On this day...
In 1493, Christopher Columbus sets sail for Spain from Hispaniola after his big discovery.
In 1547, Ivan the Terrible, first Russian Czar, crowned.
In 1786, Virginia passes religious freedom act, written by Tom Jefferson, precursor to 1st Amendment.
In 1794, Edward Gibbon, historian and author of "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," died.
In 1861, [Civil War] Crittenden Compromise is killed in Senate
The Crittenden Compromise, the last chance to keep North and South united, dies in the U.S. Senate.
Proposed by Senator John J. Crittenden of Kentucky, the compromise was a series of constitutional amendments. The amendments would continue the old Missouri Compromise provisions of 1820, which divided the West along the latitude of 36 30'. North of this line, slavery was prohibited. The Missouri Compromise was negated by the Compromise of 1850, which allowed a vote by territorial residents (popular sovereignty) to decide the issue of slavery. Other amendments protected slavery in the District of Columbia, forbade federal interference with the interstate slave trade, and compensated owners whose slaves escaped to the free states.
Essentially, the Crittenden Compromise sought to alleviate all concerns of the Southern states. Four states had already left the Union when it was proposed, but Crittenden hoped the compromise would lure them back. Crittenden thought he could muster support from both South and North and avert either a split of the nation or a civil war. The major problem with the plan was that it called for a complete compromise by the Republicans with virtually no concessions on the part of the South. The Republican Party formed in 1854 for the main purpose of opposing the expansion of slavery into the Western territories, particularly the areas north of the Missouri Compromise line. Just six years later, the party elected a president, Abraham Lincoln, over theopposition of the slave states. Crittenden was asking the Republicans to abandon their most key issues.
The vote was 25 against the compromise and 23 in favor of it. All 25 votes against it were cast by Republicans, and six senators from states that were in the process of seceding abstained. One Republican editorial insisted that the party “cannot be made to surrender the fruits of its recent victory.” There would be no compromise; with the secession of states continuing, America marched inexorably towards civil war.
In 1868, Detroit fish salesman, William Davis, granted patent on refrigerated car - "ice box on wheels."
In 1882, Knights of Columbus fraternal benefit association founded in New Haven, Conn.
In 1883, Pendleton Act creates basis of federal civil service system.
In 1909, Ernest Shackleton Expedition reaches magnetic South Pole.
In 1919, Prohibition takes effect
The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, prohibiting the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes,” is ratified on this day in 1919 and becomes the law of the land.
The movement for the prohibition of alcohol began in the early 19th century, when Americans concerned about the adverse effects of drinking began forming temperance societies. By the late 19th century, these groups had become a powerful political force, campaigning on the state level and calling for total national abstinence. In December 1917, the 18th Amendment, also known as the Prohibition Amendment, was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification.
Prohibition took effect in January 1919. Nine months later, Congress passed the Volstead Act, or National Prohibition Act, over President Woodrow Wilson’s veto. The Volstead Act provided for the enforcement of prohibition, including the creation of a special unit of the Treasury Department. Despite a vigorous effort by law-enforcement agencies, the Volstead Act failed to prevent the large-scale distribution of alcoholic beverages, and organized crime flourished in America. In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed and ratified, repealing prohibition.
Pianist and statesman Ignacy Jan Paderewski became the first premier of the new Republic of Poland.
In 1920, 18th Amendment, prohibition, goes into effect; repealed in 1933.
In 1925, Leon Trotsky was dismissed as chairman of the Russian Revolution Military Council.
In 1928, Pan Am becomes first U.S. airline to operate permanent international service (to Havana).
In 1938, Benny Goodman brings jazz to Carnegie Hall
Jazz has been called “America’s classical music,” a label that does more than just recognize its American origins. The label also makes the case that jazz is worthy of aesthetic consideration alongside music usually thought of as “classical.” In the current era, when programs of Duke Ellington and J.S. Bach often draw the same highbrow crowds, that argument hardly seems controversial. In the 1930s, however, the notion was almost laughable, which is what made Benny Goodman’s January 16, 1938, concert at New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall so revolutionary. Goodman and his supporting cast claimed a new place for jazz on the American cultural scene that night, in what has come to be seen as the most important jazz concert in history.
Benny Goodman was at the absolute height of his legendary career when his publicist first suggested they book Carnegie Hall. He was a star on radio, on stage and on film, and the label “King of Swing” was already attached permanently to his name. So outlandish was the suggestion that a jazz band might play inside the citadel of American high culture, however, that Goodman is said to have laughed the idea off at first. Once he warmed to the notion, however, Goodman threw himself into the task with characteristic passion. In addition to numbers from the regular repertoire of his own band—which included the legendary Harry James on trumpet, Lionel Hampton on vibraphone and Gene Krupa on drums—Goodman planned a program featuring a brand-new “Twenty Years of Jazz” piece and an extended jam session featuring stars of the Duke Ellington and Count Basie orchestras. The concert sold out weeks in advance, with the best seats fetching $2.75.
It would be another decade before anyone who was not in the audience or listening on the radio that night would hear the famed concert. All recordings of the show were presumed lost until Goodman’s sister-in-law came across a set of acetates in 1950. By then, the performance had already become the stuff of legend—particularly the stunning, unplanned piano solo by Jess Stacy on “Sing, Sing, Sing,” the evening’s final number. The album made from the recovered acetates became one of the first 33 1/3 LPs to sell over a million copies. The eventual discovery of the aluminum studio master recordings led to high-quality CD reissues in 1998, 2002 and 2006 of the legendary Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert.
[Click Here] for some jumping jazz, man!]
|World At War
THE GREAT BATTLES OF WORLD WAR II
World War II, which had begun in Europe on September 1, 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, ended six years later to the day, September 1, 1945. The final concluding ceremony came the following day, September 2, 1945, with the signing of surrender papers by representatives of Japan, Nazi Germany's Axis partner in the Far East.
Nine Notable Veterans of World War II
In 1942, Headline: Carole Lombard killed in plane crash
The actress Carole Lombard, famous for her roles in such screwball comedies as My Man Godfrey and To Be or Not to Be, and for her marriage to the actor Clark Gable, is killed when the TWA DC-3 plane she is traveling in crashes en route from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. She was 33.
Gable and Lombard met in 1932 during the filming of No Man of Her Own. He was just starting out on his trajectory as one of Hollywood’s top leading men and she was a talented comedic actress trying to prove herself in more serious roles. Both were married at the time–Gable to a wealthy Texas widow 10 years his senior and Lombard to the actor William Powell–and neither showed much interest in the other. When they met again, three years later, Lombard had divorced Powell and Gable was separated from his wife, and things proceeded quite differently. Much to the media’s delight, the new couple was open with their affection, calling each other Ma and Pa and exchanging quirky, expensive gifts. In early 1939, Gable’s wife finally granted him a divorce, and he married Lombard that April.
In January 1942, shortly after America’s entrance into World War II, Howard Dietz, the publicity director of the MGM film studio, recruited Lombard for a tour to sell war bonds in her home state of Indiana. Gable, who had been asked to serve as the head of the actors’ branch of the wartime Hollywood Victory Committee, stayed in Los Angeles, where he was set to begin filming Somewhere I’ll Find You with Lana Turner. Dietz advised Lombard to avoid airplane travel, because he feared for its reliability and safety, and she did most of the trip by train, stopping at various locations on the way to Indianapolis and raising some $2 million for the war effort.
On the way home, however, Lombard didn’t want to wait for the train, and instead boarded the TWA DC-3 in Las Vegas with her mother, Elizabeth Peters, and a group that included the MGM publicity agent Otto Winkler and 15 young Army pilots. Shortly after takeoff, the plane veered off course. Warning beacons that might have helped guide the pilot had been blacked out because of fears about Japanese bombers, and the plane smashed into a cliff near the top of Potosi Mountain. Search parties were able to retrieve Lombard’s body, and she was buried next to her mother at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California, under a marker that read “Carole Lombard Gable.”
Hysterical with grief and adrift in the empty house he had shared with Lombard, Gable drank heavily and struggled to complete his work on Somewhere I’ll Find You. He was comforted by worried friends, including the actress Joan Crawford. That August, Gable decided to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Forces. He spent most of the war in the United Kingdom, and flew several combat missions (including one to Germany), earning several decorations for his efforts. He would remarry twice more, but when he died in 1960 Gable was interred at Forest Lawn, next to Lombard.
In 1943, the opera star Marian Anderson sang at the Daughters of the American Revolution's constitution Hall in Washington, four years after the DAR had refused to allow her to sing at its facility. Many of the old racial barriers crumbled during the war against African-Americans.
In 1944, General Dwight D. Eisenhower took command of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in London.
In 1945, Battle of the Bulge Ends.
Hitler descends into his bunker
Adolf Hitler takes to his underground bunker, where he remains for 105 days until he commits suicide.
Hitler retired to his bunker after deciding to remain in Berlin for the last great siege of the war. Fifty-five feet under the chancellery (Hitler’s headquarters as chancellor), the shelter contained 18 small rooms and was fully self-sufficient, with its own water and electrical supply. He left only rarely (once to decorate a squadron of Hitler Youth) and spent most of his time micromanaging what was left of German defenses and entertaining Nazi colleagues like Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler, and Joachim von Ribbentrop. Constantly at his side during this time were his companion, Eva Braun, and his Alsatian, Blondi.
On April 29, Hitler married Eva in their bunker hideaway. Eva Braun met Hitler while working as an assistant to Hitler’s official photographer. Braun spent her time with Hitler out of public view, entertaining herself by skiing and swimming. She had no discernible influence on Hitler’s political career but provided a certain domesticity to the life of the dictator. Loyal to the end, she refused to leave the bunker even as the Russians closed in.
Only hours after they were united in marriage, both Hitler and Eva committed suicide. Warned by officers that the Russians were only about a day from overtaking the chancellery and urged to escape to Berchtesgarden, a small town in the Bavarian Alps where Hitler owned a home, the dictator instead chose to take his life. Both he and his wife swallowed cyanide capsules (which had been tested for their efficacy on his “beloved” dog and her pups). For good measure, he shot himself with his pistol.
In 1957, Arturo Toscanini, conductor of La Scala and Metropolitan opera houses and the NBC symphony orchestra, died.
In 1958, William Gibson's "Two For the Seesaw" opens on Broadway at the Booth Theatre.
In 1964, The musical "Hello, Dolly!" starring Carol Channing, began a run of 2,844 performances.
In 1965, "The Outer Limits" last aired on ABC.
In 1967, the first black southern sheriff since Reconstruction, former paratrooper Lucius Amerson, was sworn in at Tuskegee, Ala.
In 1969, Soviet Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 perform first transfer of crew in space.
In 1970, National Football League owners voted to split the football league into three divisions and add two new teams: the Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In 1972, Don McLean's "American Pie" lands number one on U.S. music charts. Driven by a simple acoustic guitar progression, McLean's wholesome voice and its compelling and cryptic lyrics describing the loss of American innocence, the tune would become one of the most popular songs of the century. At more than 8 minutes in length, "American Pie" remains the longest song to ever top the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1973, NBC aired the 440th and final episode of "Bonanza." The USSR's Lunakhod begins radio-controlled exploration of moon.
In 1974, Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Peter Benchley's "Jaws" is published.
In 1976, Peter Frampton released his now-platinum live album "Frampton Comes Alive," which became the biggest-selling live album of all time.
In 1978, Ward Christiansen and Randy Suess begin to create the first computer bulletin board system in Chicago.
In 1979, Iranian revolution overthrows shah.
In 1980, the British government announced re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Chile, broken in 1976.
In 1982, California cuisine is born; Wolfgang Puck's restaurant, Spago, opens in Los Angeles.
Britain and the Vatican resumed full diplomatic relations after a break of over 400 years.
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan called for peaceful competition with Moscow. He authorized research and development on space-age weapons capable of destroying incoming nuclear missiles, the program known as Star Wars.
In 1985, "Playboy" magazine announced its 30-year tradition of stapling centerfold models in the bellybutton and elsewhere would end.
In 1986, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said Libya would train, arm and protect Arab guerrillas for Palestinian suicide and terrorist missions, his first explicit endorsement of terrorism.
In 1988, Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder was fired as a CBS sports commentator one day after telling a TV station in Washington, DC, that, during the era of slavery, blacks had been bred to produce stronger offspring.
In 1989, rioting erupted in Miami when a police officer fatally shot a black motorcyclist, causing a crash that killed a passenger.
In 1990, the Soviet Union sent more than 11,000 reinforcements to the Caucasus to halt a civil war between Armenians and Azerbaijanis.
In 1991, at 6:35 a.m. local time, B-52G crews from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, take off to begin what will become the longest bombing mission in history. Carrying 39 AGM-86C Air Launched Cruise Missiles, the bomber crews fly to the Middle East and launch their missiles against high-priority targets in Iraq.
In 1992, officials of the government of El Salvador and rebel leaders signed a pact ending 12 years of civil war.
In 1993, two months after a fire greatly damages the British landmark, Windsor Castle is reopened to the public.
In 1994, South Africa's Pan Africanist Congress suspended its armed struggle against the government of President F.W. de Klerk.
At a news conference in Geneva with President Bill Clinton, Syrian President Hafez Assad indicated a willingness to negotiate a peace treaty with Israel.
In 1995, in Union, S.C., a prosecutor announced he would seek the death penalty for Susan Smith, the woman accused of drowning her sons, 3-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alex. Smith was later convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
In 1996, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais, longest-surviving reformer in the government and architect of the world's biggest privatization program, resigned from his post.
Wayne Newton performs his 25,000th Vegas show. Newton had already performed more shows as a headliner on Las Vegas' famed Strip than any other entertainer in the city's history. He first headlined on the Strip at the Fremont Hotel in 1959.
In 1997, Bill Cosby's only son, Ennis, 27, was shot to death while changing a flat tire on a dark road in Los Angeles, California.
A bomb exploded at an Atlanta building housing an abortion clinic. An hour later, after investigators and others had come to the scene, a second bomb went off, injuring six people.
In 1998, the first woman to enroll at Virginia Military Institute withdrew from the school.
Three federal judges secretly granted Kenneth Starr authority to probe whether U.S. President Clinton or Vernon Jordan urged Monica Lewinsky to lie about her relationship with Clinton.
In 1999, after closing three days of opening arguments, House prosecutors demanded President Clinton's removal from office, telling a hushed Senate that otherwise the presidency itself may be "deeply and perhaps permanently damaged."
Forty-five Albanians were found slain near the southern Kosovo village of Racak.
In 2000, Tibet ordained a two-year-old boy as the reincarnation of the Sixth Reting Lama, who died in February 1997, thus exacerbating bitter relations with the government-in-exile.
A truck loaded with evaporated milk was rammed into California's state capitol building in Sacramento, CA. The driver was killed in the incident.
Ricardo Lagos was elected Chile's first socialist president since Salvador Allende.
In 2001, President Laurent Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was shot to death, reportedly by one of his bodyguards, who in turn was killed by other bodyguards.
In 2002, former Master Sergeant Henry Eugene "Red" Erwin, Sr., a World War II B-29 radio operator, and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, died. He was 80.
Richard Reid was indicted in Boston on federal charges alleging he'd tried to blow up a U.S.-bound jetliner with explosives hidden in his shoes.
In Grundy, Virginia, a student killed three and wounding three others at the Appalachian School of Law.
The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted sanctions against Osama bin Laden, his terror network and the remnants of the Taliban. The sanctions required that all nations impose arms embargoes and freeze their finances.
In 2003, President George W. Bush called the Michigan affirmative action program unconstitutional.
The space shuttle Columbia blasted off with Israel's first astronaut, Ilan Ramon. (The mission ended in tragedy February 1, when the shuttle burned up during its return, killing all seven crew members.)
In 2004, NASA announced plans to cancel space shuttle missions to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope, an act that would condemn the Hubble to mechanical failure in the next two years.
In 2005, Indonesia increased its death toll by 5,000 - pushing the overall number of lives lost to more than 162,000. The massive earthquake off Sumatra three weeks ago spawned monstrous waves that killed people in 11 countries, including more than 115,000 in Indonesia, most on the island of Sumatra.
President George W. Bush said his re-election was a ratification of what he did in Iraq and there was no reason to hold any administration official accountable.
The mother of Army Spec. Charles Graner Jr., who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq, said her son had been sent to prison for something he was told to do.
In 2006, a U.S. military helicopter crashed north of Baghdad, killing the two crew members; it was the third American chopper to go down in 10 days.
"Brokeback Mountain" won four Golden Globes, including best motion picture drama; "Lost" won best dramatic television series while "Desperate Housewives" won for best musical or comedy series.
In 2013, Headline: Pauline Phillips, the original Dear Abby, dies at 94
Pauline Phillips, who for more than 40 years wrote the “Dear Abby” newspaper advice column, dies at age 94 in Minneapolis after battling Alzheimer’s disease. Using the pen name Abigail Van Buren, Phillips made her “Dear Abby” debut in 1956, and over the ensuing decades dispensed witty advice on a broad range of topics, from snoring to sex. With a daily readership eventually topping 110 million people, “Dear Abby” became the world’s most widely syndicated newspaper column, appearing in some 1,400 newspapers and generating around 10,000 letters per week.
Pauline Esther Friedman, nicknamed Popo, was born July 4, 1918, in Sioux City, Iowa. Her identical twin, Esther Pauline Friedman, dubbed Eppie, would grow up to pen the “Ask Ann Landers” advice column. The twins, whose Russian Jewish immigrant parents owned a chain of movie theaters, attended Sioux City’s Morningside College, where they studied journalism and psychology and wrote a gossip column for the school paper. They dropped out of college to marry in a double ceremony in 1939, shortly before their 21st birthday. Pauline wed Morton Phillips, a businessman from a wealthy family, while her twin tied the knot with Jules Lederer, who would later found Budget Rent a Car.
In 1955 Lederer took over the “Ann Landers” column for The Chicago Sun-Times and soon turned to her sister for help answering some of the letters she received from readers. Phillips, who was living in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was raising a family and involved in various philanthropic activities, enjoyed responding to these letters and decided she wanted an advice column of her own. She contacted The San Francisco Chronicle and told an editor there she believed she could write a better advice column that the one the paper published. The editor told her to stop by sometime, and the next morning Phillips showed up at the paper’s offices. Skeptical about Phillips’ qualifications, the editor told her to come up with her own responses to some of the letters that appeared in back issues of the paper. Phillips did so that same day and promptly was hired for the job, at $20 a week.
In selecting her pen name, Phillips took Abigail after a character from the Bible and Van Buren after the eighth U.S. president, whose name she liked. The first “Dear Abby” column debuted on January 9, 1956, and was an instant hit with readers. A rift soon developed between Phillips and Lederer as a result of their competing columns, and the two were estranged for a number of years; however, both women became two of the most successful and influential columnists of the 20th century. Over the decades, Phillips tackled a variety of serious and controversial subjects, including abortion (she was pro-choice) and homosexuality (by the early 1980s, she publicly supported gay people). Additionally, Phillips was known to check in by phone with letter writers who sounded particularly distressed.
In 1987 Phillips’ daughter, Jeanne, began co-writing “Dear Abby” with her mother. In 2002 Jeanne Phillips officially took over the column. That same year, Lederer died at age 83 and Pauline Phillips’ family announced she had Alzheimer’s. Phillips died on January 16, 2013.
In 2016, terrorists from Al Qaeda stormed a luxury hotel frequented by foreigners in OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso’s capital last night, seizing hostages and killing others while fighting with dozens of security forces who began a counterattack hours later. It was Al Qaeda’s first major attack in this landlocked sub-Saharan country, a former French colony.