On This Day
On This Day

March 25, 1911

TRAGIC TURNING POINT

 

 

How one disaster in New York City changed labor laws for the nation.

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It was a day that was bursting with life–a day full of the first breaths of spring and fate ruled that on this day, 146 young lives should be snuffed out in a terrible manner; they were destroyed by the horrible Triangle fire.”

Mary Domsky-Abrams was a blouse operator on the 9th floor of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory in New York City. She survived a devastating fire that killed 146 workers, many immigrants leaping to their death.
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WHY IT MATTERS

  • The horrifying fire became a national story, symbolizing the plight of immigrant workers.
  • Only 18 months earlier, unsafe working conditions in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory helped inspire the first widespread strike of women workers in U.S. history.
  • Fire propelled better reforms both for American workers & fire codes.
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The site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire is a National Historic Landmark. The National Park Service says the fire was "one of the worst industrial disasters in American history."

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March 6, 1836

THE ALAMO

 

 

“I shall never surrender or retreat… Victory or death!”

Texas Commander William B. Travis
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Why The Alamo

  • Mexico, newly independent from Spain, encouraged American settlers to move to Texas to populate the territory (Texians).
  • Settlers lived peacefully under Mexico law UNTIL the rise of Mex. dictator, Gen. Santa Anna. Fight for Texas independence begins.
  • Texians overtake San Antonio, a strategic city with an old fort: the Alamo.
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“The obstinancy of Travis and his soldiers was the cause of the death of the whole of them, for not one would surrender.”

Mexican Gen. Santa Anna in a letter years after the battle of the Alamo where he led thousands of Mexican troops against what he considered a frontier rebellion. Texians wanted representation in the Mexican gov't & if they couldn't get that, they wanted to be independent. Texians had anticipated a battle but didn't know Santa Anna's force would arrive so quickly.
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“… I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch…If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country.”

Texas Commander William Travis, Feb. 26, 1836, in a letter from the Alamo. The former teacher & lawyer moved to Texas years earlier.
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3 Things to Know

  • Siege started in late February; final stand March 6, 13 days later.
  • 180+ men w/diverse backgrounds, died defending the Alamo: Black & White. Northern & Southern. European. Mexican. Youngest: 16. Most Well-Known: Davy Crockett.
  • One of the few survivors was Susanna Dickinson whose husband was killed. She was allowed safe exit w/ her daughter.
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Why It Matters: The loss galvanized Texans against Mexico. Shortly after the battle of the Alamo, Texas defeated Santa Anna's Mexican army near Houston, securing Texas independence, with the battle cry "Remember The Alamo!"

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March 5, 1770

 

 

 

THE BOSTON MASSACRE

“On that night the formation of American independence was laid.”
Pres. John Adams

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Crispus Attucks 

  • African-American sailor.
  • The first of five men to die as a result of the Boston Massacre; reportedly killed instantly after British soldiers outnumbered them and fired suddenly into crowd of dozens of angry colonialists (protesting British taxes, restrictions, overall rule).
  • Attucks believed to be first martyr for cause of American Liberty.
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Lawyer & future U.S. Pres. John Adams' defense of British soldiers led to their acquittal in an American court. An irony since the "Boston Massacre," by its name & story, unified colonists vs. Brits & sowed the seeds of American revolution (begins 1775).

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AMERICA’S FACT FINDER
**since 1790**

On this day, the constitutionally mandated headcount administered every decade launched when Pres. Washington was in office.

It will be conducted for the 24th time this year, but faces a challenge in the Supreme Court.

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1790 Census

  • Took 18 months & $45K to count America’s 3.6M people.
  • Conducted by U.S. marshals who traveled the 13 states and soon-to-be states of KY, ME, TN  & VT.
  • Asked only 6 questions: the family name, as well the number of slaves & free people (white females, white males above and below 16-years-old, all other free people) in each household.
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“A census aims to count the entire population of a country, and at the location where each person usually lives … The goal is to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place.”

U.S. Census Bureau, which also aims to record the sex, age, and race of every American.
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WHY IT MATTERS

Results used to determine this over next 10 years:

  • federal $ states receive
  • members states get in the House of Representatives (ex: per 2010 Census, CA: 53; FL: 27)
  • electoral votes states get in presidential elections (ex: per 2010 Census, PA: 20; TX: 38)
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Census Controversy

  • March 2018: U.S Census Bureau announces new citizenship question, after the DOJ requested in 2017 the question be included in the 2020 Census.
  • Feb 2019: After a federal judge ruled in Jan. the Commerce Dep’t didn’t follow proper procedure to implement the new citizenship question, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
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Citizenship Question

Argument Against: It will lead to fewer responses from immigrants, causing inaccurate state population (citizens & immigrants – legal or not) counts used for $$ & political power.

Argument For: Supporters say data will be more “complete and accurate.” The question has been asked previously in 1950 and in limited form from 1970 to 2000.

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The Supreme Court will hear the case in April, crucial as the gov't has to finalize questions by end of June for printing, though this will be the first time the census can be completed online. Fun Census Fact: Did you know an American is born every 8 secs?

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#OTD in 1980

“Do You Believe In Miracles?”

The U.S. Olympic hockey team pulled off one of the greatest upsets in sports history, defeating the Soviet Union, 4-3.

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“Risk something or forever sit with your dreams.”

USA Hockey coach Herb Brooks. The American team, a 7th seed long shot comprised of college players, faced the Soviets, a 4-time winning, gold-medal defending group of professional athletes at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY.
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Setting the Stage

  • Expectations were low. Days earlier, U.S.S.R beat the U.S. 10-3 in a non-Olympic game.
  • Despite the rout, tickets to the sold out event were going for 4-5 times the $67.20 printed price.
  • U.S. viewers at home didn’t get to watch it live. It was shown on tape delay because the U.S.S.R refused to air the prime-time matchup at 4AM Moscow time.
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U.S. vs. U.S.S.R.

  • Americans came out fast, but the Soviets stepped up their attack.
  • Remarkable saves by U.S. goalie Jim Craig kept the score low. A goal by Mike Eruzione gave the Americans the first lead of the game & they held on to win it all.
  • Players, coaches & team officials rushed the ice to hug & celebrate while the astonished Soviets waited patiently to shake hands.
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Gold Medal Champions

However, the win – while miraculous – still did not secure the Americans a gold medal.

That would come two days later with a victory over Finland – giving Team U.S.A. its first gold medal win in 20 years and its second in the history of the Winter Games.

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The Olympic achievement made U.S. hockey "America's team" with a White House visit & players on magazines and Wheaties boxes. Sports Illustrated says the win over the Soviets is #1 sports moment of the 20th century. But to many, it was also a Cold War ideological victory.

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#OTD in 1968
The First 9-1-1 Call

You know the number to dial in an emergency, but it wasn’t always that way.

Why we have Haleyville, Alabama to thank for answering the call.

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Putting It On the Map

  • Safety officials & Congress took 10 years before the FCC & AT&T decided to create a nat’l emergency system.
  • Not all citizens used AT&T; Local phone companies had to agree.
  • Alabama Telephone Co., mad it was excluded from talks, selected Haleyville, designed & built its system in a week, & made the first 9-1-1 call two weeks before AT&T.
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Why 9-1-1?

  • Simple & easy to remember.
  • Dialed quickly in emergency – even on a rotary phone.
  • Never previously used as an area code or service code.
  • U.K.’s 9-9-9, the first universal emergency number in the world, would be too easy to misdial.
  • Canada agreed; adopting America’s 9-1-1 in the 1970s.
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9-1-1 in Modern Times

  • Text to 9-1-1 not available in most of the U.S.; FCC: system needs to be updated.
  • If your cell is charged & can reach a signal, you can call 9-1-1 without a provider contract.
  • State laws differ, but calling 9-1-1 in a non-emergency may result in criminal penalties.
  • Remember: you pay for 9-1-1 service through provider fees.
On This Day

By the end of 1976, 9-1-1 emergency system served 17% of the U.S. population. Today, it reaches almost 97% of America. With 80% of those calls from wireless devices, a far cry from the rotary phone used 51 years ago today.

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February 12, 1809

Abraham Lincoln’s Birthdate

 

 

America’s 16th President, from Illinois, born in a log cabin in Kentucky.

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Young Abe Lincoln

  • First U.S. President born west of Appalachian Mountains.
  • Grew up in poverty.
  • Cabin = one room, dirt floor.
  • Father: Thomas, pioneer farmer
  • Mother: Nancy Hanks, who died when Lincoln was 10 – he called her “angel mother.”
  • Step-mother: Sarah Bush Johnston who Lincoln loved and called his “mama.”
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Early Life

“It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods. There I grew up…. Of course when I came of age I did not know much. Still somehow, I could read, write, and cipher … but that was all.”

President Lincoln reflecting on growing up in Indiana, where his family moved after Kentucky.
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Pres. Lincoln: Youth

  • Did not regularly go to school.
  • Attended an anti-slavery church.
  • Served in the “Black Hawk War” – a deadly, but short conflict with the Black Hawk Native American tribe in 1832.
  • Found himself in Illinois by accident traveling to a job. In his 20s, he kept shop in the town of New Salem & served as the town’s postmaster.
On This Day

You can own a part of Pres. Lincoln's childhood. 30 acres of farmland he once owned (bought from his father) heads to auction in Illinois. We often forget Pres. Lincoln lost a race for Senator in Illinois, but earned the prominence to be nominated for President in 1860.

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Queen Elizabeth II Ascended To The British Throne

 

67 years ago, following the death of her father, Elizabeth became Queen at age 25.

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Record-Breaking Queen

In 2007, at 81, she became the oldest British monarch, beating a record set by Queen Victoria (her paternal great-great-grandmother).

In 2015, at 88, she became the world’s oldest monarch. Months later, she passed Queen Victoria again, & became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.

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Bag Lady?

The Queen is rarely seen without a handbag and it’s usually her signature black Launer bag (a British designer), in which she’s been known to carry her reading glasses, lipstick, and a handkerchief.

One item not in her purse?
A passport; she doesn’t need one! (because they are issued in her name).

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“Each day is a new beginning, I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God.”

Queen Elizabeth II
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Although she is the world's longest (living) monarch, she is not *yet* the longest reigning monarch - that title goes to the former King of Swaziland, who spent 82 years on the throne after ascending to the thrown at age 1.

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50 Years Ago:

The Beatles Last Public Performance

The unannounced, rooftop concert at Apple Records was to be the big finish to a film that was designed to reunify its members – but it ended up being the last straw.

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Why the Roof?

  • The Beatles struggled for a location for the last scene of the film, considered filming in the Sahara desert or QE2 cruise ship.
  • Decision to play on the London rooftop made just days before.
  • It was 45° in London. Lennon & Starr borrowed their wives’ coats.
Watch Now
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How It Played Out

  • Joined on the keys by Billy Preston, who’s credited with keeping the band together during this time, they played for 42 mins.
  • Included iconic songs “Get Back” & “Don’t Let Me Down”.
  • The Beatles, being filmed for their movie, hoped the police would arrest them, but it didn’t happen.
  • Police, many fans themselves, just asked them to turn it down.
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“I’d like to thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition.”

John Lennon before ending The Beatles' final public concert on January 30, 1969. The film & album recordings from that day would end up becoming their swan song, "Let it Be".
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By September of that year, the group had unofficially disbanded with John Lennon (who was 29 years old at the time) informing other members he was leaving the group.

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January 25, 1890

“The American Girl will no longer be misunderstood. She will be recognized as pushing, determined, independent, able to take care of herself alone and single-handed, wherever she may be.”

Mayor Cleveland of Jersey City, Jan. 25, 1890 as Nellie Bly arrives at her final stop, after attempting to travel the world in 80 days; she did it in 72.
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Who Is Nellie Bly?

  • Born Elizabeth Cochrane.
  • Trail blazing female journalist
  • Made a name for herself as an intrepid reporter covering the forgotten: the poor & mentally ill.
  • Big Break: She pretended to be insane so she could be committed to a notorious asylum, Blackwell’s Island. She spent 10 days inside the institution & exposed abusive conditions.
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January 25, 1890

  • On assignment, Nellie reported on whether or not one could indeed travel “Around The World in 80 Days” (famous fiction book).
  • She traveled alone, wearing one navy dress, carrying a small bag  & used every transport available: ship, train, Jinricksha, horse etc.
  • Her circumnavigation of the globe started Nov. 14 and ended, January 25 in 72 days, 6 hours.
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Nellie completed this adventure right before her 26th birthday. She became a journalist through happenstance - writing a piece to the editor of the Pittsburgh Dispatch criticizing the paper's representation of women; The editor printed her piece & offered her a job as a columnist.

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John Hancock

Born January 23, 1737

39 years later, he became the first Founding Father to sign the Declaration of Independence, making his bold signature one of the most famous in American history.

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John Hancock

  • Orphan turned Harvard graduate.
  • Adopted by a wealthy uncle with a shipping fortune.
  • His ship “Liberty” got seized by Brits for smuggling. John Adams, his good friend & lawyer, got charges dismissed.
  • Influential in the American Revolution, though not in battle; known for his ability to raise $$ for troops (ex: supplies & food).
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His Signature

  • John Hancock not only signed the Declaration of Independence first, his signature is the largest.
  • Rumors suggested he did this to make sure King George could read it.
  • More Likely: As one of few Founding Fathers to sign the doc on July 4th, 1776 (most signed Aug. 2nd), it WAS a bold move (and he had a huge blank space).
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“We think we live in a dangerous, uncertain time, and we do. But theirs was worse, and they had no sure way of knowing how things would turn out, any more than we do…To sign your name to the Declaration of Independence was to declare yourself a traitor to the British Crown. If caught by enemy forces, you would almost certainly be hanged.”

Historian David McCullough, op-ed on the Founding Fathers of 1776
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Your signature is often referred to as your "John Hancock" because of Hancock's prominent signature on the Declaration of Independence. Hancock, born in Massachusetts, loved his home state & served 9 terms as governor.

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January 16, 1919

The States Ratify The 18th Amendment & Prohibition Takes Effect Nationwide

Drinking in America then & now – a look at our drinking habits in the century since Prohibition.

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PROHIBITION

  • Who: Anti-alcohol groups date back to the 19th century, but it wasn’t until the 1900s that the idea that the gov’t should legislate public morals gained widespread popularity.
  • What: Prohibition banned the sale – NOT consumption of alcohol.
  • When: From 1919 to 1933.
  • Where: Maryland did not enforce the ban & other states followed.
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Average Annual Alcohol Consumption Per Person (in gallons!). This data strips alcohol content from mixed drinks, wine etc.

  • 1906 – 1910 (Pre-Prohibition): 2.6
  • 1916 – 1919 (Pre-Prohibition): 1.96
  • 1936: 1.2
  • 1956: 2.03
  • 1976: 2.66
  • 1996: 2.16
  • 2016: 2.33
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What Counts As A Drink?

An alcoholic drink contains 0.6 fl oz of pure alcohol, such as

  • 1.5 fl oz of hard liquor
  • 5 fl oz of wine
  • 12 fl oz of beer

Women recommended to drink no more than one drink a day &men no more than two.

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“Women metabolize alcohol more slowly than men, so alcohol stays in a woman’s bloodstream longer. Also, men tend to have more muscle than women; alcohol can be diluted into water held in muscle tissue, but not in fat tissue. A woman’s risk for breast cancer – the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women – increases with greater alcohol consumption.”

American Institute for Cancer Research
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DID YOU KNOW? America's drinking habit lead to the ONLY Constitutional amendment ever repealed in our nation's history. In 1933, the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment, and put an end to Prohibition. Read more on why:

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