On This Day April 4

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1949 – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is established by the U.S. and 11 other Western nations.

1960 – William Wyler’s Technicolor epic ,”Ben-Hur,” sets an Academy Awards record when it sweeps 11 of the 12 categories for which it was nominated, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Charlton Heston).

1968 – A sniper shoots and kills civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 39, on the balcony of a Memphis, Tennessee motel. As word of the assassination spreads, riots erupt in cities across the U.S., and National Guard troops are deployed in Memphis and Washington, D.C. In 1991, the murder scene—the Lorraine Motel—is dedicated as part of the National Civil Rights Museum.

1969 – CBS cancels the most popular show on TV at the time, “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” because the brothers failed to submit their script to network executives to review before broadcast. 

1973 – A ribbon-cutting ceremony is held in New York’s Lower Manhattan to dedicate the original World Trade Center. At 110 stories each, 1 WTC, or the North Tower, and 2 WTC, the South Tower, would provide nearly 10 million square feet of office space. Reaching more than a quarter of a mile into the sky, the Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in New York City, and for a brief period, the tallest buildings in the world. 

1975 – At a time when most Americans are using typewriters, childhood friends and self-proclaimed computer geeks Bill Gates and Paul Allen establish Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Four years later, they relocate the business to Washington State and grow it into a major multinational technology corporation.

2007 – Radio shock jock Don Imus makes offensive remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team on the air, creating a firestorm of criticism across the country. Imus apologizes and loses his job, but ultimately is able to salvage his career.

2013 – Acclaimed movie critic Roger Ebert, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV’s Sneak Previews program for 31 years, dies at the age of 70 after battling cancer.

On This Day March 7

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1876 – Alexander Graham Bell receives a patent for his revolutionary invention, the telephone, which remains a vital communications tool around the world today.

1924 – “The New Republic” publishes Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.” The work, beginning with the famous line “Whose woods these are, I think I know. His house is in the village though,” introduces millions of American students to poetry.

1933 – Unemployed during the Great Depression, Charles Darrow creates the board game Monopoly, which he personally sells for two years until Parker Brothers begins mass-marketing it in 1935. Darrow dies a millionaire in 1967.

1965 – A peaceful civil rights demonstration ends in violence in Selma, Alabama when many of the protesters are tear-gassed and beaten by white state troopers and sheriff’s deputies. The day’s events become known as “Bloody Sunday” and mark a tragic but important milestone in America’s civil rights movement. The clash was reported on national television and other media, spurring demonstrations in 80 cities across the country over the next few days.

1999 – Acclaimed screenwriter-director-producer Stanley Kubrick (“Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “The Shining,” “Full Metal Jacket,” “Eyes Wide Shut”) dies in England at the age of 70.

2010 – Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director, for the movie “The Hurt Locker,” about an American bomb squad that disables explosives in Iraq in 2004. Bigelow beats out directing heavyweights James Cameron (coincidentally, her ex-husband),  Lee Daniels, Jason Reitman and Quentin Tarantino.