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August 1, 1838 -
Slavery was abolished in Jamaica. It had been introduced by Spanish
settlers 300 years earlier in 1509.
August 1, 1944 -
Anne Frank penned her last entry into her diary. "[I] keep on trying
to find a way of becoming what I would like to be, and what I could
be, if...there weren't any other people living in the world." Three
days later, Anne and her family were arrested and sent to Nazi concentration
camps. Anne died at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on March 15, 1945, at age
August 1, 1944 -
The Warsaw Uprising began as the Polish Home Army, numbering about 40,000
Polish patriots, began shooting at German troops in the streets. The Nazis
then sent eight divisions to battle the Poles, who had hoped for, but
did not receive, assistance from the Allies. Two months later, the rebellion
Birthday - Star-Spangled Banner author Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) was
born in Frederick County, Maryland. After witnessing the British bombardment
of Fort McHenry on the night of September 13-14, 1814, he was enthralled
to see the American flag still flying over the fort at daybreak. He
then wrote the poem originally
entitled Defense of Fort McHenry which
became the U.S. National Anthem in 1931.
Birthday - Moby
Dick author Herman Melville (1819-1891) was born in New York.
August 2, 1776 -
In Philadelphia, most of the 55 members of the Continental Congress
signed the parchment copy of the Declaration of Independence.
August 2, 1923 -
President Warren G. Harding died
suddenly in a hotel in San Francisco while on a Western speaking tour.
His administration had been tainted by the Teapot Dome political scandal
and his sudden death prompted many unfounded rumors. He was succeeded
the next day by Calvin Coolidge.
August 2, 1939 -
Albert Einstein wrote a letter to President Franklin
D. Roosevelt concerning the possibility of atomic weapons. "A
single bomb of this type carried by boat and exploded in a port, might
very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding
territory." Six years later, on August 6, 1945, the first Atomic
Bomb, developed by the U.S., was dropped on the Japanese port of Hiroshima.
August 2, 1990 -
The Iraqi army invaded Kuwait amid claims that Kuwait threatened Iraq's
economic existence by overproducing oil and driving prices down on the
world market. An Iraqi military government was then installed in Kuwait
which was annexed by Iraq on the claim that Kuwait was historically
part of Iraq. This resulted in Desert Shield, the massive Allied military
buildup, and later the 100-hour war against Iraq, Desert Storm.
August 3, 1492 -
Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, with three ships, Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. Seeking a westerly route to the
Far East, he instead landed on October 12th in the Bahamas, thinking it
was an outlying Japanese island.
Birthday - War correspondent
Ernie Pyle (1900-1945) was born in Dana, Indiana. His syndicated column
offered sympathetic insights into the experiences of common soldiers
during World War II. He received a Pulitzer Prize for his reports of
the bombing of London in 1940 and later war reports from Africa, Sicily,
Italy and France. He was killed by machine-gun fire near Okinawa in
the South Pacific on April 18, 1945.
Birthday - Gray
Panthers founder Maggie Kuhn (1905-1995) was born in Buffalo, New York.
After she was forced into mandatory retirement at age 65, she founded
the Gray Panthers organization to fight age discrimination and succeeded
in the banning of mandatory retirement in most professions.
August 4, 1962 -
Apartheid opponent Nelson Mandela was arrested by security police in
South Africa. He was then tried and sentenced to five years in prison.
In 1964, he was placed on trial for sabotage, high treason and conspiracy
to overthrow the government and was sentenced to life in prison. A worldwide
campaign to free him began in the 1980s and resulted in his release
on February 11, 1990, at age 71 after 27 years in prison. In 1993, Mandela
shared the Nobel Peace Prize with South Africa's President F.W. de Klerk
for their peaceful efforts to bring a nonracial democracy to South Africa.
In April 1994, black South Africans voted for the first time in an election
that brought Mandela the presidency of South Africa.
August 4, 1964 -
Three young civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael
Schwerner, were found murdered and buried in an earthen dam outside
Philadelphia, Mississippi. They had disappeared on June 21 after being
detained by Neshoba County police on charges of speeding. They were
participating in the Mississippi Summer Project organized by the Student
Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to increase black voter registration.
When their car was found burned on June 23, President Lyndon Johnson
ordered the FBI to search for the men.
Birthday - Jazz
trumpet player Louis Armstrong (1901-1971) was born in New Orleans,
Louisiana. Known as "Satchmo," he appeared in many films and
is best known for his renditions of It's a Wonderful World and Hello, Dolly.
Birthday - Swedish
Wallenberg (1912-1947) was born in Stockholm. During the Holocaust,
Wallenberg saved an estimated 33,000 Jews by issuing thousands of protective
documents, by securing the release of Jews from deportation trains,
death march convoys, labor service brigades, and by establishing the
International Ghetto, a network of 31 protected houses. He was detained
by Soviet agents on January 17, 1945, and is believed to have died in
prison in 1947.
Birthday - Barack Obama the 44th U.S. President was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961. His father was from Kenya, Africa, while his mother was originally from Kansas. Upon completing his college education, young Obama moved to Chicago, becoming active in community affairs. He then attended Harvard Law School, becoming the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review in 1990. He returned to Chicago, worked in a law firm, then entered politics. Elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996, he went on to become a U.S. Senator in 2004. Four years later, he successfully challenged former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination and went on to defeat Republican John McCain in the general election, November 4, 2008, thus becoming the first President of African-American origin.
August 5 Return
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August 5, 1583 -
The first British colony in North America was founded by Sir Humphrey
Gilbert, a British navigator and explorer. He sighted the Newfoundland
coast and took possession of the area around St. John's harbor in the
name of the Queen. He was later lost at sea in a storm off the Azores
on his return trip to England.
August 5, 1861 -
President Abraham Lincoln signed
into law the first Federal income tax, a 3 percent tax on incomes over
$800, as an emergency wartime measure during the Civil
War. However, the tax was never actually put into effect.
August 5, 1962 -
Film star Marilyn Monroe died at age 36 from an overdose of sleeping
pills. She made 29 films during her career and came to symbolize Hollywood
August 5, 2011 -
Standard & Poor’s credit rating agency downgraded the United States debt from its highest rating of AAA to a lesser AA+ rating, marking the first-ever decline of credit worthiness for the U.S. The agency cited America’s $14 trillion in outstanding debt and ineffective political leadership regarding debt reduction.
Birthday - John
Eliot (1604-1690) was born in Hertfordshire, England. Known as the "Apostle
to the Indians," his translation of the Bible into an Indian tongue
was the first Bible to be printed in America.
August 6-10, 1787 - The Great Debate occurred during the Constitutional Convention. Outcomes
included the establishment of a four-year term of office for the President,
granting Congress the right to regulate foreign trade and interstate
commerce, and the appointment of a committee to prepare a final draft
of the Constitution.
August 6, 1945 - The first Atomic Bomb was dropped over the center of Hiroshima at
8:15 a.m., by the American B-29 bomber Enola Gay. The bomb detonated
about 1,800 ft. above ground, killing over 105,000 persons and destroying
the city. Another estimated 100,000 persons later died as a result
of radiation effects.
August 6, 1962 -
Jamaica achieved independence after centuries of British and Spanish
rule. During 150 years of Spanish rule, African slaves were first brought
to the island. The British invaded in 1655 and the slave trade greatly
expanded during the 1700s. Following the abolition of slavery in the
1830s, Jamaica remained a British colony.
August 6, 1965 -
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed
into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
The Act suspended literacy, knowledge and character tests designed to
keep African Americans from voting in the South. It also authorized
the appointment of Federal voting examiners and barred discriminatory
poll taxes. The Act was renewed by Congress in 1975, 1984 and 1991.
Birthday - British
poet Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire,
England. He was appointed Poet Laureate in succession to William Wordsworth.
Memorable poems by Tennyson include Ode on the Death of the Duke
of Wellington and The
Charge of the Light Brigade.
Birthday - Penicillin
discoverer Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) was born in Lochfield, Scotland.
By accident, he found that mold from soil killed deadly bacteria without
injuring human tissue. He received the Nobel Prize in 1954.
August 7, 1964 -
Following an attack on two U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin off
North Vietnam, the U.S. Congress approved the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution,
granting President Lyndon B. Johnson authority "to take all necessary
measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United
States and to prevent further aggression."
August 7, 1990 -
Just five days after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, President George
Bush ordered Desert Shield, a massive military buildup to prevent
further Iraqi advances.
Birthday - International
spy Mata Hari (1876-1917) was born (as Margaret Gertrude Zelle) in Leewarden,
Netherlands. Arrested by the French in 1917 as a German spy, she was
tried, convicted and sentenced to death. At her execution, she refused
a blindfold and instead threw a kiss to the French firing squad.
Birthday - African
American statesman and Nobel Prize recipient Ralph
J. Bunche (1904-1971) was born in Detroit, Michigan. In 1949, as
a mediator for the United Nations, he helped bring an end to hostilities
in the war between Israel and the Arab League.
August 8, 1945 -
Soviet Russia declared war on Japan and sent troops into Japanese-held
Birthday - African
American explorer Matthew Henson (1866-1955) was born in Charles County,
Maryland. He accompanied Robert E. Peary on several Arctic expeditions
and reached the North Pole on April 6, 1909.
August 9, 1945 -
The second Atomic bombing of Japan occurred as an American B-29 bomber
headed for the city of Kokura, but because of poor visibility then chose
a secondary target, Nagasaki. About noon, the bomb detonated killing an estimated 70,000 persons and destroying about half the city.
August 9, 1974 -
Effective at noon, Richard M. Nixon resigned the presidency
as a result of the Watergate scandal. Nixon had appeared on television
the night before and announced
his decision to the American people. Facing possible impeachment
by Congress, he became the only U.S. President ever to resign.
August 10 Return
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Birthday - Herbert
Hoover (1874-1964) the 31st U.S. President was born in West Branch,
Iowa. He was the first President born west of the Mississippi.
August 11, 1841 - Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave, spoke before an audience in the North for the first
time. During an anti-slavery convention on Nantucket Island, he gave
a powerful, emotional account of his life as a slave. He was immediately
asked to become a full-time lecturer for the Massachusetts Antislavery
August 11-16, 1965 - Six days of riots began in the Watts area of Los Angeles, triggered
by an incident between a white member of the California Highway Patrol
and an African American motorist. Thirty-four deaths were reported and
more than 3,000 people were arrested. Damage to property was listed
at $40 million.
Birthday - Roots author Alex Haley (1921-1992) was born in Ithaca, New York. His Pulitzer
Prize-winning novel, published in 1976, explored seven generations of
his family from its origins in Africa through slavery in America and
eventual hard-fought freedom. Roots was translated into 37 languages
and also became an eight-part TV miniseries in 1977 which attracted
a record American audience and raised awareness concerning the legacy
August 12, 1676 - King Philip's War ended
with the assassination of Metacom, leader of the Pokanokets, a tribe
within the Wampanoag Indian Federation. Nicknamed 'King Philip' by colonists,
he led a Native American uprising against white settlers which resulted
in a war that raged for nearly two years, now known as King Philip's
Birthday - Film
pioneer Cecil B. DeMille (1881-1959) was born in Ashfield, Massachusetts.
He produced over 70 major films including Cleopatra, The Ten Commandments,
and The Greatest Show on Earth.
August 13, 1961 - The Berlin Wall came into existence after the East German government
closed the border between east and west sectors of Berlin with barbed
wire to discourage emigration to the West. The barbed wire was replaced
by a 12 foot-high concrete wall eventually extending 103 miles (166
km) around the perimeter of West Berlin. The wall included electrified
fences, fortifications, and guard posts. It became a notorious symbol
of the Cold War. Presidents Kennedy and Reagan made notable appearances
at the wall accompanied by speeches denouncing Communism. The wall was
finally opened by an East German governmental decree in November 1989
and torn down by the end of 1990.
Birthday - Women's
rights pioneer Lucy Stone (1818-1893)
was born near West Brookfield, Massachusetts. She dedicated her life to the abolition
of slavery and the emancipation of women and aided in the founding of
the American Suffrage Association.
Birthday - Wild
West performer Annie Oakley (1860-1926) was born in Darke County, Ohio.
Famous for her shooting ability, she joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West
Show in 1885 and was one of the star attractions for 17 years.
British film director Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) was born in London. His suspenseful
films included classics such as The 39 Steps, Rebecca, Suspicion,
Notorious, Rear Window, The Birds, Psycho and Frenzy, in
addition to his American TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Birthday - Cuban
President Fidel Castro was born in Mayari, Oriente Province, Cuba, August
13, 1927. He led a rebellion in 1959 that drove out Dictator Fulgencio
Batista, and remains one of the last outspoken advocates of Communism.
August 14, 1935 - President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act establishing the
system which guarantees pensions to those who retire at age 65. The
Social Security system also aids states in providing financial aid to
dependent children, the blind and others, as well as administering a
system of unemployment insurance.
August 14, 1941 - After three days of secret meetings
aboard warships off the coast of Newfoundland, the Atlantic Charter
was issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister
Winston Churchill. The Charter, a foundation stone for the later establishment
of the United Nations, set forth eight goals for the nations of the
world, including; the renunciation of all aggression, right to self-government,
access to raw materials, freedom from want and fear, freedom of the
seas, and disarmament of aggressor nations. By September, fifteen anti-Axis
nations signed the Charter.
August 14, 1945 - Following the two Atomic Bomb drops and believing that continuation of
the war would only result in further loss of Japanese lives, delegates
of Emperor Hirohito accepted Allied surrender terms originally issued
at Potsdam on July 26, 1945, with the exception that the Japanese Emperor's
sovereignty would be maintained. Japanese Emperor Hirohito, who had
never spoken on radio, then recorded an announcement admitting Japan's
surrender, without actually using the word. The announcement was broadcast
via radio to the Japanese people at noon the next day. The formal
surrender ceremony occurred later, on September 2, 1945, on board
the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
August 14, 1945 - V-J Day, commemorating President Truman's
announcement that Japan had surrendered to the Allies.
August 15 Return
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August 15, 1969 -
Woodstock began in a field near Yasgur's Farm at Bethel, New York. The
three-day concert featured 24 rock bands and drew a crowd of more than 300,000
young people. The event came to symbolize the counter-culture movement
of the 1960's.
Birthday - French
Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) was born on the island of Corsica.
Originally an officer in King Louis' Army, he rose to become Emperor
amid the political chaos that followed the French Revolution. He built
a half-million strong Grand Army which utilized newly invented modern tactics and improvisation
in battle to sweep across Europe and acquire an empire for France. However,
after defeats in Russia and later by the British, he went into exile
on the island of St. Helena off the coast of Africa. On May 5, 1821,
he died alone on the tiny island abandoned by everyone.
August 16, 1777 - During the American
Revolutionary War, the Battle of Bennington, Vermont, occurred as
militiamen from Vermont, aided by Massachusetts troops, wiped out a
detachment of 800 German-Hessians sent by British General Burgoyne to
August 16, 1780 - The Battle of Camden in South Carolina occurred during the American
Revolutionary War. The battle was a big defeat for the Americans as
forces under General Gates were defeated by troops of British General Charles
Cornwallis, resulting in 900 Americans killed and 1,000 captured.
August 16, 1896 - Gold was discovered in Rabbit Creek, a tributary of the Klondike River
in Alaska, resulting in the Great Klondike Gold Rush.
August 16, 1977 -
Elvis Presley was pronounced dead at the Memphis Baptist Hospital at
3:30 p.m., at age 42.
Birthday - T.E.
Lawrence 'of Arabia' (1888-1935) was born in Tremadoc, North Wales.
He led an Arab revolt against the Turks during World War I and served
as a spy for the British. He was killed in a motorcycle accident at
Dorset, England, on May 19, 1935.
Birthday - Israeli
leader Menachem Begin (1913-1992) was born in Brest-Litovsk, Poland.
He fought for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine in the
1940's, serving as the leader of a militant Zionist group. In 1977, he
became Prime Minister of Israel, and is best known for signing the 1979 Camp David Peace Accord between Israel and Egypt with President Jimmy
Carter and President Anwar el Sadat of Egypt.
August 17, 1943 - During World War II
in Europe, the Allies completed the conquest of the island of Sicily
after just 38 days. This gave the Allies control of the Mediterranean
and also led to the downfall of Benito Mussolini and Italy's eventual
withdrawal from the war. However, the Germans managed to evacuate 39,569
troops, 47 tanks, 94 heavy guns, over 9,000 vehicles and 2,000 tons
of ammunition back to the Italian mainland from Sicily.
August 17, 1978 - The first transatlantic balloon trip was completed by three Americans;
Max Anderson, Ben Abruzzo, and Larry Newman, all from Albuquerque, New
Mexico. Starting from Maine on August 11th, they traveled in Double
Eagle II over 3,000 miles in 137 hours, landing about 60 miles west
August 17, 1998-
Bill Clinton became the first sitting President to give testimony before
a grand jury in which he, the President, was the focus of the investigation.
This resulted from a sweeping investigation of the President by Independent
Counsel Ken Starr as well as a private lawsuit concerning alleged sexual
harassment by Clinton before he became President. In the evening, President
Clinton appeared on national television and gave a speech admitting he had engaged in an improper relationship with former White
House intern Monica Lewinsky. The admission occurred several months
after a much publicized denial.
Birthday - American
frontiersman Davy Crockett (1786-1836) was born in Hawkins County, Tennessee.
He was a farmer, scout and politician who perished at age 49 during
the final heroic defense of the Alamo in Texas.
August 18, 1920 - The 19th Amendment to the
U.S. Constitution was ratified, granting women the right to vote.
Birthday - American
explorer Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) was born near Charlottesville,
Virginia. Along with William Clark, he explored the American West, and
in 1805, after a journey of over 18 months, reached the Pacific Ocean.
August 19, 1934 - In Germany, a plebiscite was held in which 89.9 percent of German
voters approved granting Chancellor Adolf
Hitler additional powers, including the office of president.
August 19, 1991 - Soviet hard-line Communists staged a coup, temporarily removing Mikhail
Gorbachev from power. The coup failed within 72 hours as democratic
reformer Boris Yeltsin rallied the Russian people. Yeltsin then became the leading
power in the country. The Communist Party was soon banned and by December
the Soviet Union itself disintegrated.
Birthday - Aviation
pioneer Orville Wright (1871-1948) was born in Dayton, Ohio. In 1903,
Orville and his brother Wilbur achieved the world's first successful
sustained and controlled flight of a motor-driven aircraft, following
years of experimentation with kites and gliders.
Birthday - Bill
Clinton, the 42nd U.S. President was born in Hope, Arkansas, August
19, 1946. He was the first President elected who was not alive during
World War II.
August 20 Return
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Birthday - Benjamin
Harrison (1833-1901) the 23rd U.S. President was born in North Bend,
Ohio. He was the grandson of William
Henry Harrison, the 9th President.
August 21, 1863 - During the American Civil War,
William Quantrill led 450 irregular Confederate raiders on a pre-dawn
terrorist raid of Lawrence, Kansas, leaving 150 civilians dead, 30 wounded
and much of the town a smoking ruin. In 1862, Quantrill had been denied
a Confederate commission by the Confederate Secretary of War, who labeled
Quantrill's notions of war as 'barbarism.'
August 21, 1959 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed
a proclamation admitting Hawaii to the Union as the 50th state.
August 21, 1983 - Filipino opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., was assassinated
at the Manila airport while leaving his plane. Public outcry over the
killing ultimately led to the collapse of the government of Ferdinand
E. Marcos and the inauguration of Corazon C. Aquino, widow of the slain
man, as president.
August 22, 1986 - Deadly fumes from a volcanic eruption under Lake Nios in Cameroon
killed more than 1,500 persons.
Birthday - French
composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was born in St. Germain-en-Laye,
France. His unusual chords, based on the whole-tone scale, laid the
groundwork for a new style of music called impressionism.
August 23, 1927 - Italian immigrants Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were electrocuted
inside a prison at Charlestown, Massachusetts. They had been convicted
of a shoe factory payroll robbery during which the paymaster and a guard
had been killed. Following their convictions, all appeals for a new
trial had failed, despite the lack of hard evidence and a later admission
by a known criminal that he had participated in the robbery with an
organized criminal gang. The days and weeks leading up to their execution
aroused worldwide protests amid accusations of unfair treatment because
they had radical political views and were Italian.
August 24, 79 A.D. -
Vesuvius, an active volcano in southern Italy, erupted and destroyed
the cities of Pompeii, Stabiae and Herculaneum.
August 24, 1572 - Thousands of Protestant Huguenots were massacred in Paris and throughout
France by Catholics, in what became known as the St. Bartholomew's Day
August 24-25, 1814 - During the War of 1812, Washington, D.C., was invaded by British forces
that burned the Capitol, the White House and most other public buildings
along with a number of private homes. The burning was in retaliation
for the earlier American burning of York (Toronto).
August 25 Return
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August 25, 1985 - Samantha Smith died in an airplane crash in Maine. In 1982, the 11-year-old American schoolgirl had written a letter to Soviet Russia's leader Yuri
Andropov asking, "Why do you want to conquer the whole world, or
at least our country?" To her surprise, Andropov replied personally
to her and offered an all-expense paid trip to the U.S.S.R. She toured
Russia for two weeks amid worldwide publicity and came to symbolize
American and Russian hopes for peaceful co-existence.
Birthday - American
conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was born in Lawrence,
Massachusetts. Considered one of the finest conductors in American music
history, his works included West Side Story, On the Town,
and the opera Candide.
August 26, 1883 - One of the most catastrophic volcanic eruptions in recorded history
occurred on the Indonesian island of Krakatoa. Explosions were heard
2,000 miles away. Tidal waves 120 ft. high killed 36,000 persons on
nearby islands, while five cubic miles of earth were blasted into the
air up to a height of 50 miles.
Birthday - American
inventor Lee De Forest (1873-1961) was born at Council Bluffs, Iowa.
He held hundreds of patents for inventions and was also a pioneer in
the creation of wireless radio broadcasting and television.
Birthday - Charles
Dawes (1865-1951) was born in Marietta, Ohio. He served as U.S. Vice
President from 1925-29, and is best remembered for his "Dawes
Plan" for German reparations following World War I. He received
the 1925 Nobel Peace Prize.
Birthday - Lyndon
Baines Johnson (1908-1973) the 36th U.S. President was born near
Stonewall, Texas. He ascended to the presidency upon the assassination
of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Johnson served until January
Birthday - Mother
Teresa (1910-1997) was born (as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) in Skopje,
Yugoslavia. She founded a religious order of nuns in Calcutta, India,
called the Missionaries of Charity and spent her life working to help
the poor and sick of India.
August 28, 1963 - The March on Washington occurred
as over 250,000 persons attended
a Civil Rights rally in Washington, D.C., at which Rev. Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. made his now-famous I Have a Dream speech.
Birthday - German
author-philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) was born in
Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He is best known for the dramatic poem Faust,
completed in 1831.
Birthday - The first
American-born Roman Catholic saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821)
was born (as Elizabeth Ann Bayley) in New York. She founded the
first American Catholic religious order, the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph.
In 1809, she opened an elementary school in Baltimore, marking the beginning
of the parochial school system in the U.S.
August 29, 1792 - In one of the worst maritime disasters, 900 men drowned on the
British battleship Royal George. As the ship was being repaired,
a gust of wind allowed water to flood into open gun ports. The ship
sank within minutes.
August 29, 1991 - Following the unsuccessful coup of August 19-21, the Soviet Communist
Party was suspended, thus ending the institution that ruled Soviet Russia for nearly 75 years.
Birthday - Physician
and author Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) was born in Cambridge,
Massachusetts. He once wrote, "A moment's insight is sometimes
worth a life's experience." His poem Old
Ironsides aroused popular sentiment in the 1830's which helped
to save the historic frigate USS Constitution from destruction.
Birthday - British philosopher and pioneer in modern political thinking, John Locke (1632-1704)
was born in Wrington, England. His ideas greatly influenced American
colonists, namely that rulers derive their power only from the consent
of the governed - and the doctrine that men naturally possess certain
rights, the chief being life, liberty, and property.
Birthday - Frankenstein author Mary Shelley (1797-1851) was born in London.
Birthday - Civil
rights leader Roy Wilkins (1901-1981) was born in St. Louis, Missouri.
The grandson of a Mississippi slave, he was active in the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
August 31, 1786 -
Shays' Rebellion began in Massachusetts as ex-Revolutionary War Captain
Daniel Shays led an armed mob. The rebellion prevented the Northampton Court from
holding a session in which debtors, mostly poor ex-soldier farmers,
were to be tried and likely put in prison. Following this, in September, Shays'
troops prevented Supreme Court sessions at Springfield, Massachusetts. Early
in 1787, they attacked the Federal arsenal at Springfield, but were
soon routed and fled. Shays was sentenced to death but was pardoned
August 31, 1980 - Solidarity, the Polish trade union, was formed at Gdansk, Poland.
Led by Lech Walesa, Solidarity opposed Communist rule and was outlawed
in 1981. Seven years later, the re-legalization of Solidarity occurred
and the government agreed to hold partially free parliamentary elections.
Solidarity candidates scored stunning victories in the elections that
followed, gaining power in Poland and paving the way for the downfall
of Communism there.
August 31, 1997 - Britain's Princess Diana died
at age 36 from massive internal injuries suffered in a high-speed car
crash, reportedly after being pursued by photographers. The crash occurred
shortly after midnight in Paris inside a tunnel along the Seine River
at the Pont de l'Alma bridge, less than a half mile north of the Eiffel
Tower. Also killed in the crash were Diana's companion, Dodi Fayed,
42, and chauffeur Henri Paul. A fourth person in the car, bodyguard
Trevor Rees-Jones, was seriously injured.
(Photo and picture credits:
Library of Congress and U.S. National Archives)