 2002 at age 88.

1969 – The last edition of the “Saturday Evening Post” is published. It was first published in 1897. Beginning in 1916, Norman Rockwell painted more than 300 Saturday Evening Post covers during his 50-year career.

1977 – “Hustler” magazine publisher Larry Flynt is sentenced to 7-25 years for “pandering obscenity” for selling Hustler magazine in Cincinnati, but serves only six days. His conviction was overturned in 1979. Flynt was shot and paralyzed in 1978 by serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, who was executed in November 2013. Flynt died in 2021 at age 78.

1993 – GM sues NBC, alleging that “Dateline NBC” program that aired on November 17, 1992 rigged two truck crashes to show that 1973 to 1987 GM pickups were prone to fires. NBC later admitted to editing the videos. Watch the rigged test.

2002 – The 19th Winter Olympic Games open at Salt Lake City, Utah. Following charges of corruption, an investigation led to the expulsion of 10 International Olympic Committee (IOC) members and the sanctioning of 10 others. This was the first expulsion and sanctioning for corruption in the history of the IOC.

February 9

1870 – The U.S. Army establishes the U.S. National Weather Service.

1909 – The first federal legislation prohibiting narcotics outlaws the drug opium.

1942 – Daylight Savings War Time goes into effect in the U.S. during WWII. The war ended almost 80 years ago.

1960 – The first star is placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star was for Joanne Woodward. There are now 2,770 stars.

1964 – The Beatles make their first of four appearances of on the “Ed Sullivan Show” to 3.7 million viewers. Watch the four lads on their last of three appearances.

1971 – Satchel Paige becomes the first Negro League player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1947, at age 42, Paige became the oldest rookie in Major League Baseball history. In 1965, at age 59, he became the oldest baseball player to play in a game and pitches three scoreless innings for the Kansas City Athletics. Paige died in 1982 at age 75.

2001 – The submarine USS Greenville accidentally strikes and sinks a Japanese civilian training vessel off the coast of Hawaii during a ballast-blow maneuver. Nine people on the vessel were killed. Greenville Commander Scott Waddle was forced to retire after the findings of a court of inquiry were released.

2016 – In the New Hampshire Presidential Primary, Republican Donald Trump wins (35%) over John Kasich (16%) and Bernie Sanders (60%) defeats Hillary Clinton (38%) in Democrat race.

February 10

1846 – The Mormons, led by Brigham Young, begin their westward march to present-day Salt Lake City, Utah.

1855 – U.S. citizenship laws are amended so all children of U.S. parents born abroad are granted U.S. citizenship.

1942 – Glenn Miller is awarded the very first gold record for selling 1 million copies of his song “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” Miller died in 1944 at age 40 when his plane went down over the English Channel. The plane was never found.

1967 – The 25th Amendment (Presidential Disability and Succession) goes into effect. It states that the vice president will become president in case of the removal of the president from office or in case of his death or resignation.

1989 – To gain deregulation, the World Wrestling Federation admits in a New Jersey court that pro wrestling is an exhibition and not a sport.

1993 – “Michael Jackson Talks to Oprah Winfrey” airs on ABC and draws an astounding 39.3 rating/56 share, about 90 million people. Jackson died in 2009 at age 50. Watch part of the interview.

2002 – Kobe Bryant is named MVP of the 51st NBA All-Star game. Bryant and eight others, including his daughter, were killed in a helicopter crash in January 2020.

February 11

1752 – The Pennsylvania Hospital opens as the first hospital in the U.S.

1809 – Robert Fulton, an accomplished artist and portrait painter, patents the steamboat.

1812 – Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry signs a redistricting bill, leading to the term “gerrymandering.” When the state adopted new constitutionally-mandated electoral district boundaries, the Republican-controlled legislature created boundaries designed to enhance their control during elections. Gov. Gerry signed the legislature creating the oddly shaped districts. A local newspaper said that one looked like a salamander and published a political cartoon calling it a “Gerry”mander. He was also James Madison’s vice president.

1916 – Emma Goldman is arrested for lecturing on birth control. She was convicted and served 15 days in jail rather than pay the $100 fine. Goldman became a mentor to future Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. Goldman’s arrests spanned more than 25 years from 1893 until she was deported back to Lithuania in 1919. She died in 1940 at age 70.

1937 – General Motors agrees to recognize the United Automobile Workers union, ending the sit-down strike against them.

1953 – President Eisenhower denies the clemency appeal for the Rosenberg couple, who were convicted of spying. They were executed on June 19, 1953.

1960 – Jack Paar walks off the set while live on the air on the “Tonight Show” with four minutes left. He did this in response to censors cutting out a joke from the show the night before.

1969 – Diane Crump, age 20, becomes the first U.S. woman jockey to ride against male jockeys. The following year she became the first woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby. Watch an interview with Crump about thoroughbreds.

2002 – The six stars on NBC’s “Friends” sign a deal for $22 million each for the ninth and final season of the series.

2006 – While quail hunting in Texas, Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shoots and wounds a companion.

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