This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann
“No problem of human making is too great to be overcome by
human ingenuity, human energy, and the untiring hope of the human spirit.”
President George H. W. Bush
Week of June 3-9, 2019
1784 – Congress formally creates the U.S. Army to replace the disbanded Continental Army, which is created on June 14, 1775 by the Second Continental Congress.
1800 – John Adams moves to Washington, DC. He was the first president to live in what later becomes the capital of the United States.
1916 – The ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) is established by Congress.
1943 – A mob of 60 people from the Los Angeles Naval Reserve Armory beat up everyone perceived to be Hispanic, starting the week long Zoot Suit Riots. Watch a report on the history of Zoot Suits and the riots:
1953 – Alexander Cartwright, not Abner Doubleday, is officially credited by Congress as the founder of baseball.
1959 – The U.S. Air Force Academy holds its first graduation. The Class of 1959 had 207 graduates. The Air Force was separated from the Army and formed into its own branch of the military in 1947.
1968 – Valerie Solanas, author of the radical feminist SCUM Manifesto (Society for Cutting Up Men), attempts to assassinate Andy Warhol by shooting him. She was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, but deemed fit to stand trial. She was sentenced to three years in prison with the year she spent in a psychiatric ward counting as time served. Solonas continued to stalk Warhol, was arrested again in 1971, and institutionalized. Warhol died in 1987 at age 58. Solonas died in 1988 at age 52.
1976 – The U.S. is presented with the oldest known copy of 1215 AD Magna Carta (Latin for Great Charter) by the British for the U.S. bicentennial.
1989 – Sports casting legend Vin Scully broadcast 23 innings of baseball in two different cities on one day. Scully is now 91 years old.
2012 – Tiger Woods wins his 73rd Professional Golf Association tournament and ties Jack Nicklaus’s record. Woods now has 81 PGA wins, second to Sam Snead with 82 PGA wins.
1794 – Congress passes the Neutrality Act, banning Americans from serving in the armed forces of foreign countries.
1919 – The Senate passes the Women’s Suffrage bill, granting women the right to vote. Suffragette Susan B. Anthony died in 1906.
1939 – Sylvan Goldman introduces the first shopping cart in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was actually a folding chair frame mounted on wheels. Watch a brief history of Goldman’s shopping cart:
1954 – Arthur Murray flies the X-1A rocket plane to an altitude record of 27,000 miles.
1972 – Black activist Angela Davis is acquitted of aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder in the 1970 death of a court judge and the wounding of a prosecutor and juror during the trial of Jonathon Jackson, even though it was proven that Davis purchased the weapons used in the attack. Davis is now 75 years old.
1973 – A patent for the ATM (Automated Teller Machine) is granted to Don Wetzel, Tom Barnes, and George Chastain.
1985 – The Supreme Court, in a 6-3 ruling on Wallace v. Jaffree, strikes down the Alabama “moment of silence” law citing its purpose is to endorse religion and return voluntary prayer into public schools.
2003 – The House of Representatives passes a bill with a 282-139 vote that bans “partial birth” abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy. President Bush signed the bill is into law. The Supreme Court upheld the law in a 5-4 decision in 2007.
1752 – Benjamin Franklin flies a kite for the first time to demonstrate that lightning is a form of electricity.
1884 – Civil War General William T. Sherman refuses the Republican presidential nomination by saying, “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.”
1917 – Ten million U.S. men begin registering for the draft in World War I.
1947 – Secretary of State George C. Marshall outlines the “Marshall Plan,” or European Recovery Program, after World War II.
1967 – Murderer Richard Speck is sentenced to death in the electric chair for the murders of eight student nurses in their South Chicago home. He was also a suspect in the murder of many other people, mostly girls and women. His sentence was commuted to 50-100 years when the Supreme Court abolished the death penalty in 1972. Speck died of a heart attack in prison in 1991 at age 49.
1968 – Robert F. Kennedy, age 42, is assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan in Los Angeles after Kennedy wins the California presidential primary. Watch an ABC report that includes Kennedy’s speech and assassination aftermath:
1977 – The first personal computer, the Apple II designed by Steve Wozniak, goes on sale. By the end of production in 1993, between 5 and 6 million computers had been produced. The Woz is now 68 years old.
1981 – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that five men in Los Angeles are suffering from a rare pneumonia found in patients with weakened immune systems. They were the first recognized cases of what became known as AIDS.
2001 – Senator Jim Jeffords leaves the Republican Party to become an Independent, an act that shifts control of the U.S. Senate from the Republican to the Democrat Party. Jeffords retires from the Senate in 2006.
2012 – A gubernatorial recall election is held in Wisconsin. Governor Scott Walker won and became the first governor to survive a recall election.
2013 – The first article based on NSA documents leaked by former CIA employee Edward Snowden are published by the Guardian Newspaper in the U.K. Snowden, now 35 years old, took up temporary asylum in Russia, where he still remains.
1664 – New Amsterdam is renamed New York City.
1816 – Ten inches of snow falls in New England during the “year without a summer.” It may have been caused by a series of volcanic eruptions of Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1815.
1850 – Levi Strauss makes his first pair of blue jeans using rivets at the points of strain. Strauss died in 1902 at age 73 and left an estate estimated at $6 million.
1896 – George Harbo and Frank Samuelson of Norway leave New York harbor and row across the Atlantic Ocean in an 18-foot boat. It took the pair 55 days to row 3,270 miles.
1925 – Chrysler Corporation is founded Walter Percy Chrysler. Future Chrysler head Lee Iacocca was 8 months old.
1944 – The D-Day invasion of Europe takes place on the beaches of Normandy, France with 400,000 Allied American, British, and Canadian troops.
1966 – Stokely Carmichael launches the “Black Power” movement. He headed the Black Panther Party from 1967-1969. He moved to Africa in 1969 and changed his name to Kwame Ture and espoused anti-American, anti-Semitic, and Pro-Communist ideas. Carmichael died in 1998 at age 57 of prostate cancer, blaming the U.S. government for “infecting” him.
1981 – American sculptor and artist Maya Yang Lin wins the competition for the design the Vietnam War Memorial.
1983 – Betty White becomes the first woman to win Outstanding Game Show Host at the Daytime Emmy Awards for NBC’s “Just Men!” The show aired for only one season. White is 97 years old.
2005 – The Supreme Court rules that federal authorities can prosecute sick people who smoke marijuana on doctor’s orders. The ruling concluded that state medical marijuana laws do not protect users from the federal ban on the drug.
2015 – American Pharaoh becomes the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown. Watch the end of the 37-year-drought:
1775 – The United Colonies change their name to the United States.
1776 – Richard Henry Lee of Virginia proposes a resolution calling for a Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress.
1909 – “America’s Sweetheart” Mary Pickford makes her screen debut at the age of 16 in “Mrs. Jones Entertains.” She was one of the 36 original founding members of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences. Pickford died in 1979 at age 87. Watch an excerpt from one of her 1909 films:
1912 – Capt. Charles De Forest Chandler performs U.S. Army tests using the first machine gun mounted on a plane. Pilot Lieutenant Thomas De Witt Milling made several passes over a Maryland airfield at 50 miles per hour while Chandler fired a “Lewis” gun mounted on a swiveling turret at a cloth target on the ground, scoring hits with 45 out of 50 rounds. The Lewis gun was designed in 1911 by U.S. Army Col. Isaac Newton Lewis.
1939 – George VI and Elizabeth I are the first king and queen of England to visit the U.S. Watch a report on the royal visit:
1955 – The game show “The $64,000 Question” premieres on CBS-TV and airs until 1958. This and other game shows failed when it was discovered that the games were rigged or the contestants were coached.
1965 – Sony introduces its home video tape recorder, priced at $995.
1977 – Anita Bryant leads a successful crusade against Miami gay rights laws. Bryant, a singer, beauty pageant winner, and spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Commission, was an outspoken critic of homosexuality. Bryant is now 79 years old. Watch one of her orange juice commercials:
1994 – The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia declares that the RMS Titanic, Inc. is “Salvor in Possession” of the wreck and the wreck site of the RMS Titanic.
2000 – U.S. Federal Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson orders the breakup of Microsoft Corporation.
1789 – James Madison introduces a proposed Bill of Rights in the House of Representatives.
1861 – The U.S. Sanitary Commission is given executive approval by President Lincoln to offer medical care and provide general welfare during the Civil War.
1915 – Three-time presidential candidate and former Senator William Jennings Bryan (D-NE) resigns as Secretary of State over President Wilson’s handling of the sinking of the “Lusitania” in May.
1968 – James Earl Ray, alleged assassin of Martin Luther King Jr. is captured at a London airport. The two-month manhunt was the largest and most expensive investigation in FBI history. Ray was convicted and sentenced to 99 years in prison. Ray died in prison in 1998 at age 70.
1978 – A Nevada jury rules that the Howard Hughes “Mormon Will” is a forgery. Melvin Earl Dummar claimed he saved Hughes in the desert and should be awarded $156 million of Hughes’ estate as stated in his will. In 2006, Dummar sued the Hughes estate, claiming conspiracy to defraud him based on perjured testimony. A judge dismissed Dummar’s lawsuit in 2007. Dummar died in 2018 at age 74.
1982 – Ronald Reagan becomes the first president to address a joint session of the British Parliament. Watch part of his historic speech:
1998 – The National Rifle Association elects Charlton Heston as its president, who serves until 2003.
2018 – Summit, the world’s most powerful supercomputer, is launched at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. It is capable of making 200 quadrillion mathematical calculations per second.
1628 – In the first deportation from what is now the U.S., Thomas Morton was sent away from Massachusetts after he was charged with sedition for being a Royalist agitator.
1860 – The book “Malaeska, the Indian Wife of the White Hunter” by Ms. Ann Stevens is offered for sale for a dime. It was the first published “dime novel.”
1909 – Alice Huyler Ramsey, a 22-year-old housewife and mother from Hackensack, New Jersey, becomes the first woman to drive across the United States. She drove a Maxwell automobile with three female companions (none of whom could drive a car) the 3,800 miles from Manhattan, New York, to San Francisco, California, in 59 days.
1928 – Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith and Charles Ulm are the first to fly across the Pacific when they complete their flight from California to Australia. Both men disappeared during different trips while trying to set other distance records.
1931 – Robert Goddard patents the design of the first rocket-powered aircraft. He is considered the father of modern rocketry. Goddard died in 1945 at age 62.
1962 – Tony Bennett performs in a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The concert was released as a live album. Bennett is now 92 years old and is still performing.
1973 – Secretariat wins the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown. Secretariat set a track record in all three races that still stands. The most recent Triple Crown winner is Justify on June 9, 2018. Watch Secretariat’s record-setting run:
1985 – Thomas Sutherland, a professor at the American University of Beirut, is kidnapped and held hostage in Lebanon for 2,253 days (6 years, 2 months), making him the 2nd longest held Iranian captive after Terry Anderson. In June 2001, the Sutherland family won a $323 million verdict in a lawsuit against the frozen assets of the Iranian government. He has received $35 million. Sutherland died in 2016 at age 85.
2000 – Canada and the United States sign a border security agreement. The agreement called for the establishment of a border-enforcement team.
2014 – Laverne Cox (born Roderick Laverne Cox) becomes the first transgender person to appear on the cover of “Time” Magazine.
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