On This Day November 20
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1923 – The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office grants Garrett Augustus Morgan a patent for his mechanical traffic signal that adds a warning setting (which eventually becomes the yellow light) to the existing stop and go. The African-American inventor, who also created a fireproof hood (gas mask) for firefighters, sells the rights to the traffic signal to General Electric for just $40,000.
1945 – Two dozen high-ranking Nazis go on trial in Nuremberg, Germany, for atrocities committed during World War II. Judges from the Allied powers — Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the U.S. — preside over the hearings.
1962 – President John F. Kennedy signs an executive order banning discrimination in government-sponsored housing. With the civil rights movement gaining momentum, the order bans federally funded housing agencies from denying mortgages to anyone based on race, color, creed or national origin.
2003 – Legendary music producer Phil Spector faces indictment in the murder of actress Lana Clarkson. Spector pleads not guilty to the charges. Six years and two trials later, he’s convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 19 years to life in prison
1971 – Isaac Hayes lays claim to the nation’s hottest single with “Theme from Shaft.” The track goes on to capture an Academy Award for Best Original Song, with Hayes becoming the first African American to receive that honor.