This Week in History: June 12-18, 2023

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This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann

“History is a vast early warning system.” Norman Cousins

June 12-18, 2023




June 12

1665 – England installs a municipal government in New York City (the former Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam).

1908 – The Lusitania arrives in New York City after crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a record 4 days 15 hours. A German torpedo sank the ship during World War I in June 1915 on a voyage from New York to England. The ship sank in 18 minutes, with a loss of 1,195 of the 1,959 people on board, including 123 Americans.

1939 – The Baseball Hall of Fame opens in Cooperstown, New York.

1948 – Eddie Arcaro becomes the only jockey to win the Triple Crown twice. He won in 1941 on Whirlaway and in 1948 on Citation. Watch a report, including an interview of Arcaro.



1967 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously in Loving v. Virginia to end laws against interracial marriages.

1987 – President Reagan publicly challenges Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. Watch the president make his historic and prophetic demand.



2009 – All television broadcasts in the U.S. switch from analog to digital transmissions.

2016 – A terrorist claiming allegiance to the Islamic State opens fire the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 and injuring 53, making it the worst mass shooting in the U.S.


June 13

1774 – Rhode Island becomes the first colony to prohibit the importation of slaves.

1777 – Marquis de Lafayette of France lands in the U.S. He served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, becoming life-long friends with George Washington. In 2002, Lafayette became one of only eight people declared an “honorary citizen of the United States” by an Act of Congress.

1920 – The U.S. Post Office Department rules that children may not be sent by parcel post. The rule stemmed from a 1914 incident when 5-year-old Charlotte May Pierstorff was mailed to her grandparents by parcel post for 53 cents to avoid the train cost of $1.55. Charlotte May arrived safely.

1957 – A full-scale reproduction of the Mayflower sails from Plymouth, England, and reaches Plymouth, Massachusetts. Watch a narrated newsreel film.



1966 – The Supreme Court rules on the Miranda case and decides that suspects must be informed of their rights prior to being arrested.

1971 – The New York Times begins publishing the Pentagon Papers. The “Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force” revealed that the U.S. had been secretly bombing Cambodia and Loas.

1979 – The Sioux Nation receives $100 million in compensation from the U.S. for taking Black Hills, South Dakota.

1983 – Pioneer 10 becomes the first man-made object to leave our Solar System. NASA officially ended the project in 1997 after the spacecraft traveled over 6 million miles.

1996 – A group called the Montana Freeman give up to FBI following an 81-day standoff. Three of their members were arrested by the FBI on March 25th, which sparked the standoff. The FBI decided not to force out the Freemen after disastrous results at Ruby Ridge in 1992 and Waco in 1993.

1997 – American fugitive Ira Einhorn is arrested in France after 16 years on the run for the murder of Holly Maddux, although he was not extradited until four years later. He was convicted in 2002 and is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole. Einhorn died in prison in 2020 at age 79.

2005 – A jury in Santa Maria, California, acquits singer Michael Jackson of molesting a 13-year-old boy at his Neverland Ranch. Jackson died in 2009 at age 50.


June 14 – Flag Day

1777 – The Continental Congress adopts the Stars and Stripes flag, replacing the Grand Union flag (13 red and white stripes with the British flag in the upper corner).

1922 – President Warren G. Harding becomes the first president to have his voice transmitted by radio while addressing a crowd at the dedication of a memorial site for Francis Scott Key, composer of the “Star Spangled Banner.”

1943 – The Supreme Court rules that schoolchildren cannot be made to salute the flag if doing so conflicts with their religious beliefs.

1949 – Albert II, a rhesus monkey, makes the second V2 rocket flight. Despite what the narrator says, the monkey died on impact after a parachute failure. V-2 Rocket Launch with monkey

1954 – President Eisenhower signs an order adding the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.

1973 – President Richard Nixon’s administration imposes a 60-day nation-wide wage and price freeze.

1990 – The Supreme Court rules that police DUI checkpoints for drunk drivers are constitutional.

2013 – The U.S. government charges former CIA employee Edward Snowden with violating the Espionage Act and theft of government property by leaking classified NSA information. Snowden, now 38 years old, has been granted asylum in Russia.


June 15

1775 – George Washington is appointed commander-in-chief of Continental Army.

1864 – Robert E. Lee’s home in Arlington, Virginia, becomes a military cemetery.

1878 – Leland Stanford, former governor of California, hires photographer Eadweard Muybridge to make the first motion pictures to see if all four of a horse’s hooves leave the ground. Muybridge used 12 cameras, each taking one picture. Watch the short silent film.



1924 – J. Edgar Hoover assumes leadership of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Hoover served as its director until his death in 1972 at age 77.

1955 – The Eisenhower administration stages the first annual “Operation Alert” (OPAL) civil defense readiness exercise, an attempt to assess the America’s preparations for a nuclear attack.

1962 – Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) complete the Port Huron Statement, a radical manifesto written primarily by SDS co-founder Tom Hayden during a United Auto Workers retreat in Port Huron, Michigan. Hayden, married to Jane Fonda from 1973 to 1990, died in 2016 at age 76.

1982 – The Supreme Court rules that all children, regardless of citizenship, are entitled to a public education.

1983 – The Supreme Court strikes down two state and local restrictions on abortion. In the City of Akron v Akron Center, the court ruled against a law requiring parental consent for abortions for girls under age 15. On the same day the court also ruled against a Missouri law requiring abortions in the second trimester be performed at a hospital.

2012 – A rare working Apple I computer sells at a New York auction for a record $374,500. The 36-year-old circuit board was built by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Only 200 were made, and of the estimated 50 units that survive, only 6 are still working.


June 16

1858 – Abraham Lincoln says, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” when accepting the Illinois Republican Party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate. (From the Gospel of Mark 3:25)

1903 – “Pepsi-Cola” is officially registered with the U.S. Patent Office. Pepsi was invented in 1893 by Caleb David Bradham of North Carolina as “Brad’s Drink” and was sold to aid in digestion. He renamed it Pepsi after the two main ingredients, pepsin and cola. Bradham launched the company in the back room of his pharmacy in 1902.

1909 – Jim Thorpe makes his professional pitching debut in baseball for the Rocky Mount Railroaders with a 4-2 win. This caused him to forfeit his 1912 Olympic medals by violating the amateur status rules. Thorpe’s medals were restored in 1983, 30 years after his death.

1941 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the closure of all the German consulates in the U.S. by July 10th.

1966 – “Rowan & Martin Show” debuts on TV. The show was hosted by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. Rowan and Martin launched the cultural phenomenon “Laugh-In” in 1968. Watch one of the weekly joke walls.



1967 – Over 50,000 people attend the Monterey International Pop Festival in Monterey, California. Woodstock was held two years later.

1987 – Subway Vigilante Bernhard Goetz is acquitted on all but gun possession charges after shooting four black teenagers who tried to rob him on the subway.

2008 – California begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.


June 17

1885 – The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York City aboard French ship “Isere.” The metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel. The pedestal was completed in April 1886, after which the statue was assembled on the pedestal and dedicated in October. The plaque which starts, “Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,” comes from the poem “The New Colossus” written by Emma Lazarus. The poem was auctioned to raise money for the pedestal construction. The plaque inscribed with the poem was added in 1903.

1915 – The League to Enforce Peace is organized at Independence Hall in Philadelphia with former president William Howard Taft as its president. The LEP program eventually supported the League of Nations.

1928 – Amelia Earhart leaves Newfoundland to become the first woman passenger to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. The plane was piloted by Wilmer Stultz.

1932 – During the Bonus Army March about one thousand World War I veterans amass at the United States Capitol as the U.S. Senate considers a bill that would give them certain benefits. Watch a report using actual photos.



1950 – The first kidney transplant in the U.S. is performed on 44-year-old Ruth Tucker. Although Tucker’s body rejected the kidney, she lived for five more years with one functioning kidney.

1963 – The Supreme Court bans the required reading of the Lord’s Prayer and Bible reading in public schools in Abington School District v Schempp.

1972 – Five White House “plumbers” are apprehended after the second burglary of the Democratic National Headquarters in the Watergate Hotel.

1988 – Stella Nickell is sentenced to 90 years in prison in the first product tampering murder case after the 1982 Chicago Tylenol murders. Nickell was convicted of killing her husband and a woman by poisoning bottles of Extra-Strength Excedrin. Nickell, now 79 years old. was denied parole in 2022.

1994 – Murder suspect OJ Simpson leads Los Angeles police on a chase in his Ford Bronco for 1 and 1/2 hours. The slow motion car chase was seen live on TV. Watch a CNN report on the chase and hear the conversation between OJ and a helicopter pilot.



2015 – Nine people are shot and killed inside Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, by 21-year-old Dylann Roof. As a result of this event, Confederate flags were banned in many public buildings. Roof appealed his death sentence, but it was upheld by a federal appeals court in 2021.

2015 – The U.S. Treasury announces that the image of Alexander Hamilton would be replaced on the $10 bill by an image of a woman. In 2017, that idea was scrapped after the popularity of the Broadway musical “Hamilton.”


June 18

1873 – Susan B. Anthony is fined $100 for voting for president.

1898 – The first amusement park, Steel Pier, opens in Atlantic City, New Jersey. A fire severely damaged the park in 1924, but it was rebuilt, sold several times, and is still in operation.

1912 – The Chicago National Republican Convention splits between President Taft and former president Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909). After Taft is nominated, Roosevelt and progressive elements of the party form the Progressive Party (also known as the Bull Moose Party).

1928 – Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean as she completes a flight from Newfoundland to Wales.

1959 – A Federal Court annuls the Arkansas law allowing school closings to prevent integration.

1977 – The Space Shuttle test model “Enterprise” carries a crew aloft for the first time. It was fixed atop a modified Boeing 747. The Enterprise never flew into space. Watch the stacked crafts takeoff.



1979 – President Jimmy Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT II treaty limiting nuclear weapons. Six months later the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, so the treaty was never ratified by the Senate.

1983 – The Challenger Space Shuttle launches with Sally Ride on board as the first American woman in space. Ride died in 2012 at age 61. Watch an interview with Sally Ride.



2003 – Google launches AdSense, a program that enables website publishers to serve ads targeted to the specific content of their individual web pages.



Image from: air-and-space.com


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