On This Day March 21

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On This Day March 20

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On This Day March 15

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On This Day February 4

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1789 – George Washington — commander of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War — is unanimously elected the first president of the United States, garnering all 69 electoral votes. No other American president since has come into office with a universal mandate to lead.

1922 – The Ford Motor Company acquires the bankrupt Lincoln Motor Company for $8 million, giving Ford a luxury division to compete against Cadillac, Packard and Auburn.

1938 – Disney releases “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the first full-length animated feature (83 minutes in length) in color and with sound, and a pioneering classic tale in film history.

1945 – President Franklin Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin meet at the Yalta Conference to discuss the Allied war effort against Germany and Japan.

1957 – Smith Corona Manufacturing of New York begins selling portable electric typewriters. The first machine, known as the model 5TE, weighs 19 pounds.

1974 – The radical group Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps Patty Hearst, the 19-year-old daughter of newspaper publisher Randolph Hearst, from her California apartment. 

2004 – Nineteen-year-old Harvard University sophomore Mark Zuckerberg launches “TheFacebook.com,” an online directory designed to connect fellow Harvard students with one another. By the next day, more than a thousand people had registered. The service sparks a social media revolution, with billions now using Facebook each day.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1967 – The Monkees maintain their grip on the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with “I’m a Believer.” In all, the track remains a chart-topper for seven weeks.

1968 – The Beatles record “Across The Universe” at London’s Abbey Road Studios with backup vocals from two teenage fans who were among the groupies (“Apple scruffs”) that routinely gathered outside the facility on recording days.

1975 – Known as “The King of the Jukebox,” American jazz, blues and rhythm & blues musician, songwriter and bandleader Louis Jordan dies at the age of 66.

1977 – Fleetwood Mac’s 11th studio album, “Rumours,” is released, introducing fans to the Top 10 hits “Go Your Own Way,” “Dreams,” “Don’t Stop,” and “You Make Loving Fun.”

1978 – The Bee Gees have a No. 1 single with “Stayin’ Alive,” while another single of theirs, “Night Fever,” debuts on the pop chart, later staking its own claim to the top spot for eight weeks. Both songs are from the Grammy-winning “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack.

1982 – “Centerfold,” by the J. Geils Band, reaches No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remains there for six weeks.

1983 – Heart failure caused by chronic anorexia nervosa claims the life of 32-year-old singer Karen Carpenter of the acclaimed 1970s brother-sister pop duet, Carpenters.

1984 – Culture Club begins a three-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Karma Chameleon,” the band’s fifth Top 10 hit.

1995 – “Creep,” by TLC, is midway through a four-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is the trio’s first chart-topper.

2006 – “Check On It,” by Beyoncé, featuring Bun B and Slim Thug, kicks off five weeks on top of the singles chart. 

On This Day December 5

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On This Day December 1

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On This Day September 15

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1916 – The tank makes its debut as a battlefield weapon, attacking German troops as part of a British assault near Bois d’Elville, or Delville Wood, on the Western Front, during the Battle of the Somme in World War I.

1942 – Three Japanese torpedoes slam into the American aircraft carrier USS Wasp off Guadalcanal in the South Pacific during World War II. The attack claims the lives of nearly 200 of the ship’s 2,000 crewmen. The wreckage of the Wasp was discovered at the bottom of the Coral Sea in January 2019.

1954 – The iconic scene of Marilyn Monroe laughing as her skirt is blown up by the blast of air from a Manhattan subway vent is shot during the filming of “The Seven Year Itch,” directed by Billy Wilder.

1959 – Nikita Khrushchev becomes the first Soviet leader to visit the United States. During the next two weeks, Khrushchev’s visit dominates the headlines and provides some dramatic and humorous moments in the history of the Cold War.

1963 – Four young black girls are killed in a bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, that investigators determine to be a racially motivated terrorist attack. The bombing, which shocks the nation, is Birmingham’s third in 11 days following a federal order to integrate the Alabama schools.

1978 – Muhammad Ali defeats Leon Spinks to win the world heavyweight boxing title for the third time in his career, becoming the first fighter ever to do so. 

1981 – The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approves Sandra Day O’Connor as the first female Supreme Court justice. 

1982 – Gannett publishes the first edition of a new national daily newspaper called USA Today.

2008 – The venerable Wall Street brokerage firm Lehman Brothers seeks Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, becoming the largest victim of the subprime mortgage crisis that would devastate financial markets and contribute to the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression.

On this Day June 11

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1944 – Lieutenant John F. Kennedy receives the prestigious Navy and Marine Corps Medal in recognition of his heroic, life-saving actions as a gunboat pilot during World War II. Kennedy, who goes on to become America’s 35th president, also receives a Purple Heart for wounds sustained in battle. He is the only president to have earned either of those high honors.

1955 – Carnage at Le Mans, as an Austin-Healey and Mercedes-Benz collide, showering flaming wreckage onto spectators. Eighty-two people are killed and at least 100 injured in one of auto racing’s worst accidents.

1962 – Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin become the only prisoners to successfully escape from Alcatraz prison. No one ever saw or heard from them again, although there were multiple unconfirmed sightings over the years.

1967 – The Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors ends with a United Nations-brokered ceasefire. That November, the U.N. Security Council adopts a resolution establishing a formula for Arab-Israeli peace whereby Israel would withdraw from territories occupied in the war in exchange for peace with its neighbors.

1963 – An outspoken opponent of school desegregation, Alabama Governor George Wallace physically blocks two African American students from entering the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. President John F. Kennedy responds by federalizing the Alabama National Guard and ordering troops to escort the students to their classes. Wallace then steps aside, but that evening, Kennedy delivers a national address about segregation regarded by many historians as one of the turning points in the civil rights movement.

1977 – MLK assassin James Earl Ray escapes from Brushy Mountain State Prison in Tennessee, but is recaptured three days later.

1979 – Cancer claims the life of screen legend John Wayne (“El Dorado,” “Rio Bravo,” “True Grit,” “The Comancheros”) at the age of 72.

1982 –  Steven Spielberg’s “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” opens in U.S. theaters and becomes a box office bonanza. The movie launches the career of actress Drew Barrymore, and in 1994, is selected for preservation in the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” 

1986 – “Bueller… Bueller…” The now-classic John Hughes film, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” starring Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck and Mia Sara, opens in U.S. theaters.