On This Day February 26

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1919 – The U.S. Congress passes an act establishing the Grand Canyon as a National Park in Arizona. 

1929 – The U.S. Congress establishes Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

1934 – President Franklin Roosevelt orders the creation of a Communications Commission, which would become the FCC later that year by an act of Congress.

1972 – A mining dam collapses, sending millions of gallons of black coal wastewater across a wide area of Logan County, West Virginia. The Buffalo Creek Disaster claims 125 lives and leaves 4,000 people homeless.

1993 – Six people are killed and more than 1,000 others are injured when a bomb, planted inside a parked van, explodes in the garage of the World Trade Center in New York City. The blast leaves a crater 150 feet wide and causes the collapse of several steel-reinforced concrete floors. Six terrorists are eventually captured, tried and convicted for the attack.

1998 – A jury finds Oprah Winfrey not guilty in a $10 million defamation lawsuit brought by Texas cattle ranchers. The plaintiffs had accused the talk show host of harming the U.S. beef industry with a 1996 broadcast about mad cow disease. Exiting the courtroom, Winfrey exclaims, “Free speech not only lives, it rocks!”

2012 – Trayvon Martin, an African-American teen, is fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman while walking home from a Sanford, Florida convenience store. The killing sparks a national outcry over race relations and self-defense gun laws, as Martin was unarmed when he was shot.

On This Day October 11

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1793 – The death toll from a yellow fever outbreak in what was then the capital of the United States — Philadelphia — reaches 100. A cold front that arrives about two weeks later wipes out the city’s mosquito population, which reduces the number of casualties to 20 per day. But by the time the epidemic ends that November, more than 5,000 people had died.

1950 – CBS becomes the first television network to secure a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license to broadcast in color.

1968 – The first manned Apollo mission, Apollo 7, blasts off and transmits the first live TV signals from orbit. The crew orbits Earth 163 times during 10 days and 20 hours in space.

1975 – Late-night television turns edgy with the first broadcast of NBC’s “Saturday Night,” later renamed “Saturday Night Live” and known today as “SNL.” Original cast members include Laraine Newman, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris and Chevy Chase. Comedian George Carlin hosts Episode 1, with musical perfomances by Billy Preston and Janis Ian.

1986 – Following up on their successful November 1985 summit in Geneva, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev meet in Reykjavik, Iceland, to continue disarmament talks. While negotiations break down, they pave the way for the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the Superpowers.

2002 – Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter wins the Nobel Peace Prize “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.”

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1962 – The Beatles make their first appearance on the U.K. singles chart with “Love Me Do,” which eventually peaks at No. 17. It performs better across the pond on the Billboard singles chart, where it reaches No. 1 on May 30, 1964.

1969 – The Archies wrap up four weeks as chart-toppers with “Sugar Sugar.”

1971 – John Lennon releases “Imagine,” which becomes an international anthem for peace and love and the most successful single of the former Beatle’s solo career. It peaks at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Shortly before his death in 1980, Lennon admitted that much of the song’s content came from his wife, Yoko Ono, and in 2017 she received a co-writing credit.

1975 – “Bad Blood” by Neil Sedaka, with backup vocals provided by Elton John, begins a three-week run as the No. 1 single.

1975 – “Born to Run” becomes Bruce Springsteen’s first Top 40 hit. The single only climbs as high as No. 23, but propels The Boss’s musical career into the stratosphere.

1986 – Janet Jackson scores her first No. 1 single with “When I Think of You,” off her “Control” album. The track holds the top spot for two weeks.

1997 – Elton John begins 14 weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with his musical tribute to the late Princess Diana, “Candle in the Wind.” The track is an updated version of John’s 1973 recording from the “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” album, which was a homage to screen siren Marilyn Monroe.

2003 – “Baby Boy,” by Beyoncé featuring Sean Paul, is in the second of nine weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100.

2008 – T.I. (a.k.a. Tip) is No. 1 on the pop chart with “Whatever You Like.”

On this Day June 19

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1865 – Union soldiers land in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War has ended and that enslaved African Americans were now free. The announcement comes two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which took effect on January 1, 1863. Some historians blame the delay on poor communication of that era while others believe Texan slave owners intentionally withheld the information. June 19 is observed around the U.S. as Juneteenth. On June 17, 2021, it became a federal holiday.

1905 – The world’s first nickelodeon opens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and draws some 450 guests. The storefront theater boasted 96 seats and charged each patron a nickel.

1934 – Congress establishes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate broadcasting in the United States.

1953 –  Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted of conspiring to pass U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviets, die in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in New York. Both deny wrongdoing and proclaim their innocence right up to the time of their execution. The Rosenbergs were the first American civilians executed for espionage during the Cold War.

1973 – In separate games, Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds and Willie Davis of the L.A. Dodgers achieve their 2,000th career hits.

1978 – Cartoonist Jim Davis introduces readers of 41 newspapers around the U.S. to a pleasantly plump, lazy, lasagna-loving cat named Garfield.

1981 – A caped superhero returns to U.S. movie theaters with the release of “Superman II,” starring Christopher Reeve as “The Man of Steel.”

2013 –  Actor James Gandolfini, best known for his role as crime boss Tony Soprano in the HBO series “The Sopranos,” dies of a heart attack at age 51 while vacationing in Italy.