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History.com - This Day in History 

July 06, 1957: Althea Gibson is first African American to win Wimbledon

On this day in 1957, Althea Gibson claims the women’s singles tennis title at Wimbledon and becomes the first African American to win a championship at London’s All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.Gibson was born on August 25, 1927, in Silver, South Carolina, and raised in the Harlem section of New York City. She began playing tennis as a teenager and went on to win the national black wo

July 05, 1946: Bikini introduced

On July 5, 1946, French designer Louis Reard unveils a daring two-piece swimsuit at the Piscine Molitor, a popular swimming pool in Paris. Parisian showgirl Micheline Bernardini modeled the new fashion, which Reard dubbed “bikini,” inspired by a news-making U.S. atomic test that took place off the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean earlier that week.European women first began wearing two-piece

July 04, 1776: U.S. declares independence

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain and its king. The declaration came 442 days after the first volleys of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts and marked an ideological expansion of the conflict that would eventua

July 03, 1863: Battle of Gettysburg ends

On the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s last attempt at breaking the Union line ends in disastrous failure, bringing the most decisive battle of the American Civil War to an end.In June 1863, following his masterful victory at the Battle of Chancellorsville, General Lee launched his second invasion of the Union in less than a year. He led his 75,000-m

July 02, 1964: Johnson signs Civil Rights Act

On this day in 1964, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs into law the historic Civil Rights Act in a nationally televised ceremony at the White House.In the landmark 1954 case _Brown v. Board of Education_, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in schools was unconstitutional. The 10 years that followed saw great strides for the African-American civil rights movement, as non

July 01, 1997: Hong Kong returned to China

At midnight on July 1, 1997, Hong Kong reverts back to Chinese rule in a ceremony attended by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Prince Charles of Wales, Chinese President Jiang Zemin, and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. A few thousand Hong Kongers protested the turnover, which was otherwise celebratory and peaceful.In 1839, Britain invaded China to crush opposition to its interfe

June 30, 1936: Gone with the Wind published

Margaret Mitchell’s _Gone with the Wind_, one of the best-selling novels of all time and the basis for a blockbuster 1939 movie, is published on this day in 1936.In 1926, Mitchell was forced to quit her job as a reporter at the _Atlanta Journal_ to recover from a series of physical injuries. With too much time on her hands, Mitchell soon grew restless. Working on a Remington typewriter, a gif

June 29, 1995: U.S. space shuttle docks with Russian space station

On this day in 1995, the American space shuttle _Atlantis_ docks with the Russian space station _Mir_ to form the largest man-made satellite ever to orbit the Earth.This historic moment of cooperation between former rival space programs was also the 100th human space mission in American history. At the time, Daniel Goldin, chief of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), cal

June 28, 1953: Workers assemble first Corvette in Flint, Michigan

On this day in 1953, workers at a Chevrolet plant in Flint, Michigan, assemble the first Corvette, a two-seater sports car that would become an American icon. The first completed production car rolled off the assembly line two days later, one of just 300 Corvettes made that year.The idea for the Corvette originated with General Motors’ pioneering designer Harley J. Earl, who in 1951 began dev

June 27, 1950: Truman orders U.S. forces to Korea

On June 27, 1950, President Harry S. Truman announces that he is ordering U.S. air and naval forces to South Korea to aid the democratic nation in repulsing an invasion by communist North Korea. The United States was undertaking the major military operation, he explained, to enforce a United Nations resolution calling for an end to hostilities, and to stem the spread of communism in Asia. In add

June 26, 1948: U.S. begins Berlin Airlift

On this day in 1948, U.S. and British pilots begin delivering food and supplies by airplane to Berlin after the city is isolated by a Soviet Union blockade.When World War II ended in 1945, defeated Germany was divided into Soviet, American, British and French zones of occupation. The city of Berlin, though located within the Soviet zone of occupation, was also split into four sectors, with th

June 25, 1876: Battle of Little Bighorn

On this day in 1876, Native American forces led by Chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull defeat the U.S. Army troops of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer in a bloody battle near southern Montana’s Little Bighorn River.Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, leaders of the Sioux tribe on the Great Plains, strongly resisted the mid-19th-century efforts of the U.S. government to confine their peopl

June 24, 1997: U.S. Air Force reports on Roswell

On this day in 1997, U.S. Air Force officials release a 231-page report dismissing long-standing claims of an alien spacecraft crash in Roswell, New Mexico, almost exactly 50 years earlier.Public interest in Unidentified Flying Objects, or UFOs, began to flourish in the 1940s, when developments in space travel and the dawn of the atomic age caused many Americans to turn their attention to the

June 23, 1992: Teflon Don sentenced to life

Mafia boss John Gotti, who was nicknamed the “Teflon Don” after escaping unscathed from several trials during the 1980s, is sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty on 14 accounts of conspiracy to commit murder and racketeering. Moments after his sentence was read in a federal courthouse in Brooklyn, hundreds of Gotti’s supporters stormed the building and overturned and smashed cars

June 22, 1944: FDR signs G.I. Bill

On this day in 1944, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the G.I. Bill, an unprecedented act of legislation designed to compensate returning members of the armed services–known as G.I.s–for their efforts in World War II.As the last of its sweeping New Deal reforms, Roosevelt’s administration created the G.I. Bill–officially the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944–hoping to avoid a re

June 21, 1788: U.S. Constitution ratified

New Hampshire becomes the ninth and last necessary state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, thereby making the document the law of the land.By 1786, defects in the post-Revolutionary War Articles of Confederation were apparent, such as the lack of central authority over foreign and domestic commerce. Congress endorsed a plan to draft a new constitution, and on May 25, 1787, the

June 20, 1975: Jaws released

On this day in 1975, _Jaws_, a film directed by Steven Spielberg that made countless viewers afraid to go into the water, opens in theaters. The story of a great white shark that terrorizes a New England resort town became an instant blockbuster and the highest-grossing film in movie history until it was bested by 1977’s _Star Wars_. _Jaws_ was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Picture

June 19, 1953: Rosenbergs executed

On this day in 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted of conspiring to pass U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviets, are executed at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York. Both refused to admit any wrongdoing and proclaimed their innocence right up to the time of their deaths, by the electric chair. The Rosenbergs were the first U.S. citizens to be convicted and executed for espionage

June 18, 1812: War of 1812 begins

The day after the Senate followed the House of Representatives in voting to declare war against Great Britain, President James Madison signs the declaration into law–and the War of 1812 begins. The American war declaration, opposed by a sizable minority in Congress, had been called in response to the British economic blockade of France, the induction of American seaman into the British Royal Nav

June 17, 1885: Statue of Liberty arrives in New York Harbor

On this day in 1885, the dismantled State of Liberty, a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of America, arrives in New York Harbor after being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean in 350 individual pieces packed in more than 200 cases. The copper and iron statue, which was reassembled and dedicated the following year in a ceremony presided over by U.S. President Grover Clevel

June 16, 1884: First roller coaster in America opens

On this day in 1884, the first roller coaster in America opens at Coney Island, in Brooklyn, New York. Known as a switchback railway, it was the brainchild of LaMarcus Thompson, traveled approximately six miles per hour and cost a nickel to ride. The new entertainment was an instant success and by the turn of the century there were hundreds of roller coasters around the country.Coney Island,

June 15, 1215: Magna Carta sealed

Following a revolt by the English nobility against his rule, King John puts his royal seal on the Magna Carta, or “Great Charter.” The document, essentially a peace treaty between John and his barons, guaranteed that the king would respect feudal rights and privileges, uphold the freedom of the church, and maintain the nation’s laws. Although more a reactionary than a progressive document in its

June 14, 1777: Congress adopts the Stars and Stripes

During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress adopts a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” The national flag, which became known as the “Stars and Stripes,” was based on the “Grand Union” flag, a banner carried by the Continen

June 13, 1966: The Miranda rights are established

On this day in 1966, the Supreme Court hands down its decision in _Miranda_ v. _Arizona_, establishing the principle that all criminal suspects must be advised of their rights before interrogation. Now considered standard police procedure, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can, and will, be used against you in court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot af

June 12, 1987: Reagan challenges Gorbachev

On this day in 1987, in one of his most famous Cold War speeches, President Ronald Reagan challenges Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down” the Berlin Wall, a symbol of the repressive Communist era in a divided Germany.In 1945, following Germany’s defeat in World War II, the nation’s capital, Berlin, was divided into four sections, with the Americans, British and French controlling th

June 11, 1979: John Wayne dies

On this day in 1979, John Wayne, an iconic American film actor famous for starring in countless westerns, dies at age 72 after battling cancer for more than a decade.The actor was born Marion Morrison on May 26, 1907, in Winterset, Iowa, and moved as a child to Glendale, California. A football star at Glendale High School, he attended the University of Southern California on a scholarship but

June 10, 1752: Franklin flies kite during thunderstorm

On this day in 1752, Benjamin Franklin flies a kite during a thunderstorm and collects a charge in a Leyden jar when the kite is struck by lightning, enabling him to demonstrate the electrical nature of lightning. Franklin became interested in electricity in the mid-1740s, a time when much was still unknown on the topic, and spent almost a decade conducting electrical experiments. He coined a nu

June 09, 1973: Secretariat wins Triple Crown

With a spectacular victory at the Belmont Stakes, Secretariat becomes the first horse since Citation in 1948 to win America’s coveted Triple Crown–the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes. In one of the finest performances in racing history, Secretariat, ridden by Ron Turcotte, completed the 1.5-mile race in 2 minutes and 24 seconds, a dirt-track record for that distance.Secr

June 08, 1968: King assassination suspect arrested

James Earl Ray, an escaped American convict, is arrested in London, England, and charged with the assassination of African American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.On April 4, 1968, in Memphis, King was fatally wounded by a sniper’s bullet while standing on the balcony outside his second-story room at the Motel Lorraine. That evening, a Remington .30-06 hunting rifle was found on t

June 07, 1913: First successful ascent of Mt. McKinley

On this day in 1913, Hudson Stuck, an Alaskan missionary, leads the first successful ascent of Mt. McKinley, the highest point on the American continent at 20,320 feet.Stuck, an accomplished amateur mountaineer, was born in London in 1863. After moving to the United States, in 1905 he became archdeacon of the Episcopal Church in Yukon, Alaska, where he was an admirer of Native Indian culture


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