Today in History – July 28

1540 – Thomas Cromwell was executed at the order of Henry VIII of England on charges of treason. Henry married his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, on the same day.

1794 – French Revolution: Maximilien Robespierre and Louis Antoine de Saint-Just were executed by guillotine in Paris, France.

1866 – At the age of 18, Vinnie Ream became the first and youngest female artist to receive a commission from the United States government for a statue (of Abraham Lincoln).

1868 – The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution was certified, which established African American citizenship and guaranteed due process of law.

1914 – The Foxtrot was first danced at a New Amsterdam Roof Garden, in New York City, by Harry Fox.

1931 – Mob hitman Mad Dog Coll allegedly participated in a kidnapping attempt that resulted in the shooting death of a child, which earned him the nickname “Mad Dog.”

1932 – “White Zombie” – the first feature length zombie film, directed by Victor Halperin and starring Bela Lugosi, was released in the U.S.

1933 – The first singing telegram was sent by a fan and delivered to Rudy Vallee, Hollywood singing star, in New York City.  Thus began Western Union’s singing telegram services.  

1935 – First flight of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.

1942 – World War II: Soviet leader Joseph Stalin issued Order No. 227. In response to alarming German advances, all those who retreat or otherwise leave their positions without orders to do so were to be tried in a military court, with punishment ranging from duty in a shtrafbat battalion, imprisonment in a Gulag, or execution.

1943 – President Franklin Roosevelt announced the end of coffee rationing in the US.

1945 – A U.S. Army B-25 bomber crashed into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building killing 14 and injuring 26.  “Elevator girl” Betty Lou Oliver survived falling 75 stories after fog caused the bomber crash which broke the cables supporting the elevator she was operating. This remains a world record for the longest survived elevator fall.

1951 – Walt Disney’s animated musical film “Alice In Wonderland” was released.

1957 – Jerry Lee Lewis made his first TV appearance.  He was a guest on the Steve Allen Show.

1960 – US Republican National convention selected Richard Nixon as candidate for President of the United States.

1978 – 600,000 people attended the “Summer Jam” rock festival at Watkins Glen, New York, at the time the largest ever audience at a pop festival.

1986 – NASA released the transcript from doomed Challenger space shuttle.  Pilot Michael Smith could be heard saying, “Uh-oh!” as the shuttle disintegrated.

1996 – The remains of a prehistoric man were discovered near Kennewick, Washington. Such remains became known as the Kennewick Man.

2016 – Earliest evidence of cancer found in a 1.7 million-year-old toe fossil from Swartkrans Cave, South Africa.


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