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.”
Week of June 25-July 1, 2018
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.”
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 – The Supreme Court rules that the use of unofficial non-denominational prayer in public schools is unconstitutional.
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.
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.
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 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.
1721 – Dr. Zabdiel Boylston of Massachusetts gives the first untested smallpox inoculation in America to his own son.
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 beat Yellow Fever. His experiments with other doctors in Cuba proved that mosquitoes transmit Yellow Fever.
1934 – President FDR signs the Federal Credit Union Act establishing credit unions.
1948 – The Berlin Airlift begins as the United States, Britain, and France start ferrying supplies to the isolated western sector of Berlin, Germany.
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 sings live:
1996 – The Supreme Court orders the Virginia Military Institute to admit women or forgo state support. The first co-ed class of 30 women were admitted in 1997.
1997 – In Reno v. ACLU the Supreme Court strikes down the Communications Decency Act of 1996 that made it illegal to distribute indecent material on the Internet.
2008 – In District of Columbia v. Heller the Supreme Court rules that the ban on handguns in the District of Columbia is unconstitutional. Justice Scalia delivered the majority opinion.
2015 – The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, rules 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.
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.
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. 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 carry out any destructive acts against the U.S. All eight men are found guilty. One is sentenced to life in prison, another to 30 years, while six are sentenced to death. They are executed within a few days.
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 – The Supreme Court rules employers may use quotas to help minorities.
1983 – Americans Maxie Anderson and Don Ida die during a gas balloon race in France commemorating the 200th anniversary of man’s first flight. After a mechanical malfunction they made an emergency landing to avoid flying into Communist East Germany and crash in a forest. Anderson was 48 and Ida was 49.
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.
1770 – Quakers open a school for blacks in Philadelphia.
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.
1820 – Col. Robert Gibbon Johnson from Salem County, New Jersey, eats tomatoes to prove they are not poisonous, as was thought.
1938 – Congress creates the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to insure construction loans.
1956 – The first atomic reactor built for private research begins operation on the Chicago Institute of Technology campus for the Armour Research Foundation.
1968 – Daniel Ellsberg is indicted for leaking the Pentagon Papers, copies he made of classified documents that are ultimately published in the New York Times.
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 78 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 declares unconstitutional the all-male admissions policy at the Virginia Military Institute.
1997 – Mike Tyson is disqualified for biting Evander Holyfield’s ear after three rounds of their boxing heavyweight title fight in Las Vegas, Nevada. Watch it happen:
2007 – The American bald eagle is removed from the endangered species list.
2010 – The Supreme Court rules in a 5-4 decision that Americans have the right to own a gun for self-defense anywhere they live.
1767 – The British pass the Townshend Revenue Act, which levies taxes on the colonists for items such as glass, paint, paper, and tea.
1891 – The U.S. National Forest Service is organized.
1940 – The U.S. passes the Alien Registration Act, known as the Smith Act, requiring immigrants to register.
1953 – The Federal Highway Act authorizes the construction of 42,500 miles of freeways from coast to coast.
1972 – The Supreme Court rules that the death penalty could constitute “cruel and unusual punishment.” The ruling prompts 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 is 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 volunteers to appear in a chicken costume at the Padres games. He’s been doing it ever since! Watch the Grand Hatching:
2006 – In Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld the Supreme Court rules that President George W. Bush’s plan to try Guantanamo Bay detainees in military tribunals violates U.S. and international law.
1834 – Congress expands the Indian Territory with the Trade Act to include what is now Oklahoma.
1859 – Charles Blondin is the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Blondin walks the 1,100 feet 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.
1933 – The U.S. Assay Offices (tests the purity to precious metals like gold and silver) close in Helena, Montana, Boise, Idaho, and Salt Lake City, Utah. They all opened in 1869.
1940 – The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service forms.
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.
1974 – Soviet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov defects to the west. He became an American citizen in 1986. Baryshnikov is 70 years old.
1994 – The U.S. Figure Skating Association strips Tonya Harding of the 1994 national championship and bans her from the organization for life for the attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan.
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:
2013 – Nineteen fire fighters are killed trying to control a wildfire in Yarnell, Arizona.
1836 – President Andrew Jackson announces to Congress the bequest by James Smithson of 100,000 gold sovereigns to start the institution in Washington, DC that bears his name.
1874 – Four-year-old Charles Ross of Germantown, Pennsylvania, is the first U.S. kidnapping victim using a ransom note. He was held for $20,000 while the kidnappers wrote a total of 23 ransom letters over a five-month period. Two suspects were shot during a robbery attempt and admitted to kidnapping Charlie before they die. Charlie was never found although his father and mother search for him until their deaths in 1897 and 1912 respectively.
1898 – Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders charge up San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War. Roosevelt Was elected president in 1901.
1905 – The USDA Forest Service is created within the Department of Agriculture. The agency was given the mission to sustain healthy, diverse, and productive forests and grasslands for present and future generations.
1943 – The U.S. Government begins automatically withholding federal income tax from paychecks.
1963 – The U.S. postal service institutes the zip code (Zone Improvement Plan).
1966 – Medicare becomes available as a result of the Medicare Act being signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 31, 1965.
1971 – The cost of building the Golden Gate Bridge, completed in 1933, is paid in full. There is still a toll, however, to cross the bridge ($7.50 for cars and motorcycles). Watch a video of the amazing statistics about the bridge:
1987 – John Kevin Hill, at age 11, becomes the youngest to fly across the U.S. when he lands at National Airport in Washington, DC.
2015 – The U.S. and Cuba announce an agreement to re-open embassies and establish full diplomatic ties.
Image from historynet.com