Monday, September 27, 2010

August 3rd in History

Patriarch Nestorious icon

435   Deposed Patriarch of Constantinople Nestorius, considered the originator of Nestorianism, is exiled by Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II to a monastery in Egypt.  Nestorianism is one of the divisions in Christianity; in this case significant to the formation of the Eastern Rites Churches.

Otis demonstration
of safety equipment

1527   First known letter is sent from North America by John Rut while at St. John's, Newfoundland.

1678   Robert LaSalle builds the Le Griffon, the first known ship built on the Great Lakes.

1811   Elisha Graves Otis, American inventor of safety devices for elevators(d. 1861); look for the name Otis on any elevator you take this week. That would be the same Otis.

1900   The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company is founded.
Ernie Pyle, in 1942
 Also in 1900, birth on this day of Ernie Pyle,  legendary American war correspondent who died from Japanese machine gun fire while covering WW II as a war correspondent  in 1945;

George Rappleyea on left,
John Scopes on right
1925 during the trial
trial era photo of the opposition
and in 1900, the  birth of John T. Scopes, defendant in the famous Scopes 'Monkey' Trial (d. 1970). Called the trial of the century, over challenging the Butler Act, which forbid teaching the theory of  evolution.  Challenging the Butler Act was the idea of George Rappleyea, in order to draw attention to Dayton, Tennesee.  It worked, beyond his wildest dreams.

1904   Birth of Clifford D. Simak, prolific American Science Fiction author (d. 1988).  Winner of three Hugos and one Nebula award, and many others; he was an editor for the Minneapolis Star and Tribune newspapers and resided in Minneapolis until his death. .

some of the Hop Riot workers,
in 1913
Hop Riot Historic
Land Mark on the site
 of the Durst Ranch

1913  In Wheatland, California rioting by agricultural workers employed at the Durst Hop Ranch, then the largest agricultural employer in the state.  It occurred in conjunction with an attempt by the 'Wobblies', the Industrial Workers of the World, to organize migrant farm labor in order to improve severely substandard and exploitative working conditions and compensation.  Previously the focus of labor unions had been urban industrial workers; this was the first time an attempt had been made to unionize agricultural labor. Four died, including one child, and many more were injured out of an estimated 2,000 hop pickers and an unknown number of law enforcement officers and bosses.  It is a safe assumption that a majority of the Hop pickers were Hispanic workers, including some illegal immigrants. Subsequently the California National Guard was deployed, and vigilante violence occurred not only across California but throughout the western United States targeting 'Wobblies'.  The event resulted in the formation of an Immigration and Housing Commission.

1916   World War I: Battle of Romani, Allied forces, under the command of Archibald Murray, defeat an attacking Ottoman army, under the command of Friedrich Freiherr Kress von Kressenstein, securing the essential Suez Canal, and beginning the Ottoman retreat from the Sinai.  The defeat of the Ottoman Empire altered the political control of the region, making it possible for the Balfour Declaration of 1917, establishing a Jewish home nation in Palestine.

1920   P. D. James, English novelist

1924   Leon Uris, American novelist (d. 2003)

1936   Jesse Owens, a black American, wins the 100 meter dash, defeating Ralph Metcalfe, at the Berlin Olympics.  Winning a total of 4 gold medals, his performance undermined Hitler's contentions about Aryan racial superiority.

1943    Gen. George S. Patton slapped a private at an army hospital in Sicily, accusing him of cowardice.

Alger Hiss during testimony

1948   Whittaker Chambers accuses Alger Hiss of being a communist and a spy for the Soviet Union during the anti-communist witch hunt House Committee on Un-American Activities hearings, convened by Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy.  Alger Hiss had been a distinguished member of the State Department, and also involved in establishing the United Nations.  Hiss was convicted of perjury, but could not be tried for espionage because the statute of limitations had run.  There is a great deal of continuing controversy over whether Hiss and his wife were or were not spies, and whether the U.S. government used forged documents to gain his conviction.

1958    The nuclear submarine USS Nautilus travels beneath the Arctic ice cap.  The Nautilus was the first functional nuclear powered sub, and the first to travel beneath the North Pole.  The sub was named for the submarine in the 1869 Jules Verne science fiction novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Beneath the Sea. Nuclear power enabled the submarine to travel further than other sources of power.
1977   The United States Senate hearing on MKULTRA, the secret testing of drugs, including hallucinogenics like LSD, on unwitting and non-consenting subjects, both American and Canadians, and possibly other foreign citizens.  Nixon administration CIA director Richard Helms ordered all files destroyed in an attempted cover-up of the project.  In the context of 1977 congressional probes into the project, Sen. Ted Kennedy stated from the floor of the Senate, "The Deputy Director of the CIA revealed that over thirty universities and institutions were involved in an "extensive testing and experimentation" program which included covert drug tests on unwitting citizens "at all social levels, high and low, native Americans and foreign." Several of these tests involved the administration of LSD to "unwitting subjects in social situations." At least one death, that of Dr. Olson, resulted from these activities. The Agency itself acknowledged that these tests made little scientific sense. The agents doing the monitoring were not qualified scientific observers."  MKULTRA supposedly ran from the early 1950s through the late 1960s, and a predecessor program ran from the mid 1940s.  Some individuals from within the intelligence community have suggested that MKULTRA was not so much abandoned, as resumed under other identification.  Ultimately 45 colleges and universities, 15 research organizations including prominent pharmaceutical companies, a dozen or more hospitals and clinics, and at least three prisons participated in testing without consent.  Testing on human subjects without their informed consent had formed a significant part of the justification for some of the Nuremberg Trials, and was understood to be highly unethical as well as illegal by the participating researchers and organizations.

2004   The pedestal of the Statue of Liberty reopens after being closed since the September 11 attacks.

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