This Week in History: May 29-June 4, 2023


This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann

“History is a vast early warning system.” Norman Cousins

May 29-June 4, 2023

May 29

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 Irving Berlin’s “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 Obama administration removes Cuba from the state-sponsors of terrorism list. The Trump administration returned Cuba to the list in January 2021.

May 30

1806 – Future president Andrew Jackson kills Charles Dickinson in a duel after Dickinson accuses Jackson of cheating on a horse race and 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.

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).

1932 – Amelia Earhart is the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

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.

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.

2020 – The SpaceX rocket successfully launches astronauts from Florida to rendezvous with the International Space Station. It was the first manned launch from the U.S. since the last Space Shuttle mission in 2011.

May 31

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 as a batter and the most strikeouts as a pitcher.

1955 – The Supreme Court orders that all states must end racial segregation “with all deliberate speed” in a separate ruling a year after Brown v Board of Education.

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. Security guard Richard Jewell was initially a suspect. Jewell died in 2007 at age 44. Rudolph is now 56 years old.

2012 – The New York District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. announced 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 on 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 2017 documentary, “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.”

June 1

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 gave 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 population based on the 2020 census is about 331 million people.

1908 – John Krohn begins his walk around the perimeter of the U.S. pushing a wheelbarrow. Krohn, started westbound from Portland, Maine, walking 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’s Democrat Governor George Wallace vows to defy an injunction that ordered the integration of the University of Alabama. On June 11th Wallace stood at the school’s entrance in a symbolic attempt to block integration. In his January 1963 inaugural address, he promised, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

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.

June 2

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.

1924 – U.S. citizenship is granted to all indigenous people when President Calvin Coolidge signs the Indian Citizenship Act.

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.

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. It was repealed by the passage of Proposition 58 in November 2016.

2004 – Ken Jennings begins his record 74-game winning streak on the game show Jeopardy!, where he ultimately wins $2 ½ million. Jennings also won the Jeopardy! “Greatest of all Time” championship tournament in January 2020. Watch Jennings lose his 75th game.

2015 – Congress passes new legislation to reform National Security Agency procedures, restricting the gathering of phone records.

June 3

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 became 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 kill 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 then 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 died in 2022 at age 94.

2012 – Tiger Woods wins his 73rd Professional Golf Association tournament and ties Jack Nicklaus’s record. Woods now has 82 PGA wins, and is tied with Sam Snead.

June 4

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. Black men were granted the right to vote in 1870 with the passage of the 15th Amendment.

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.

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 79 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.

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