On This Day October 21
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1921 – President Warren Harding delivers a speech in Alabama condemning lynchings that were being committed primarily by white supremacists against African Americans in the Deep South. Harding is the first U.S. president to address the controversial subject.
1959 – The distinctive and world-renowned Guggenheim Museum opens in New York City. Designed by acclaimed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the museum houses one of the world’s top collections of contemporary art.
1959 – President Dwight Eisenhower signs an executive order transferring renowned rocket engineer Wernher von Braun and his team from the U.S. Army to the newly created National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Von Braun, who masterminded America’s space program, developed the lethal V-2 rocket for Nazi Germany during World War II, and had been a member of the Nazi Party and an SS officer.
2014 – South African Oscar Pistorius, the first double amputee runner to compete at the Olympics, is sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty of culpable homicide (manslaughter) in the 2013 death of his girlfriend, 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp. His sentence is later doubled by a higher court.
1958 – Rock and roll legend Buddy Holly’s last recording session takes place in a New York City studio. Among the songs he records is “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” which was written by Paul Anka and becomes a No. 13 hit following Holly’s death in a February 1959 plane crash.
1972 – Curtis Mayfield begins four weeks on top of the Billboard album chart with the soundtrack to the movie “Super Fly.” Sales of the album, which contains the hits “Freddy’s Dead” and “Super Fly,” go on to surpass the movie’s box office performance.