This Week In History, March 24 -30 2014


by Dianne Hermann

“The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”
– Winston Churchill

Week of March 24-30, 2014

March 24

1664 – Roger Williams is granted a charter to colonize Rhode Island.

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 is in direct response to the British Quartering Act.

1832 – Mormon 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 is already married, becomes Smith’s 10th wife.

1900 – New York City Mayor Robert Anderson Van Wyck breaks ground for a new underground “Rapid Transit Railroad” that will link Manhattan and Brooklyn.


1935 – Major Bowes’ Original Amateur Hour goes national on the NBC Radio Network. Ted Mack, who supervises the auditions, hosts the TV version in 1955.

1947 – John D. Rockefeller, Jr. donates the NYC East River site to the United Nations. The UN is founded in October of 1945. Construction on the headquarters building begins in 1949 and is completed in 1952.

1949 – Walter and John Huston become the first father-and-son team to win Academy Awards in the same year. Movie: “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” Walter wins for Best Supporting Actor and John wins for Best Director.


1958 – Elvis Presley joins the army (serial number 53310761).

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 are found guilty, incarcerated until they are 21 years old, then released. In 2007 Johnson is indicted on federal weapons and drug charges. He is currently serving an 18-year sentence.


March 25

1851 – Yosemite Valley is discovered in California. Galen Clark is the park’s first guardian.


1863 – The Secretary of War awards the first Army Medal of Honor to six Union Army volunteers.

1939 – Billboard Magazine introduces hillbilly (country) music to the chart.

1960 – The first guided missile is launched from a nuclear powered sub, the Halibut.


1966 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules that a “poll tax” is unconstitutional. In Harper v Virginia Board of Elections the Court declares that the imposition of a poll tax in state elections violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

1987 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules that women/minorities may get jobs if less qualified as part of Affirmative Action.


March 26

1790 – Congress passes the Naturalization Act, requiring a 2-year residency.

1845 – Joseph Francis patents a corrugated sheet-iron lifeboat.

1910 – The U.S. forbids immigration to criminals, anarchists, paupers, and the sick.

1917 – The Seattle Metropolitans are the first U.S. hockey team to win the Stanley Cup.

1943 – U.S. army nurse 2nd Lt. Elsie S Ott is the first woman to receive an Air Medal.


1953 – Dr. Jonas Salk announces on the radio that the Polio vaccine has been successfully tested.


1982 – Ground-breaking takes place for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. The Wall is completed in November. The $9 million Memorial is paid for completely by private donations.

1999 – A jury in Michigan finds Dr. Jack Kevorkian guilty of second-degree murder for administering a lethal injection to a terminally ill man during a “physician-assisted suicide.


March 27

1794 – The United States Government establishes a permanent navy and authorizes the building of six frigates.

1860 – M. L. Byrn patents the “covered gimlet screw with a ‘T’ handle” (a.k.a. corkscrew).

1884 – The first long-distance telephone call is made from Boston to New York.

1956 – The U.S. seizes U.S. communist newspaper “Daily Worker” for non-payment of taxes. The newspaper is founded in 1924 by the American Communist Party. The last issue is published in January 1958.

1964 – An earthquake, 9.2 on the Richter scale, strikes Alaska, killing 118. It is the strongest earthquake to hit the U.S. In fact, nine of the top ten strongest earthquakes in the U.S. have hit Alaska.


1979 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules 8-1 that police can’t randomly stop cars because it violates the 4th Amendment protection from illegal search and seizure.


March 28

1774 – Britain passes the Coercive Acts against Massachusetts in response to the Boston Tea Party.

1866 – The first use of a hospital-based ambulance is recorded in Cincinnati, Ohio.

1885 – The U.S. Salvation Army is officially organized. William Booth and his wife Catherine start the Salvation Army in England in 1852.

1946 – The U.S. State Department releases the Acheson-Lilienthal Report, outlining a plan for the international control of nuclear power. It is written in large part by Robert Oppenheimer, the committee’s chief scientific consultant.

1966 – The inaugural Country & Western Music Academy Awards is held at the Palladium in Hollywood. Merle Haggard and Buck Owens are among the winners. Its name is changed to the Academy of County Music in the early 70s and is first aired on TV in 1972.

1979 – A partial meltdown causes a major nuclear accident at Nuclear Generating Station #2 at Three Mile Island in Middletown, Pennsylvania. There are no deaths and Station #2 is permanently shut down. Station #1 is still operational.


1990 – Jesse Owens is posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President George H. W. Bush. In the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Owens becomes 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.



March 29

1806 – Construction is authorized of the Great National Pike, better known as the Cumberland Road, becoming the first United States federal highway.

1867 – Congress approves the Lincoln Memorial. The Memorial is dedicated in 1922 and Lincoln’s only surviving son, 79-year-old Robert Todd Lincoln, is in attendance.


1932 – Jack Benny debuts on the radio on Ed Sullivan’s New York interview program.

1943 – Meat, butter, and cheese are rationed in the U.S. during WW II.

1951 – Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are convicted of spying. They are executed in 1953.

1961 – The 23rd Amendment is ratified, allowing Washington, DC residents to vote in presidential elections.

1971 – 1st Lt. William L Calley, Jr. is found guilty in the My Lai (Vietnam) massacre and is sentenced to life in prison with hard labor. Calley is transferred to house arrest pending appeal, where is serves 3 ½ years at Fort Benning, Georgia, before being released. He is finally pardoned in 1974 by President Nixon. Calley is now 70 years old.

1973 – U.S. troops leave Vietnam nine years after The Tonkin Resolution. Two U.S. ships are attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin by three Vietnamese Navy ships on August 2, 1964. At President LBJ’s request Congress passes the Resolution authorizing the president “to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force, to assist any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty requesting assistance in defense of its freedom.” President Nixon signs the repeal of the resolution in 1971.

1987 – During Wrestlemania III, 93,173 people watch Hulk Hogan beat Andre the Giant.


1999 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above the 10,000 mark for the first time ever (10006.78).


March 30

1842 – Dr. Crawford Long of Jefferson, Georgia, uses ether as an anesthetic during surgery for the first time.

1858 – Hyman L. Lipman of Philadelphia patents a pencil with an attached eraser.

1867 – The U.S. Secretary of State William Seward agrees to buy Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million, or 2 cents an acre, in what becomes known as Seward’s Folly. Gold is discovered in the Yukon in 1896.


1870 – Texas becomes the last confederate state readmitted to the Union after the Civil War.

1889 – John T. Reid opens the first U.S. golf course in Yonkers, New York.

1981 – President Ronald Reagan is shot and wounded by John Hinckley, Jr. Reagan recovers while Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity. Hinckley, who is now 58 years old, is still a resident of St. Elizabeth’s Mental Hospital in Washington, DC.


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