Today in History – December 1

1641 – Massachusetts became the first colony to give statutory recognition to slavery.

1662 – Diarist John Evelyn recorded skating on the frozen lake in St James’s Park, London, and being watched by Charles II and Queen Catherine.

1822 – Franz Liszt, aged 11, debuted as a pianist in Vienna.

1824 – United States presidential election: Since no candidate received a majority of the total electoral college votes in the election, the United States House of Representatives was given the task of deciding the winner in accordance with the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  On February 9, 1825, John Quincy Adams was elected as president without getting the majority of the electoral vote or the popular vote, being the only president to do so.

1862 – In his State of the Union Address President Abraham Lincoln reaffirmed the necessity of ending slavery as ordered ten weeks earlier in the Emancipation Proclamation.

1865 – Shaw University, the first historically black university in the southern United States, was founded in Raleigh, North Carolina.

1878 – The first telephone is installed in the White House.

1887 – Sherlock Holmes first appeared in print in “Study in Scarlet” by Arthur Conan Doyle.

1903 – “The Great Train Robbery” the first Western film, was released.  

1913 – The first drive-up gasoline station opened in Pittsburgh.

1913 – Ford Motor Company instituted the world’s first moving assembly line for the Model T Ford.

1913 – The Buenos Aires Metro, the first underground railway system in the Southern Hemisphere and in Latin America, began operation.

1919 – Lady Astor became the first female Member of Parliament (MP) to take her seat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. (She had been elected to that position on November 28.)

1922 – The first skywriting over US – “Hello USA”- was done by Captain Turner, RAF.

1924 – The National Hockey League’s first United States-based franchise, the Boston Bruins, played their first game in league play at home, at the still-extant Boston Arena indoor hockey facility.

1929 – The game of Bingo was invented by American toy salesman Edwin S. Lowe.

1934 – In the Soviet Union, Politburo member Sergey Kirov was assassinated. Stalin used the incident as a pretext to initiate the Great Purge.

1941 – World War II: Emperor Hirohito of Japan gave the final approval to initiate war against the United States.

1941 – World War II: Fiorello La Guardia, Mayor of New York City and Director of the Office of Civilian Defense, signed Administrative Order 9, which created the Civil Air Patrol.

1951 – Golden Gate Bridge closed due to high winds.

1952 – The New York Daily News reported the news of Christine Jorgensen, the first notable case of sex reassignment surgery.

1953 – Hugh Hefner published the first edition of Playboy magazine, featuring Marilyn Monroe as the magazine’s first centerfold.

1955 – American Civil Rights Movement: In Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man and was arrested for violating the city’s racial segregation laws, an incident which led to that city’s bus boycott.

1957 – Sam Cooke, Buddy Holly and the Crickets debuted on “The Ed Sullivan Show”.

1958 – The Our Lady of the Angels School fire in Chicago killed 92 children and three nuns.

1959 – The first color photograph of Earth was received from outer space.

1959 – Cold War: Opening date for signature of the Antarctic Treaty, which set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and banned military activity on the continent.

1960 – Paul McCartney and Pete Best were arrested then deported from Hamburg, Germany accused of attempted arson.

1969 – Vietnam War: The first draft lottery in the United States was held since World War II.

1969 – LAPD Police Chief Edward Davis announced warrants for the arrest of the Manson cult for murder.

1971 – John Lennon and Yoko Ono released “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” in US.

1974 – TWA Flight 514, a Boeing 727, crashed northwest of Dulles International Airport and killed all 92 people on board.

1974 – Northwest Airlines Flight 6231, another Boeing 727, crashed northwest of John F. Kennedy International Airport.

1981 – Inex-Adria Aviopromet Flight 1308, a McDonnell Douglas MD-80, crashed in Corsica and killed all 180 people on board.

1982 -“Tootsie”, directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Dustin Hoffman and Jessica Lange, premiered in Hollywood.

1984 – “Beverly Hills Cop”, directed by Martin Brest and starring Eddie Murphy and Judge Reinhold, premiered in Los Angeles.

1984 – NASA conducted the Controlled Impact Demonstration, wherein an airliner was deliberately crashed in order to test technologies and gather data to help improve survivability of crashes.

1988 – World AIDS Day was proclaimed worldwide by the UN member states.

1988 – Roy Orbison gave his final concert at The Front Row Theater in Cleveland, Ohio.

1989 – Cold War: East Germany’s parliament abolished the constitutional provision which granted the Communist Party the leading role in the state.

1990 – Channel Tunnel sections started from the United Kingdom and France met beneath the seabed.

1991 – Cold War: Ukrainian voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum for independence from the Soviet Union.

1994 – Jim Bakker, American televangelist convicted of fraud, was released from jail.

1994 – Rapper Tupac Shakur was convicted on sexual assault charge and later sentenced to up to 4 1/2 years in prison.

1997 – Heath High School shooting in West Paducah, Kentucky.  Fourteen-year-old Michael Carneal opened fire on a group of students, killing three and injuring five more.

2000 – Vicente Fox Quesada was inaugurated as the president of Mexico, marking the first peaceful transfer of executive federal power to an opposing political party following a free and democratic election in Mexico’s history.

2003 – “The Return of the King”, the 3rd and final film in the Lord of the Rings series, directed by Peter Jackson and starring Elijah Wood and Ian McKellen, premiered in Wellington, New Zealand.

2014 – “The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies”, the 3rd and final Hobbit film, directed by Peter Jackson, starring Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen, premiered in London.


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