This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann
“If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall
possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in
need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” Samuel Adams
March 22-28, 2021
1622 – In the first Indian (Powhatan) massacre of whites in Jamestown Virginia, 347 pilgrims are slain.
1765 – The Stamp Act is passed. It was the first direct British tax on colonists and it taxed all printed materials, including documents, newspapers, and playing cards. Following months of protests and riots in the Colonies, the Stamp Act was repealed one year later.
1794 – Congress bans U.S. vessels from supplying slaves to other countries.
1871 – William Holden of North Carolina is the first governor removed from office by impeachment. Holden was charged and convicted of declaring martial law, unlawfully raising troops, illegally declaring counties to be in a state of insurrection, illegally arresting citizens, seizing, detaining, imprisoning, and depriving those citizens of their liberty and privileges as freemen, and refusing to obey a writ of habeas corpus.
1946 – The WAC rocket, the first U.S. rocket to leave the Earth’s atmosphere, travels 50 miles up. Early rockets were named for enlisted ranks in the Army. WAC stands for Women’s Army Corps.
1972 – The Senate passes the Equal Rights Amendment, but has not been ratified. Only 35 of the required 38 states ratified the amendment by the 1979 deadline. Congress passed, and President Carter signed, a deadline extension to 1982, but no more stated ratified it.
1980 – People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is founded by British-born Ingrid Newkirk and American-born Alex Pacheco. Watch Newkirk discuss why she thinks there is no “humane meat.”
2006 – British forces in Baghdad rescue 3 Christian Peacemaker Teams hostages after 118 days captivity. Their colleague, American Tom Fox, was found dead with gunshots in his head and chest.
1775 – Patrick Henry proclaims, while urging fellow Virginians to arm in self-defense, “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”
1857 – Elisha Otis’ first elevator is installed in New York City.
1920 – Britain denounces the U.S. because of their delay in joining the League of Nations. The U.S. never joined the League of Nations and it was disbanded in 1946.
1936 – Dr. Joseph G. Hamilton injects a leukemia patient with a sodium radioisotope, the first intravenous injection of a human with a radioisotope. Hamilton and his research team also injected plutonium into 18 unsuspecting patients to observe the effects of radiation on humans. Hamilton died in 1957 at age 49 of leukemia. His death was ruled an industrial accident since it was suspected his disease was a consequence of his work.
1965 – Gemini 3 is launched, sending into space “Molly Brown,” the first 2-man U.S. flight with Gus Grissom and John Young on board. Grissom was one of three astronauts killed in a launch pad fire in 1967. Young went on to command the first Space Shuttle flight in 1981. Watch the launch into space.
1972 – Daredevil motorcycle driver Evel Knievel breaks his collarbone after successfully clearing 13 cars in Detroit, Michigan, on his Harley-Davidson XR-750. He holds the Guinness World Record for the most broken bones with over 400 by the end of 1975. Knievel died in 2007 at age 69.
1983 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan introduces the “Star Wars” plan (Strategic Defense Initiative).
1987 – The first Soul Train Awards is held in Los Angeles and is hosted by Luther Vandross and Dionne Warwick. Watch a performance of “That’s What Friends Are For” featuring Dionne and her niece, the late Whitney Houston.
2005 – The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, refuses to order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube. Schiavo died 2 weeks later at age 41 after suffering irreversible brain damage 15 years earlier. Terri had been in a persistent vegetative state since 1990 and was the subject of multiple legal battles.
2013 – The Senate approves its first budget in four years by a margin of 50–49. President Obama failed to submit a constitutionally required budget during his first term.
1765 – Britain enacts the Quartering Act, requiring colonists to provide temporary housing to British soldiers. The Third Amendment of the Constitution restricting the housing of soldiers during peacetime was in direct response to the British Quartering Act.
1832 – Mormon leader Joseph Smith is beaten, tarred, and feathered in Ohio by a mob led by the brother of then 16-year-old Nancy Miranda. In 1842, Miranda, who was already married, becomes Smith’s 10th wife.
1935 – Major Bowes’ Original Amateur Hour goes national on the NBC Radio Network. Ted Mack, who supervised the auditions, hosted the TV version in 1955. Listen to the oldest known recording of the show with the Hoboken Four featuring a very young Frank Sinatra.
1947 – John D. Rockefeller, Jr. donates the NYC East River site to the United Nations. The UN was founded in October of 1945. Construction on the headquarters building began in 1949 and was completed in 1952.
1949 – Walter and John Huston become the first father-and-son team to win Academy Awards in the same year. Walter won for Best Supporting Actor and John won for Best Director for “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.”
1998 – Two students, Andrew Golden, age 11, and Mitchell Johnson, age 13, fire on teachers and students at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas, killing five people and wounding ten. Both were found guilty, incarcerated until they were 21 years old, then released. In 2007, Johnson was indicted on federal weapons and drug charges. He was released on parole in July 2015. Golden and Johnson, now 33 and 35 respectively, are the only living mass school shooters who are not incarcerated.
2014 – The U.S. and its allies announce they will exclude Russia from the G8 meeting and boycott a planned summit in Sochi in response to Russia’s takeover of Crimea. The G7 summit was held in Brussels in June with a condemnation of Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.
1851 – Yosemite Valley is discovered in California. Yosemite became a national park in 1890. Naturalist John Muir helped draw its boundaries in 1889 and co-founded the Sierra Club in 1892 to help protect it.
1863 – The Secretary of War awards the first Army Medals of Honor to six Union Army volunteers.
1911 – 145 women die in a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City. The doors were locked so the mostly teenaged, non-English speaking girls could not get out the 4th floor sweatshop.
1931 – The “Scottsboro Boys” are arrested in Alabama. Nine young men were falsely accused of sexually assaulting two women on a train. All but the 12-year-old boy were convicted and sentenced to death. Eventually, the Supreme Court overturned the convictions based on the violation of due process clause and the men are retried. They were still convicted of rape, but were sentenced to varied-length prison terms.
1958 – Sugar Ray Robinson becomes the first boxing champion to win 5 titles when he defeats Carmen Basilio in 15 rounds by a split decision. Watch the second half of the fight.
1966 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules that a “poll tax” is unconstitutional. In Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections, the Court declared that the imposition of a poll tax in state elections violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
1987 – The Supreme Court rules that women and minorities may get jobs if they are less qualified as part of Affirmative Action.
2004 – The Senate votes (61-38) on the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (H.R. 1997), making it a separate crime to harm a fetus during the commission of a violent federal crime.
1790 – Congress passes the Naturalization Act, requiring 2-year U.S. residency.
1910 – The U.S. forbids immigration of criminals, anarchists, paupers, and the sick.
1943 – U.S. army nurse 2nd Lt. Elsie S. Ott is the first woman to receive an Air Medal. Ott was awarded the medal by Brig. Gen. Fred W. Borum for her role in the emergency evacuation of five military personnel from India to the U.S. and her medical information for future rescues.
1953 – Dr. Jonas Salk announces on the radio that the Polio vaccine has been successfully tested. Watch a report with actual footage of Salk administering the vaccine to children.
1982 – Ground-breaking takes place for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. The Wall was completed in November. The $9 million Memorial was paid for completely by private donations.
1997 – Comet Hale-Bopp makes its closest approach to Earth (1.315 Astronomical Units). It was visible in the Northern Hemisphere for about 16 months. About 40 people who were part of the “Heaven’s Gate” cult in San Diego committed mass suicide as the comet came close to Earth. Watch news footage featuring a former member.
1999 – A Michigan jury finds Dr. Jack Kevorkian guilty of second-degree murder for administering a lethal injection to a terminally ill man during a “physician-assisted suicide.” He was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison. Kevorkian was paroled in 2007 after being diagnosed with Hepatitis C. He died in 2011 at age 83.
2007 – The U.S. Postal Service unveils the design for the “Forever Stamp.” There is no price printed on the stamp so, once purchased, it can be used by customers even if the price of a postage stamp increases.
1794 – The U.S. Government establishes a permanent navy and authorizes the building of six frigates.
1912 – The first cherry blossom trees are planted in Washington, DC. The trees were a gift from Japan.
1956 – The U.S. seizes the U.S. communist newspaper “Daily Worker” for non-payment of taxes. The newspaper was founded in 1924 by the American Communist Party. The last issue was published in January 1958.
1964 – An earthquake, 9.2 on the Richter scale, strikes Alaska, killing 118. It was the strongest earthquake to hit the U.S. In fact, nine of the top ten strongest earthquakes in the U.S. have hit Alaska. Watch amateur film footage of the aftermath.
1979 – The Supreme Court rules 8-1 that police can’t randomly stop cars because it violates the 4th Amendment protection from illegal search and seizure.
1998 – The U.S. FDA approves the prescription drug Viagra. It is the first pill for male impotence.
2007 – National Football League owners vote to make the instant replay a permanent officiating tool.
1774 – Britain passes the Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts, against Massachusetts colonists in response to the Boston Tea Party.
1885 – The U.S. Salvation Army is officially organized. William Booth and his wife Catherine started the Salvation Army in England in 1852.
1917 – The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) is founded during World War I.
1921 – President Warren Harding nominates former president William Howard Taft as chief justice of the Supreme Court. Taft is the only former president to also serve on the Supreme Court.
1946 – The U.S. State Department releases the Acheson-Lilienthal Report, outlining a plan for the international control of nuclear power. It was written in large part by Robert Oppenheimer, the committee’s chief scientific consultant, who is known as “the father of the atomic bomb.”
1966 – The inaugural Country & Western Music Awards is held at the Palladium in Hollywood. Merle Haggard and Buck Owens were among the winners. Its name was changed to the Academy of Country Music in the early 70s and the award show was first aired on TV in 1972 (7th Annual). Loretta Lynn and Freddie Hart won as top female and male vocalists.
1979 – A partial meltdown causes a major nuclear accident at Nuclear Generating Station #2 at Three Mile Island in Middletown, Pennsylvania. There were no deaths and Station #2 was permanently shut down. Station #1 was shut down in September 2019. Watch an ABS News report.
1990 – Jesse Owens is posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President George H. W. Bush. In the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Owens became the first American in Olympic Track and Field history to win four gold medals in a single Olympiad. Owens died in 1980 at age 66.
2010 – China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Company signs a deal to buy Ford Motor Company’s Volvo car unit for $1.8 billion.
Image from: cnn.com