December 2: This Day in History

odettaDecember 2, 2014 – Segment 1

Marc shares some of the events that happened on this day in history, including the 1859 hanging of abolitionist John Brown for his raid on harpers Ferry, West Virginia, riots breaking out in Jerusalem in response to the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine in 1947, and the death of folk singer and activist Odetta.

Today is,

–Armed Forces Day, Cuba

–International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, International

On this day,

1697 – St. Paul’s Cathedral is consecrated in London.

1763 – On this day in the Touro Synagogue in Newport Rhode Island, the first synagogue in what will become the United States.

1804 – Napoleon Bonaparte crowns himself Emperor of the French, the first French Emperor in a thousand years.

1823 – President James Monroe proclaims American neutrality in future European conflicts with the signing of the Monroe Doctrine.  It is a stark warning for European governments to not interfere in the Americas.

1845 – Manifest Destiny: In a State of the Union message, U.S. President James K. Polk proposes that the United States should aggressively expand into the West.

1859 – Abolitionist John Brown is hanged for his raid on harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

1867 – Charles Dickens gives his first public reading in the United States at Tremont Temple in Boston, Massachusetts.

1884 – Granville T. Woods of Cincinnati, Ohio was granted patent number 308,817 for his invention of a telephone transmitter which produced more distinct and powerful effects resulting in transmission to longer distances. Woods was born April 23, 1856 in Columbus, Ohio and dedicated his life to developing a variety of improvements related to the railroad industry and controlling the flow of electricity.

1886 – Edith Kermit Carow marries Theodore Roosevelt the future President of the United States.

1908 – Puyi becomes Emperor of China at the age of two.

1930 – The Great Depression:  In a State of Union message, U.S. President Herbert Hoover proposes a US $150 million public works program to help generate jobs to stimulate the Economy

1939 – NYC’s LaGuardia Airport opens.

1947 – Riots break out in Jerusalem in response to the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine.

1956 – Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and 80 other members of the 26th f July Movement disembark to initiate the Cuban Revolution.

1961 – Britain refuses Uganda’s request for independence.

1969 – Marie Van Brittan Brown of Jamaica, Queens, New York received patent number 3,482,037 for a closed circuit television security system.

1969 – Vice President Spiro Agnew presented the Congressional Medal of Honor, America’s highest military decoration, to the family of Eugene Ashley, Jr. for Ashley’s actions during the Vietnam War. Ashley was born October 12, 1931 in Wilmington, North Carolina but raised in New York City. He joined the United States Army in 1950 and served in Korea and Vietnam. On February 7, 1968, while serving as a sergeant first class in Company C of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, his actions earned him the medal.

1970 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency begins operations

1976 – Fidel Castro becomes President of Cuba, replacing Osvaldo DorticósTorrado.

1977 – Due to insufficient evidence South African police are cleared of charges with regards to the death of Steve Biko.

1982 – At the University of Utah, Barney Clark becomes the first person to receive a permanent artificial heart.

1982 – Breyten Breytenbach, Afrkaner writer, and anti apartheid activist was released from prison after serving a nine year prison term under the South African terrorism act.  He was charged with attempting to open a white wing branch of the African National Congress.

1988 – Benazir Bhutto is sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islam-dominated state.

1991 – Canada and Poland become the first nations on earth recognize the independence of the Ukraine from the Soviet Union.

1993 – Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar is shot and killed in Medellin.

1999 – The United Kingdom devolves political power in Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Executive.


1754 – William Cooper, American judge and politician, founded Cooperstown, New York (d.1809)

1863 –  Charles Edward Ringling, American businessman, co-founded the Ringling Brothers Circus) (d.1926)

1866 – Henry  “Harry” Burleigh, classical composer arranger and professional singer, was born on this day in Erie, Pennsylvania.  (d.1942)

1891 –  Otto Dix, German artist, painter and printmaker was born on this day in Gera, Germany.  (d.1977)

1891 – Charles Harris Wesley, historian, educator and author, was born in Louisville, Kentucky. Wesley earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Fisk University in 1911, his Master of Arts degree in economics from Yale University in 1913, and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1925. Wesley’s doctorate in history was the third Ph. D. awarded by Harvard to an African American.  He authored a number of books, including “The History of Alpha Phi Alpha: A Development in Negro College Life” (1929), “The History of Sigma Pi Phi” (1954), “Ohio Negroes in the Civil War” (1962), and “Prince Hall: A Life and Legacy” (1977). Wesley died August 16, 1987.

1912 – Henry Armstrong, the first boxer to hold titles in three weight classes at the same time, was born Henry Jackson Jr., in Columbus, Mississippi.

1922 – Charles Cole Diggs, Jr., the first African American congressman from Michigan, was born in Detroit, Michigan.

1923 – Maria Callas Greek soprano, one of the most renowned opera singers of the 20th century (d.1977)

1931 – Masaaki Hatsumi, Japanese martial artist, founded Bujinkan

1939 – Harry Reid American lawyer and politician, 25th Lieutenant Governor of Nevada.

1944 – Ibrahim Rugova, Kosovan politician, 1st President of Kosovo (d.2006)

1946 – Gianni Versace, Italian fashion designer, founded Versace (d.1997)

1954 – Stone Phillips, American journalist.

1973 – Monica Seles, Serbian-American tennis player

1983 – Action Bronson, American rapper


1881 – Jenny von Westphalen, author and wife of the philosopher Karl Marx (b.1814)

1893 – Pauline Cushman, American actress and spy for the union Army during the American Civil War. (b.1833)

1908 – John Baxter Taylor Jr., the first African American to win a n Olympic Gold medal (b.1883)

1936 – John Ringling American businessman, co-founded Ringling Brothers Circus (b.1866)

1986 – Desi Arnaz, Cuban American actor, singer, and producer, co-foundedDesilu Productions (b.1917)

1990 – Aaron Copland, American composer and conductor (b.1900)

2000 – Gail Fisher, the first African American to win an Emmy Award, died.  Fisher was born August 18, 1935  She won the Emmy for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting role for her role in the detective series “Mannix”

2001 – Helen Octavia Dickens, African American medical Pioneer (b.1909)

2008 – Odetta Holmes, aka Odetta American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actress civil and human rights activist, known as the “Voice of the Civil Rights Movement” (b.1930).

Sources: The People History; This Day in Labor History; Wikipedia List of Historical Anniversaries; This Day in Women’s History; This Day in African History;; History Orb; Yenoba; Selected Black Facts; Phil Konstantin’s North American Indian History; and This Day in Music