This Week in History: Aug 21-27, 2023

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This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann

“History is a vast early warning system.” Norman Cousins

Aug 21-27, 2023




August 21

1831 – The Nat Turner slave revolt kills 55 whites in Southampton County, Virginia. Nat Turner and 55 of his conspirators are captured and executed. Over the next few weeks, white militias and mobs in the area murdered about 120 slaves, most of whom were not involved in the revolt. Watch a short History.com video.



1887 – Mighty Casey struck out in a baseball game with the New York Giants. This is the fictional date of the event written about in Ernest L. Thayer’s poem “Casey at the Bat.” Dan Casey was a composite of several people Thayer knew.

1947 – The first Little League World Series is held. The Maynard Midgets of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, defeated a team from Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. The tournament is for baseball players age 11 to 13.

1959 – Hawaii becomes the 50th (and last) U.S. state. In 1778, Captain James Cook was the first European to discover the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii was annexed in 1897 during the McKinley administration.

1993 – NASA loses contact with the Mars Observer, which was launched on September 25, 1992. Attempts to re-establish communication with the spacecraft were unsuccessful.

1997 – Hudson Foods Inc. closes a plant in Nebraska after it recalls 25 million pounds of ground beef that is potentially contaminated with E. coli 01557:H7. It was the largest food recall in U.S. history to date.

2018 – Paul Manafort is convicted in eight counts of fraud in federal court as part of Robert Meuller’s special investigation. Manafort served only a few months of his 7.5 year sentence, being released to home confinement in May 2020 due to the Coronavirus.


August 22

1762 – Ann Franklin is the first female U.S. newspaper editor. She inherited the newspaper “Mercury” from her husband James Franklin, brother of Ben Franklin.

1906 – The Victor Talking Machine Company of Camden, New Jersey, begins to manufacture the Victrola. The hand-cranked unit, with horn cabinet, sold for $200.

1921 – J. Edgar Hoover becomes the assistant director of the FBI. He became the director in 1924 and led the FBI for 48 years until his death in 1972 at age 77.

1956 – Elvis Presley begins filming his first movie, “Love Me Tender,” which is released in November. Watch Elvis sing the title song in the movie.



1962 – Savannah, the world’s first nuclear-powered ship, completes her maiden voyage from Yorktown, Virginia, to Savannah, Georgia. She was decommissioned in 1972 and in 1999 the Savannah was moved to the James River Merchant Marine Reserve Fleet near Newport News, Virginia.

1989 – Nolan Ryan becomes the first major league pitcher to strike out 5,000 batters. He finished his 27-year career (longest in baseball history) with 5,714 strikeouts. Ryan, now age 76, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999. Watch Ryan make Rickey Henderson swing at the air.



1992 – An FBI sniper shoots and kills Vicki Weaver, wife of white separatist Randy Weaver, during an 11-day siege at their home at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. She was holding her infant daughter, who was unharmed. Fourteen-year-old Sammy Weaver and a U.S. Marshall were shot to death the day before. President Clinton fired his FBI director on July 19, 1993, one day before Vince Foster “committed suicide.”

2018 – Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index reported the longest ever bull market at 3,453 days (about 9 years).


August 23

1850 – The first U/S. National Women’s Rights Convention convenes in Worchester. Massachusetts. It would be 70 years before women won the right to vote through the 19th Aemndment.

1923 – Capt. Lowell Smith and Lt. John P. Richter perform the first mid-air refueling. Their flight in a De Havilland DH-4B set an endurance flight record of 37 hours.

1947 – President Truman’s daughter Margaret makes her first public singing concert. A poor review after her third performance in 1950 caused the president to write a threatening letter to the Washington Post’s music critic. Listen to a 1950 audio recording of Margaret and judge for yourself.



1966 – Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photographs of Earth while orbiting the Moon.

1999 – American Robert Bogucki is rescued after getting lost on July 11 while bicycling in the Great Sandy Desert of Australia. During his 43-day ordeal Bogucki lost 44 pounds.

2004 – The U.S. sweeps the 400 meter medals and wins gold in softball in the Athens Olympics. The U.S. ranked first in the medal count with 101 medals.


August 24

1814 – British forces capture Washington, DC, during the War of 1812 and burn down many landmarks, including the U.S. Capitol and the President’s Mansion. The Library of Congress, housed in the Capitol building, suffered extensive damage. Thomas Jefferson sold 6,487 volumes of his private book collection to the Library of Congress in 1815 for $23,950.

1853 – Chef George Crum of Moon’s Lake House Restaurant in Saratoga Springs, New York, prepares the first potato chips after a customer complains his fried potatoes were too thick.

1912 – New York City holds a ticker tape parade for Jim Thorpe and other victorious U.S. Olympians from the Stockholm Sweden Summer Olympics. Thorpe was stripped of his Olympic medals in 1913 because he violated the amateur rules by being paid to play baseball in 1909 and 1910. His medals were returned in 1972, almost 20 years after his death.

1932 – Amelia Earhart starts the first transcontinental non-stop flight by a woman, completing her flight of over 2,400 miles in 19 hours. She also set the women’s record for fastest non-stop transcontinental flight twice (1932 and 1933).

1954 – President Eisenhower signs the Communist Control Act, outlawing the Communist Party in the U.S.

1981 – Mark David Chapman is sentenced to 20 years to life for John Lennon’s murder in December 1980. Chapman was denied parole for the 9th time in 2016 from the Wende Correctional Facility in New York even though he became eligible in 2000. Chapman is now 68 years old.

1989 – Pete Rose is suspended from baseball for life for gambling. He retired from baseball in 1986 and became the Cincinnati Reds manager in 1987. The ban made Rose ineligible for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. “Charlie Hustle” is now 81 years old.

2001 – The remains of nine American servicemen killed in the Korean War are returned to the U.S. Their bodies were found about 60 miles north of Pyongyang. Some 7,789 U.S. troops still remain unaccounted for in the Korean War. The remains of another 55 servicemen were returned by North Korea in July 2018. Watch a report on their return.



2006 – The International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefines the term “planet” so that Pluto is now considered a Dwarf Planet. American astronomer Clyde William Tombaugh discovered Pluto in 1930.

2011 – Tim Cook succeeds Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple Inc. due to Jobs’ illness. Jobs died in October 2011 at age 56.

2015 – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announces that for the first time 1 billion people logged into Facebook. In 2004, Harvard students Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra accused Zuckerberg of misleading them and using their ideas to develop Facebook. In 2008, Facebook settled the case for 1.2 million shares and $20 million in cash. Facebook is now worth only $182 billion, a drastic drop from its high of around $600 billion. Facebook’s $232 billion drop in value in February 2022 set an all-time one-day loss record. Zuckerburg is now 39 years old.


August 25

1829 – President Jackson makes an offer to buy Texas, but the Mexican government refuses. President John Q. Adams offered to buy Mexico for $1 million two years earlier. His offer was also rejected. President Polk annexed Texas in 1845.

1916 – The National Park Service is established as part of the Department of the Interior during the Woodrow Wilson administration. Yellowstone (in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho) was named the first public park in 1872 during the Ulysses S. Grant administration.

1920 – Ethelda Bleibtrey becomes the first U.S. woman to win a medal in the Olympics (swimming). She won three gold medals and set three world records in Olympic swimming competitions in Belgium. Bleibtrey started swimming as therapy to overcome the effects of polio. Bleibtrey died in 1978 at the age of 76.

1968 – Arthur Ashe becomes the first black man to win the U.S. men’s singles tennis championship. Ashe contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion and died in 1993 at age 49. Watch a report about his championship win and career.



1989 – After a 12-year, 4-billion-mile journey, NASA’s Voyager 2 (launched in 1977) flies over the cloud tops of the planet Neptune and its moon Triton, sending back photographs.

2012 – NASA’s Voyager 1, launched in 1977, becomes the first spacecraft to enter interstellar space. Voyager 1 is now 14.5 billion miles from Earth and is still sending back information. It is headed toward a star called AC+79 3888, which is 17.6 light years from Earth. Voyager 2, also launched in 1977, is 11 billion miles from Earth. Both space probes carry a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images from Earth.


August 26

1839 – The slave ship Amistad is captured off Long Island, New York, after a mutiny. The slaves were tried and acquitted because it was deemed they were not property but had been kidnapped. Donations helped repatriate the freed slaved to Sierra Leone.

1895 – George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla build America’s first hydroelectric power plant at Niagara Falls. Electric Central at Niagara Falls gave off steam using hydroelectricity for the first time.

1957 – The first Edsel made by the Ford Motor Company rolls of the assembly line. The car was produced for only 3 years. The Edsel was named after Henry Ford’s son. Watch a commercial for the 1958 Edsel.



1987 – The Fuller Brush Company announces plans to open two retail stores in Dallas, Texas. The company was started by Arthur C. Fuller in 1906 and sold its products door to door for 81 years. The company is still in business.

2015 – TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward are fatally shot on live TV by an ex-colleague in Moneta, Virginia. The gunman shot himself during a car chase by police and died in the hospital.


August 27

1667 – The earliest recorded hurricane in the U.S. strikes Jamestown, Virginia.

1894 – Congress passes the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act, which includes a graduated income tax. The Supreme Court struck it down as unconstitutional in 1895. The 16th Amendment was ratified in 1913, allowing Congress to levy personal income taxes.

1928 – The U.S. is one of 15 countries to sign the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which outlaws war. Forty-seven other countries later signed the Pact, named for Secretary of State Frank Kellogg and French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand. The Senate ratified it 85-1. The signatories promised not to use war to resolve “disputes or conflicts.” Although often violated, the Pact remains in effect.

1976 – Transsexual Renee Richards, born Richard Raskind, is barred from competing in U.S. Tennis Open. The New York Supreme Court ruled in her favor and Richards played in the 1977 U.S. Open. She and her tennis partner lost the doubles match to Martina Navratilova and her partner. Richards is now 88 years old.

1996 – California Governor Pete Wilson signs an order that would halt illegal immigrants from using non-emergency health care, public education, and other state services. During her 1994 Senate campaign, incumbent Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) ran on tough policies against illegal immigration.

2001 – Work begins on the World War II memorial on the U.S. capital’s historic National Mall, located between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. The memorial opened in April 2004.

2012 – The first interplanetary human voice recording is broadcast from the Mars Rover Curiosity. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden made the 169-word recording. Listen to it.





Image from: en.wikipedia.com


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