This Week in History: June 24-30, 2024

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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

June 24-30, 2024




June 24

1795 – The Senate ratifies the Jay Treaty between the U.S. and Great Britain It was the first treaty that used arbitration to resolve issues. Negotiated by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay, the treaty resolved trading and land issues. Jay was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

1853 – President Franklin Pierce signs the Gadsden Purchase (29,670 square miles) from Mexico (now southern Arizona and New Mexico) for $10 million.

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.



1957 – In Roth v. United States the Supreme Court rules that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment. The ruling upheld the conviction of Samuel Roth for sending “obscene, lewd, lascivious or filthy” materials through the mail.

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. 



1972 – Bernice Gera becomes the first female umpire in a minor league baseball game. She resigned when none of the other umpires would work with her on the field. Gera died in 1992 at age 61. Only nine women have ever umpired minor league baseball games.

1982 – In Nixon v. Fitzgerald the Supreme Court rules 5-4 that the president can’t be sued for his actions while in office.

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.

2002 – In Roper v. Simmons the Supreme Court rules 5-4 that juries, not judges, must make the decision to give a convicted killer the death penalty.


June 25

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.”

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. In 1863, Custer (age 23) was appointed a Union Brigadier General. He graduated last in his class from West Point in 1957.

1948 – President Harry Truman signs the Displaced Persons Bill, allowing 205,000 European victims of Nazi persecution into the U.S.

1962 – In Engel v. Vitale the Supreme Court rules 6-1 that the use of unofficial non-denominational prayer in public schools is unconstitutional.

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. Only Namath, now 81, is still living. Watch an interview with Joe Namath about OJ on The Howard Stern Show.



1990 – In Cruzan v. Missouri the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, upholds the right of an individual, whose wishes are clearly made, to refuse life-sustaining medical treatment in “The right to die” decision.

2008 – Facebook (now Meta) 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 sued 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 wrote the majority decision and the late Justice Scalia wrote the dissenting opinion.


June 26

1870 – The Christian holiday of Christmas is declared a federal holiday in the U.S.

1900 – U.S. Army physician Dr. Walter Reed begins research that, in 1901, leads to the discovery of how to treat Yellow Fever. His experiments with other doctors in Cuba proved that mosquitoes transmit Yellow Fever.

1945 – The UN Charter is signed by 50 nations in San Francisco, California.

1948 – The Berlin Airlift begins as the United States, Britain, and France start ferrying supplies to the isolated western sector of Berlin, Germany. The airlift lasted 323 days.

1974 – The Universal Product Code (UPC) is scanned for the first time to sell a package of Wrigley’s chewing gum at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio.

1977 – Elvis Presley sings in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was the last performance of his career. Presley died on August 16th at age 42. Watch Presley perform the last song he ever sang live.


1996 – The Supreme Court, in a 7-1 decision, orders that the Virginia Military Institute must admit women or forgo state support.

1997 – In Reno v. ACLU the Supreme Court rules 7-2 to strike down the Communications Decency Act of 1996 that made it illegal to distribute indecent material on the Internet.

2000 – The Human Genome Project and Celera Genomics Corp. jointly announce that they created a working draft of the human genome.

2008 – In District of Columbia v. Heller the Supreme Court rules 5-4 that the ban on handguns in the District of Columbia is unconstitutional. Justice Scalia wrote the majority opinion.

2015 – In Obergefell v. Hodges the Supreme Court rules 5-4 that same-sex marriage is a legal across all U.S. states. Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion and Justice Scalia wrote one of the dissenting opinions.


June 27

1778 – The Liberty Bell is returned to Philadelphia from Northampton Town (now Allentown) where it was hidden until after the British depart following the Revolutionary War.

1833 – Prudence Crandall, a white woman, is arrested for conducting an academy for black females at Canterbury, Connecticut.

1893 – The New York stock market crashes. By the end of the year, 600 banks and 74 railroads had gone out of business. This is why the period of time following the stock market crash of 1929 is called the “Great” Depression.

1922 – The first Newbery Medal for the year’s best children’s book is presented to Hendrik Van Loon for “The Story of Mankind.” The award was named for the eighteenth-century English bookseller John Newbery.

1940 – Robert Pershing Wadlow’s height is measured at 8′ 11.1″, making him the tallest person in history according to Guinness World Records. The Illinois native has a shoe size of 37AA. He was only 22 at the time of his death on July 15, 1940. Watch a slide show of his life.



1942 – The FBI captures eight Nazi saboteurs from a sub off New York’s Long Island before they were able to carry out destructive acts against the U.S. The Nazis recruited eight Germans who lived in the U.S. for Operation Pastorius. All eight men were found guilty in a military tribunal. One was sentenced to life in prison, another to 30 years, while six were sentenced to death. They were executed within a few weeks.

1950 – North Korean troops reach Seoul and the UN asks its members to aid South Korea. Harry Truman ordered the U.S. Air Force and Navy into the Korean conflict. An armistice was signed in 1953, but the war was never formally ended.

1976 – The first 157 women are admitted to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In October 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed legislation permitting women to enter the United States service academies.

1979 – In United Steelworkers v. Weber the Supreme Court rules 5-2 that employers may use quotas to help minorities.

2001 – The International Court of Justice finds against the United States in its judgment in the LaGrand Case. The German-born LaGrand brothers were sentenced to death for killing a man in an armed bank robbery in Arizona. The brothers Karl-Heinz and Walter contacted the German consulate for assistance under the Vienna Convention. Despite intervention by the German Ambassador and a member of the German Parliament the brothers were executed in 1999.

2003 – The U.S. National Do Not Call Registry, formed to combat unwanted telemarketing calls and administered by the Federal Trade Commission, enrolls almost three-quarters of a million phone numbers on its first day.

2008 – Bill Gates steps down as Chairman of Microsoft Corporation to work full time for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


June 28

1778 – Mary Ludwig Hayes, aka “Molly Pitcher,” aids American patriots during the Revolutionary War Battle of Monmouth by carrying water to wounded soldiers. Hayes took over operation of her husband’s cannon after he collapsed during the battle. Hayes died in 1832 at age 87. Watch a short bio of Molly.



1938 – Congress creates the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to insure construction loans.

1960 – Fidel Castro confiscates American-owned oil refineries in Cuba without compensation.

1978 – The Supreme Court orders University of California Davis Medical School to admit Allan Bakke, a white man and former marine, who claims reverse discrimination after his application is twice rejected. Bakke graduated from U.C. Davis medical school in 1982 and worked as an anesthesiologist at the Mayo Clinic. Bakke is now 81 years old.

1996 – The Citadel votes to admit women, ending a 153-year-old men-only policy at the South Carolina military school. The unanimous vote by the school governing board came after the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the all-male admissions policy at the Virginia Military Institute.

2010 – In McDonald v. City of Chicago the Supreme Court rules 5-4 that Americans have the right to own a gun for self-defense anywhere they live.


June 29

1767 – The British pass the Townshend Revenue Act, which levies taxes on the colonists for items such as glass, paint, paper, and tea.

1940 – The U.S. passes the Alien Registration Act, known as the Smith Act. It set criminal penalties for advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government by non-citizens, expanded deportation, and required immigrants to register and be fingerprinted.

1956 – The National Interstate and Defense Highways Act is signed by President Eisenhower, authorizing the construction of 41,000 miles of interstate highways from coast to coast.

1972 – The Supreme Court rules in Furman v. Georgia in a 5-4 decision that the death penalty could constitute “cruel and unusual punishment.” The ruling prompted states to revise their capital punishment laws.

1979 – The San Diego Chicken (Ted Giannoulas) has a “grand hatching” at baseball’s Jack Murphy Stadium after the local radio station fires the mascot and then loses a lawsuit to keep Giannoulas from making appearances as the Chicken. Ted Giannoulas was originally hired by the radio station in 1974 for $2 an hour to wear a chicken costume for a week to hand out Easter eggs at a zoo. He then volunteered to appear in a chicken costume at the Padres games. He’s been doing it ever since! Watch the Grand Hatching.



1994 – President Clinton reopens the Guantanamo Naval Base to process Haitian refugees.

2006 – The Supreme Court rules in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld in a 6-3 decision that President George W. Bush’s plan to try Guantanamo Bay detainees in military tribunals violates U.S. and international law.


June 30

1859 – Charles Blondin is the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Blondin walked the 1,100’ across the falls 160’ above the water before a crowd of 25,000 people without a safety net or harness.

1906 – The Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act are adopted during the Teddy Roosevelt administration.

1938 – Superman first appears in DC Comics’ Action Comics Series issue #1. In 2021, an Action Comics #1 sold for $3.25 million, making it the most expensive comic ever sold.

1971 – The 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified when Ohio becomes the 38th state to approve it. The amendment lowered the minimum voting age to 18.

1998 – Officials confirm that the remains of a Vietnam War serviceman buried in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery have been identified through DNA tests as those of Air Force pilot Michael J. Blassie. Watch part of the solemn ceremony to exhume Blassie’s body.



2000 – President Clinton signs the E-Signature bill, giving the same legal validity to an electronic signature as a signature in pen and ink.




Image from: nbcnews.com


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