On This Day February 12

History Highlights

1909 – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is founded. It is America’s oldest, largest and most widely recognized grassroots-based civil rights organization. 

1976 – Oscar-nominated actor Sal Mineo (“Rebel Without a Cause,” “Giant,” “Exodus,” ” The Longest Day”) is stabbed to death outside his West Hollywood apartment at the age of 37. It takes authorities more than two years to arrest Lionel Williams, who is convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison.

1986 – After spending eight years in Soviet prisons and labor camps, human rights activist Anatoly (Natan) Scharansky is released.  Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan brokered the amnesty deal at a summit meeting three months earlier.

1999 – The five-week impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton comes to an end, with the Senate voting to acquit Clinton on both articles of impeachment: perjury and obstruction of justice.

2002 – Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic goes on trial at The Hague, Netherlands, on charges of genocide and war crimes in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo. The trial drags on for four years until Milosevic is found dead of a heart attack in his prison cell at the age of 64. 

2008 – Struggling auto giant General Motors (GM) attempts to cut costs by offering buyouts to all 74,000 of its U.S. hourly employees represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.

2008 – Hollywood’s longest work stoppage since 1988 ends when members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) overwhelmingly vote to go back to work following a 100-day walkout. The strike crippled the production of countless TV shows and cost the California economy more than $2 billion. It also gave rise to more reality TV programming that required little or no scripting.

Celebrity Birthdays

1809 – Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. president (d. 1865)

1809 – Scientist Charles Darwin, who laid the foundations for the theory of evolution in his book, “The Origin of Species”  (d. 1882)

1915 – Radio announcer-turned-actor and singer Lorne Greene, best know as Ben Cartwright in the TV western “Bonanza,” and Commander Adama in the sci-fi TV series “Battlestar Galactica” (d. 1987)

1923 – Director-producer Franco Zeffirelli, known for his Shakespeare film adaptations, including “The Taming of the Shrew” and “Romeo and Juliet” (d. 2019)

1934 – Five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and 12-time All-Star Bill Russell, who led the Boston Celtics to 11 championships from 1957 to 1969

1938 – Best-selling author Judy Blume, known for her children’s books and young-adult novels, including “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” and “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” 

1952 – Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and former Doobies Brothers vocalist Michael McDonald 

1956 – Actor, comedian and former talk show host Arsenio Hall 

1968 – Actor Josh Brolin (“The Goonies,” “No Country For Old Men,” “W,” “Milk,” “Men in Black 3,” “Hail, Caesar!”, “Deadpool 2”, “Avengers: Infinity War”, “Once Upon A Deadpool”, “Avengers: Endgame”, ) 

1980 – Actress Christina Ricci (“The Addams Family,” “Casper,” “The Ice Storm,” “The Opposite of Sex,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Monster,” “Pan Am”) 

Own a Piece of This Day

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The McGuire Sisters Greatest Hits

The McGuire Sisters

A Star Is Born

Barbra Streisand & Kris Kristofferson

Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement

Patricia Sullivan

The Writers: A History of American Screenwriters and Their Guild

Miranda J. Banks

The Addams Family

Starring Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci and Anjelica Huston, and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld

The Origin of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition

Charles Darwin

On this Day June 14

Musical Milestones

1969 – “Get Back,” by The Beatles with Billy Preston, is in the midst of a five-week run on top of the Billboard Hot 100.

1975 – “Sister Golden Hair,” by the band America, begins one week on top of the Billboard singles chart.

1975 – Janis Ian releases “At Seventeen,” which peaks at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and goes on to win a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, beating out Linda Ronstadt, Olivia Newton-John and Helen Reddy.

1980 – Billy Joel starts a six-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart with “Glass Houses.” It becomes Joel’s second chart-topping album and contains his first No. 1 single: “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me.”

1986 – Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald begin three weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with their duet “On My Own.” LaBelle and McDonald really were on their own, recording their vocal parts separately. It was only after the song reached No. 1 that they met.

1994 – Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe-winning composer-conductor-arranger Henry Mancini (“Moon River,” “Love Theme from Romeo And Juliet,” “The Pink Panther” and “Peter Gunn” themes) dies at the age of 70.

1995 – Some 60 million viewers tune in for Diane Sawyer’s interview with Michael Jackson and his bride, Lisa Marie Presley, on ABC’s PrimeTime Live. The widely advertised “no holds barred” interview was the first Jackson had given since being accused of child molestation by a 13-year-old boy in 1993.

1997 – “I’ll Be Missing You,” by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112, kicks off 11 weeks as a No. 1 single.

2003 – “21 Questions,” by 50 Cent featuring Nate Dogg, is in the middle of four weeks on top of the pop chart.

History Highlights

1777 – The Continental Congress passes the Flag Act, a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be 13 alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” The national flag becomes known as the “Stars and Stripes.”

1885 – The first U.S. Flag Day is celebrated when Wisconsin schoolteacher Bernard J. (B.J.) Cigrand arranges for his students to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as “Flag Birthday.”  For years, Cigrand — known today as the “Father of Flag Day” — lobbied to have June 14 designated for a national celebration of the American flag. In 1948, 17 years after Cigrand’s death, President Harry S. Truman signed a Congressional Act into law, establishing a voluntary observance, but not an official national holiday.

1922 – President Warren G. Harding dedicates a memorial site in Baltimore for “Star Spangled Banner” composer Francis Scott Key, and in addressing the crowd, becomes the first U.S. president to have his voice transmitted by radio. Harding was the first president to own a radio and to have one installed in the White House.

1951 – Engineers take the wraps off the first commercial computer, the UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer).

1954 – On Flag Day, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill into law adding the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. Exactly two years later, he signs another measure into law officially declaring “In God We Trust” to be the nation’s official motto.

1968 – Acclaimed pediatrician and author, Dr. Benjamin Spock, an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War, is convicted of aiding draft resistors. His two-year prison term is reversed on appeal in 1969, but for the rest of his life, Spock continues to engage in political protests and peace activism.

1976 – “The Gong Show,” a prime-time amateur talent contest, premieres on NBC with host Chuck Barris.

1982 – Argentina surrenders to Great Britain, ending the Falkland Islands War.

1985 – Shiite Hezbollah gunmen hijack TWA Flight 847 from Athens, Greece to Rome, forcing the plane to land in Beirut, Lebanon, where they execute a U.S. Navy diver on board.

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America's Greatest Hits / History

America

Glass Houses

Billy Joel

A Grand Old Flag:
A History of the United States Through its Flags

Kevin Keim

Dr. Spock's The First Two Years: The Emotional and Physical Needs of Children from Birth to Age 2

Dr. Benjamin Spock

The Jeffersons:
The Complete Series

Starring Sherman Hemsley, Isabel Sanford and Marla Gibbs

Greatest Hits

Culture Club