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On this day July 23, 1967

In Detroit, Michigan, one of the worst riots in United States history begins on 12th Street in the predominantly African American inner city (43 killed, 342 injured and 1,400 buildings burned).

The precipitating event was a police raid of a blind pig on the corner of 12th Street and Clairmount on the city’s near westside. Police confrontations with patrons and observers on the street evolved into one of the deadliest and most destructive riots in U.S. history, lasting five days and surpassing the violence and property destruction of Detroit’s 1943 race riot.

To help end the disturbance, the Michigan National Guard was ordered into Detroit by Governor George Romney and President Lyndon B. Johnson sent in United States Army troops. The result was forty-three dead, 467 injured, over 7,200 arrests and more than 2,000 buildings burned down. Read More…

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On this day July 19, 1848

The two-day Women’s Rights Convention, the first women’s rights and feminist convention held in the United States, opened in Seneca Falls, New York.

Seneca Falls Convention

Seneca Falls Convention

The convention was seen by some of its contemporaries, including organizer and featured speaker Lucretia Mott, as but a single step in the continuing effort by women to gain for themselves a greater proportion of social, civil and moral rights, but it was viewed by others as a revolutionary beginning to the struggle by women for complete equality with men.

Afterward, Elizabeth Cady Stanton presented the resulting Declaration of Sentiments as a foundational document in the American woman’s suffrage movement, and she promoted the event as being the first time that women and men gathered together to demand for women the right to vote. Read More…

On this day July 18, 1969

After a party on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts, United States Senator Ted Kennedy drove his car off a wooden bridge into a tidal channel, killing his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne, a former campaign worker.

July ted

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According to his own testimony at the inquest into Kopechne’s death, Kennedy left the party at “approximately 11:15 p.m.” When he announced that he was about to leave, Kopechne indicated “that she was desirous of leaving, if I would be kind enough to drop her back at her hotel”. Kennedy then requested the keys to his car from his chauffeur, Crimmins.

Asked why he did not have his chauffeur drive them both, Kennedy explained that Crimmins along with some other partygoers “were concluding their meal, enjoying the fellowship and it didn’t appear to me necessary to require him to bring me back to Edgartown”. Kopechne told no one that she was leaving with Kennedy, and left her purse and hotel key at the party. Read More…

On this day July 17, 1944

Near the San Francisco Bay, two ships laden with ammunition for the war explode in Port Chicago, California, killing 320. Most of the dead and injured were enlisted African-American sailors.

A month later, continuing unsafe conditions inspired hundreds of servicemen to refuse to load munitions, an act known as the Port Chicago Mutiny. Fifty men, called the Port Chicago 50, were convicted of mutiny and sentenced to long prison terms. Forty-seven of the 50 were released in January 1946; the remaining three served additional months in prison. Read More…

On this day July 13, 1863

In New York City, opponents of conscription begin three days of rioting which will be later regarded as the worst in United States history.

The riots known at the time as Draft Week, were violent disturbances in New York City that were the culmination of discontent with new laws passed by Congress to draft men to fight in the ongoing American Civil War.

The riots were the largest civil insurrection in American history apart from the Civil War itself. President Abraham Lincoln sent several regiments of militia and volunteer troops to control the city. Although not the majority, many of those arrested had Irish names, according to the lists compiled by Adrian Cook in his “Armies of the Streets.” Read More…

On this day July 10, 1962

Telstar, the world’s first communications satellite, is launched into orbit by NASA aboard a Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral.

Telstar

Telstar

Telstar 1 was the first privately sponsored space launch. A medium-altitude satellite, Telstar was placed in an elliptical orbit (completed once every 2 hours and 37 minutes), inclined at an angle of approximately 45 degrees to the equator, with perigee about 1000 km from Earth and apogee about 6000 km from Earth.

Because of this, its availability for transatlantic signals was limited to 20 minutes in each orbit that passed over the Atlantic Ocean.

Telstar 1, which had ushered in a new age of the benevolent use of technology, became a victim of technology during the Cold War. The day before Telstar 1 was launched, the United States had tested a high-altitude nuclear bomb (called Starfish Prime) which energized the Earth’s Van Allen Belt where Telstar 1 went into orbit. Read More…

On this day July 9, 1958

Lituya Bay is hit by a mega-tsunami. At 10:15 p.m. an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 struck the Lituya Bay area, which is still daylight for Lituya Bay during that time of year.

The tide was ebbing at about plus 1.5m and the weather was clear. Anchored in Anchorage Cove, near the west side of the entrance of the bay, Bill and Vivian Swanson were on their boat fishing when the unthinkable happened, the wave is recorded at 524 meters high, making it the largest wave in history, 470 feet taller than the Empire State Building.

Eyewitness account refer that: With the first jolt, I tumbled out of the bunk and looked toward the head of the bay where all the noise was coming from. The mountains were shaking something awful, with slide of rock and snow, but what I noticed mostly was the glacier, the north glacier, the one they call Lituya Glacier. Read More…