On This Day April 20

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1912 – With 27,000 people in the stands, the Boston Red Sox play their first game at Fenway Park and defeat the New York Highlanders (later renamed the Yankees) by a score of 7-6 in 11 innings. 

1916 – The first National League game played at Chicago’s Wrigley Field (then Weeghman Park) sees the Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-6 in 11 innings. A bear cub is in attendance at the ballpark, which becomes known as Cubs Park in 1920 after the Wrigley family purchases the team from Weeghman. It is named Wrigley Field in 1926 in honor of William Wrigley Jr., the club’s owner.

1971 – The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the practice of busing to desegregate schools, ruling in the case of Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. Two years later, the high court makes a second ruling restricting the use of busing, concluding that students could only be bused across district lines if there was evidence that multiple districts had implemented deliberately discriminatory policies.

1977 – The comedy “Annie Hall” opens, starring director Woody Allen and Diane Keaton. The film goes on to win Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay.

1980 – The Castro regime announces that all Cubans wishing to emigrate to the U.S. are free to board boats at the port of Mariel west of Havana, launching the Mariel Boatlift.

1999 – The school day at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado is shattered by deadly gunfire. Two seniors fatally shoot 12 students and a teacher before taking their own lives. Twenty-three others are injured in what ushers in a wave of U.S. school shootings over the next two decades.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1957 – Elvis Presley is on top of Billboard’s Best Sellers in Stores chart for a second week with “All Shook Up.” The track remains at No. 1 for eight weeks and becomes the biggest single of 1957, selling more than two million copies.

1963 – The Chiffons wrap up a four-week domination of the pop chart with “He’s So Fine.”

1968 – “Honey,” by Bobby Goldsboro, is in the middle of a five-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1970 – The New York Times reports that Catholic and Protestant youth groups have adopted The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine as a religious symbol and formed so called “submarine churches.”  These churches featured the outline of a yellow submarine with a small cross on its periscope as their symbol. It is displayed alongside peace signs, flowers and other popular emblems of the period.

1974 – “TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia),” by MFSB featuring the Three Degrees, claims the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. 

1991 – Wilson Phillips’ “You’re in Love” is No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. 

1996 – Céline Dion’s Grammy-winning “Because You Loved Me” continues a six-week ride atop the U.S. singles chart. The track is from the 1996 movie “Up Close and Personal,” starring Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer.

2002 – Ashanti launches a 10-week run on top of the pop chart with “Foolish,” off her self-titled debut album.

2013 – Bruno Mars kicks off a week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “When I Was Your Man.”

On This Day March 26

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On This Day March 22

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On This Day March 3

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1820 – Congress passes the Missouri Compromise, temporarily resolving the first serious political clash between slavery and antislavery interests by admitting Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state.

1887 – Anne Mansfield Sullivan begins teaching six-year-old Helen Keller, who lost her sight and hearing at 19 months of age. Under Sullivan’s tutelage, including her pioneering “touch teaching” techniques, the previously uncontrollable Keller thrived, eventually graduating from college and becoming an international lecturer and activist. 

1923 – The first edition of Time magazine is published. The 32-page issue features former U.S. House Speaker Joseph G. Cannon on the cover. 

1931 – With the stroke of President Herbert Hoover’s pen, the United States officially adopts the “Star-Spangled Banner” as its national anthem.

1950 – Marilyn Monroe makes her first screen appearance when the musical comedy “Love Happy,” starring the Marx Brothers, opens in movie theaters.

1952 – The U.S. Supreme Court upholds a New York state law (Feinberg Law) that prohibits communists from teaching in public schools. Coming at the height of the Red Scare in the U.S., the high court’s decision was further proof that many Americans feared possible subversive communist activity within their borders.

1991 – In what’s believed to be the first viral video, amateur video footage captures the beating of African American motorist Rodney King by four Los Angeles police officers, igniting outrage over alleged police brutality and social inequalities in LA’s black community. The cops are later tried and acquitted, which triggers riots.

On This Day February 2

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On This Day January 20

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1841 – During the First Opium War, China cedes the island of Hong Kong to the British with the signing of the Chuenpi Convention — an agreement seeking an end to the first Anglo-Chinese conflict.

1937 – Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated as U.S. president for the second time. His first inauguration, in 1933, was held in March, but the 20th Amendment, passed later that year, made January 20 the official inauguration date for all future presidents. 

1961 – President John F. Kennedy is sworn into office and delivers his inaugural address outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The speech concludes with his now-famous line: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” 

1980 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter calls for the 1980 Summer Olympics to be moved from the planned host city, Moscow, or canceled altogether if the Soviet Union fails to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan within a month.

1981 – Minutes after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration as the 40th U.S. president, 52 American captives held at the American embassy in Teheran, Iran, are released, ending the 444-day Iran Hostage Crisis. 

1984 – Hungarian-born Olympic gold medal swimmer and actor Johnny Weissmuller, who played Tarzan in the movies, dies at the age of 79. 

1993 – Actress, fashion icon and philanthropist Audrey Hepburn (“Roman Holiday,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “My Fair Lady”) dies of colon cancer at the age of 63. Hepburn remains among just a handful of performers who have won Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Awards.

2009 – On a freezing day in Washington, D.C., Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th U.S. president. The son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, Obama was the first African-American to win election to the nation’s highest office.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1964 – The British Invasion is on as Capitol Records releases “Meet the Beatles!,” the band’s second album in the U.S.

1965 – American disc jockey Alan Freed is 43 years old when he dies from cirrhosis brought on by alcoholism. Freed, a 1986 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is credited with coining the term “rock ‘n’ roll.” His career was destroyed by the payola scandal that shook up the American broadcasting industry in the early 1960s.

1968 – “Judy in Disguise (with Glasses),” a parody of The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” puts John Fred and his Playboy Band at No. 1 on the singles chart for two weeks. 

1971 – “What’s Going On,” by Marvin Gaye, is released and introduces fans to a different, more personal side of the Motown star in this anthem about social injustice. The song spends five weeks on top of the Hot Soul Singles chart before crossing over to the Billboard Hot 100, where it climbs to No. 2.

1973 – Carly Simon begins her third and final week on top of the singles chart with “You’re So Vain.” After years of speculation, Simon eventually admits that the song refers to actor Warren Beatty.

1988 – Mick Jagger presides as The Beatles are inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Paul McCartney decides not to attend, issuing a statement citing ongoing business differences among The Beatles.

1990 – Michael Bolton rules the Billboard Hot 100 with “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You.” The single holds the No. 1 spot for three weeks.

1996 – The Mariah Carey-Boyz II Men collaboration, “One Sweet Day,” is midway through a 16-week ride on top of the Billboard singles chart –the longest-running No. 1 song in the chart’s history at that time.

2007 – “Irreplaceable,” Beyoncé, is in its sixth week on top of the Billboard Hot 100. The track remains there for another four weeks and clinches a Record of the Year Grammy nomination.

On This Day December 28

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On This Day November 25

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On This Day September 14

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1814 – After witnessing the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Maryland during the War of 1812, 35-year-old lawyer and poet Francis Scott Key writes a poem titled “Defence of Fort M’Henry,” which is later set to music, and in 1931, becomes America’s national anthem under its new title: “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Key was inspired by the sight of a lone U.S. flag still flying over the fort at daybreak.

1901 – Six months into his second term as U.S. president, William McKinley dies after being shot by a deranged anarchist during the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. 

1959 – The Soviet’s Luna 2 rocket reaches the surface of the moon, becoming the first man-made object sent from Earth to the lunar surface. The event gives the Soviets a short-lived lead in the Space Race, and prompts the U.S. to speed up efforts to develop its own space program.

1964 – President Lyndon Johnson awards entertainment pioneer Walt Disney the Presidential Medal of Freedom, saying “in the course of entertaining an age, he has created an American folklore.”

1964 – President Lyndon Johnson awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to author John Steinbeck, who had already received numerous other honors for his literary work, including the 1962 Nobel Prize and 1939 Pulitzer Prize for “The Grapes of Wrath.”

1965 – Marching onto TV screens for the first time are the military farce “F Troop” and the short-lived sitcom “My Mother the Car.” 

1972 – Americans meet the Walton family and witness its trials and tribulations for nine years on CBS. “The Waltons” airs for the last time on this day in 1981, the same day that “Entertainment Tonight” premieres.  

1982 – Princess Grace of Monaco (Grace Kelly), who was an Oscar and Golden Globe-winning American actress before marrying into royalty, dies in a car crash at the age of 52. 

1999 – Millions evacuate their homes along the southeastern coast of the U.S. as Hurricane Floyd advances. The storm weakens from Category 4 to Category 2 by the time it makes landfall at Cape Fear, North Carolina on September 16. Floyd is blamed for nearly 60 deaths across eight U.S. states and The Bahamas.

2015 – A 14-year-old Muslim boy is arrested at his Irving, Texas high school after a digital clock he had reassembled at home using a pencil case was mistaken by his teacher to be a bomb. Ahmed Mohamed’s arrest triggers a media frenzy, as many saw the incident as a case of racial profiling.

On This Day September 8

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1900 – A hurricane packing winds in excess of 130 miles per hour and a 15-foot storm surge slams into Galveston, Texas, devastating the island. Between 6,000 and 8,000 people are killed, making the hurricane the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history up to that time. Ten thousand survivors are left homeless.

1921 – Sixteen-year-old Margaret Gorman of Washington, D.C., is crowned the first Miss America at the end of a two-day pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. 

1966 – A television sci-fi phenom is born with the premiere of “Star Trek” on NBC. The series, consisting of 79 episodes over three seasons, stars William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, first officer and science officer aboard the starship USS Enterprise. In the decades since the original series ended, “Star Trek” has spawned spin-offs, movies and conventions.

1974 – President Gerald Ford attempts to give closure to the Watergate scandal by granting his predecessor, Richard Nixon, a pardon for any crimes he may have committed or participated in while in office. 

1974 – Daredevil Evel Knievel survives a failed bid to leap the mile-wide chasm of the Snake River Canyon (Idaho) on his rocket-powered motorcycle.

1986 – “The Oprah Winfrey Show” debuts as the first talk show hosted by an African American woman. 

1994 – US Air Flight 427 crashes on approach to Pittsburgh International Airport. All 132 people on board the Boeing 737 are killed. A lengthy investigation concludes that the cause was a faulty rudder.

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