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 May 27-June 2, 2019
May 27 – Memorial Day
1692 – The Court of Oyer and Terminer is established by the Governor of Massachusetts to hear the excessive amount of accusations of witchcraft.
1873 – The first Preakness Stakes race is won by Survivor by 10 lengths in 2:43. The Preakness is the second jewel of the Triple Crown, between the Kentucky Derby (first run in 1875) and the Belmont Stakes (first run in 1867). The term “Triple Crown” was first used when Gallant Fox won all three races in 1930.
1930 – The 1,046-foot Chrysler Building in New York City, the tallest man-made structure at the time, opens to the public. Watch a short documentary about the building:
1937 – San Francisco Bay’s Golden Gate Bridge opens to pedestrian traffic. It opened to vehicular traffic the following day.
1969 – Construction begins on Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The theme park opened in October 1971.
1981 – John Hinckley, Jr. attempts suicide by overdosing on Tylenol while awaiting trial for his assassination attempt on President Reagan. Hinckley, released from St. Elizabeths Hospital in 2016, is now 63 years old.
1995 – Actor Christopher Reeve is paralyzed from the neck down after falling from his horse in a riding competition in Culpeper, Virginia. Reeve died in 2004 at age 52. Watch a news report about Reeves (starts at 21 seconds):
1998 – Michael Fortier is sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined $200,000 for failing to warn authorities about the Oklahoma City bombing terrorist plot.
1863 – The first black regiment (54th Massachusetts) leaves Boston to fight in the Civil War.
1892 – The Sierra Club is organizes in San Francisco, California.
1928 – Dodge Brothers Inc. is sold to the Chrysler Corporation. Both founding Dodge brothers, John and Horace, died in 1920. Their widows sold the company to Dillon, Reed & Company in 1925 for $146 million, the largest cash transaction in history to date.
1929 – Warner Brothers debut the movie “On With The Show” in New York City. It was the first all-color talking picture.
1952 – The Memphis Kiddie Park opens in Brooklyn, Ohio. The park’s Little Dipper roller coaster is the oldest steel roller coaster operating in the same location in North America. Watch kids enjoy the less than thrilling ride:
1959 – Space monkeys Able and Baker fly 300 miles into space on the Jupiter missile, becoming the first animals safely retrieved from a space mission. Able died in 1959 and Baker died in 1984 at the age of 27.
1972 – White House “plumbers” break into the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel during the Nixon administration. The scandal eventually led to President Nixon’s resignation in 1974.
1996 – President Bill Clinton’s former business partners in the Whitewater land deal, James and Susan McDougal, and Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker, are all convicted of fraud. James McDougal died in 1998 at age 58 while in solitary confinement, Susan McDougal was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001, and Jim Guy Tucker, sentenced to four years of probation, is now 75 years old.
1997 – Linda Finch completes Amelia Earhart’s attempted around-the-world flight in a restored 1930s Electra 10E. Watch a video about the historic flight recreation:
2016 – Harambe, a 17-year-old Lowland Gorilla in the Cincinnati Zoo, is shot and killed by zoo staff after dragging around a 3-year-old boy who fell into its enclosure. Watch the frantic moments after the child falls in:
1677 – The Treaty of Middle Plantation establishes peace between the Virginia colonists and the local Indians.
1765 – Patrick Henry delivers his historic speech against the Stamp Act, answering a cry of “Treason!” with, “If this be treason, make the most of it!”
1851 – Sojourner Truth addresses the first Black Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. Truth died in 1883 at age 86.
1916 – The official flag of the U.S. president is adopted after President Woodrow Wilson signs Executive Order #2390.
1942 – Bing Crosby records the song “White Christmas,” the greatest selling song of all time.
1977 – Janet Guthrie becomes the first woman to drive in the Indianapolis 500. AJ Foyt won it for a record fourth time. Watch a NASCAR video about Guthrie:
2004 – The World War II Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C.
2015 – The U.S. removes Cuba from the state-sponsored terrorism list.
1806 – Future president Andrew Jackson kills Charles Dickinson in a duel after Dickinson accuses Jackson of cheating on a horse race and then insulting his wife.
1822 – Two slaves betray fellow slave Denmark Vesey in a slave revolt conspiracy. Charleston, South Carolina, authorities charged 131 men with conspiracy. In total, 67 men were convicted and 35 were hanged, including Denmark Vesey.
1848 – Mexico ratifies the treaty giving the United States (what is now) New Mexico, California, and parts of Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado in return for $15 million.
1868 – Decoration Day (now Memorial Day) is first observed when two women in Columbus, Mississippi, place flowers on both Confederate and Union graves.
1896 – The first automobile accident occurs when Henry Wells hits a bicyclist in New York City.
1922 – The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC is dedicated and opens to the public. A commission to plan a monument was first proposed in 1867, shortly after Lincoln’s death. Construction began in 1914. Watch actual footage of the dedication (no sound):
1958 – The remains of unidentified soldiers killed in World War II and the Korean War are buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier sarcophagus was placed above the grave of World War I soldiers that was built in 1921. The Tomb of the Unknowns is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
1970 – Baseball All-Star Game voting is returned to the fans. From 1958 to 1969 baseball mangers, players, and coaches made the All-Star selections.
1987 – North American Philips Company unveils the compact disc video.
1991 – The Supreme Court rules that prosecutors can be sued for legal advice they give police and can also be held accountable.
1868 – The first Memorial Day parade is held in Ironton, Ohio.
1884 – Dr. John Harvey Kellogg patents “flaked cereal.” The cereal was created by accident by the doctor and his brother at a sanitarium.
1917 – “Darktown Strutters Ball,” written by Shelton Brooks and recorded by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, is released as the first jazz record. See still photos and listen to the original recording:
1935 – Babe Ruth grounds out in his final at bat. When he retired, Ruth held the record for the most home runs and the most strikeouts.
1955 – The Supreme Court orders that all states must end racial segregation “with all deliberate speed.”
1989 – The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Jim Wright (D-TX), resigns. He was the first Speaker of the House to resign because of a scandal. Wright was accused of ethics violations for using the bulk sale of his book “Reflections of a Public Man” to circumvent the maximum limit on annual outside earned income.
1994 – The U.S. announces it is no longer aiming long-range nuclear missiles at targets in the former Soviet Union.
2003 – Eric Robert Rudolph is captured in North Carolina. He had been on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list for five years for several bombings, including the 1996 Olympic bombing. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
2012 – The New York District Attorney, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announces a 184-count indictment against Abacus Federal Savings Bank for mortgage fraud. After a four-month trial in 2015, the bank and its officers were acquitted of all charges. Abacus, a Chinese-American owned bank, was the only bank indicted after the 2008 sub-prime banking crisis. It was the subject of a 2016 documentary, “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.”
1638 – The first earthquake recorded in the U.S. hits Plymouth, Massachusetts.
1657 – The first Quakers arrive in New Amsterdam (now New York City).
1660 – Mary Dyer is hanged for defying a law banning Quakers from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1789 – The first U.S. congressional act becomes law. The law regulated the time and manner of administering oaths of office.
1813 – Capt. John Lawrence utters the future Navy motto “Don’t give up the ship” after being mortally wounded during a battle between his U.S. Navy vessel Chesapeake and the British gunship Shannon. (Note: After his death, Lawrence’s crew gives up the ship to the British.)
1880 – The U.S. census exceeds 50 million people (50,155,783).
1890 – The U.S. census exceeds 60 million people (62,622,250). The current population from the U.S. Census Bureau census is about 329 million people. The next census will be taken in 2020.
1908 – John Krohn begins his walk around the perimeter of the U.S. pushing a wheelbarrow. Krohn, started westbound from Portland, Maine, walked 9,024 miles in 357 days. He wore out 11 pairs of shoes, 112 pairs of socks, and 5 wheels on the wheelbarrow. He wrote a book about his experiences called “The Walk of Colonial Jack.”
1936 – The Queen Mary arrives in New York, completing its maiden voyage. The ship departed Southampton, England, on May 27th. Watch a silent video of its arrival in New York:
1963 – Alabama Governor George Wallace (D) vows to defy an injunction that orders the integration of the University of Alabama.
1978 – The U.S. reports finding wiretaps in the American Embassy in Moscow, Russia.
2007 – Jack Kevorkian is released from prison after serving eight years of his 10-25 year prison term for second-degree murder in the 1998 death of Thomas Youk, 52, of Oakland County, Michigan. Kevorkian died in 2011 at age 83.
2008 – NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander becomes the first spacecraft to scoop up Martian soil. Watch a report and animation of the Mars Lander:
1897 – Mark Twain, at age 61, in responding to rumors that he had died, is quoted by the New York Journal as saying “the report of my death was an exaggeration.” Twain died in 1910 at age 74.
1913 – The first strike settlement is mediated by the U.S. Department of Labor for railroad clerks.
1924 – U.S. citizenship is granted to all American Indians.
1957 – Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation” airs the first television interview with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.
1966 – U.S. space probe Surveyor 1 successfully lands on the moon and starts sending photographs of the Moon’s surface back to Earth. It was the first attempt at a soft landing on the Moon. Watch a newsreel report and animation:
1995 – Captain Scott F. O’Grady’s Air Force F-16C is shot down by Bosnian Serbs. He is rescued six days later. Watch Capt. O’Grady talk about his ordeal:
1998 – Voters in California pass Proposition 227. The act abolished the state’s 30-year-old bilingual education program and required that all children be taught in English.
2004 – Ken Jennings begins his record 74-game winning streak on the game show Jeopardy!, where he ultimately wins $2 ½ million. James Holzhauer is the current champion on Jeopardy! and holds the one-day winnings record at $110,914. Watch Jennings lose his 75th game:
2015 – Congress passes new legislation to reform National Security Agency procedures, restricting gathering of phone records.
Image from en.wikipedia.org