Stories of the Month

February 2017

1
Greensboro Four- Sit in at the Lunch Counter, 1960
In 1960, four black men sat at the 'whites only' Woolworth lunch counter in North Carolina. Archival footage and interviews provide background on the successful integration.
Columbia-Disintegrating Descent, 2003
Two RNAF pilots captured a unique look at the Shuttle Columbia disintegrating in 2003. The pilots were flying over the state of Texas when this footage was recorded.
Columbia-The Black Box Falls to Earth, 2003
In 2003 the Shuttle Columbia incinerated on reentry to Earth, all astronauts aboard died. Some questions were answered by the intact flight recorder found in a Louisiana swamp.
Julia Ward Howe and the Writing of the Battle Hymn, 1865
In 1862, Julia Howe published her poem, ''The Battle Hymn'' in the magazine ''The Atlantic.''
Ayatollah Khomeini Returns to Iran, 1979
A clip from BBC series, 'Iran and the West', provides background on Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. On this date in 1979 he returned to Iran after 15 yrs in exile
2
The Battle of Stalingrad 1943
In 1943 the Battle of Stalingrad was recorded to have ended on February 2nd. A battle between Nazi forces attempting to take the Soviet Union city of Stalingrad.
James Joyce Born 1882
James Joyce's published 'Ulysses' in Paris in 1922 (only 1,000 copies!)
Death and Funeral of Queen Victoria 1901
Queen Victoria's funeral, on this day, marked the end of an era. When her son became Britain's monarch, the country moved from the Victorian Age to the Edwardian Age.
Jesse James & the Bushwhacker Connection 1865
Guerilla militants, including a young Jesse James, murdered Union soldiers going home on leave. This is one of the most infamous events in America's civil war.
3
''The Day the Music Died'' 1959
In 1959, a bad-weather plane crash shocked the American public as 3 popular music icons perished all at once. Buddy Holly (22), Ritchie Valens (17), J.P. (''The Big Bopper'') Richardson (28) and their pilot died in the crash.
Mehmet II - ''The Conqueror''- Inherits Ottoman Throne 1451
When he was not-quite 20 years old, Mehmet (Mehmed) II inherits the Ottoman Throne. Two years later, the young man conquers Constantinople, a world-changing event. He changes the city's name to Istanbul (''City of Islam'').
4
Unanimous Election of a President, 1789
In 1789 the electoral college of the United States of America chose George Washington as the first president of the new nation.
Yalta-A Conference that Changed the World, 1945
A newsreel from 1945 describes the conference between British, American, and Russian diplomats. This meeting was part of world powers uniting to defeat Nazi Germany.
5
Rationing Sweets and Chocolates Ends after 10 years 1953
The British government rations sweets and chocolates beginning July 26, 1942. Those restrictions remain in effect until 5 Feb 1953. When sweets are finally off the ration list, the amount of spending for these treats skyrockets in the first year.
Conviction in the Medgar Evans Case 1994
After two previously hung-jury trials, in which the defendant was aided by the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, Byron de la Beckwith was convicted of the murder of Medgar Evans. The conviction occurred on February 5, 1994.
FDR and the Court-Packing Plan 1937
Thinking the U.S. Supreme Court could strike-down his proposals, FDR (on Feb 5, 1937) proposes to increase the number of high-court justices with pro-FDR people. It takes no time whatsoever for political cartoonists to lampoon the idea.
6
King George VI Dies 1952
Britain's much-loved King, George VI, died peacefully in his sleep during the early morning of February 6, 1952. His daughter, Princess Elizabeth, was traveling for her father when she heard the news that she was now Queen Elizabeth II.
Aaron Burr Born 1756
Aaron Burr, America’s third vice president, was born on this day in Newark, New Jersey. He had an eventful life, including a fatal dual with Alexander Hamilton.
America's Treaty of Alliance with France 1778
Ben Franklin made many contributions to America, but one of his most-important was negotiating a Treaty of Alliance with France - a military power whose resources were invaluable during the final years of America’s Revolutionary War.
7
Rights Given, Rights Removed - Impact of Southern Reconstruction
President Lincoln wants America to take a moderate approach to rebuilding the country, and reconstruct the South, at the end of the Civil War. After his assassination, however, things did not proceed the way Lincoln had urged.
8
Guadalcanal - A Turning Point in WWII 1943
A video clip describes the scene of a nasty shoot-out between young, unprotected American marines and veteran Japanese soldiers in 1943, during a battle at Guadalcanal.
Shergar, the Awesome Racehorse, Disappears 1983
In 1983, Shegar a prized race horse, was stolen from his home and never seen again! Years later, the public learned the truth about what happened.
Execution of Mary Queen of Scots 1587
After spending nearly 20 years under house arrest, in Britain, Mary, Queen of Scots is beheaded. She learned about her pending execution the night before.
9
Battle of Guadalcanal Ends 1943
Fighting between the Japanese and Americans on the Island of Guadalcanal is brutally intense and lasts for months. The battle for the strategic island finally ends with an American victory on February 9, 1943.
Macbeth - An Animated Summary
An animated summary of Macbeth, together with supplementary information, provides very interesting background to the real-life, 11th-century Scottish King.
10
Bridge of Spies - Francis Gary Powers and Rudolf Abel Exchange 1962
With a cold fog descending on Berlin, people took their places on the Glienicke Bridge. It was a cold Saturday morning, in 1962, and no news reporters would be allowed to witness the event when East and West exchanged Powers and Abel.
Queen Victoria Marries Prince Albert 1840
For the first time since 1554, a reigning Queen of England becomes a bride when Victoria marries Albert at the Chapel Royal, St. James' Palace. The couple remain together for nearly 21 years, until Albert's death in 1861.
Murder of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley 1567
During the early morning hours of February 10, 1567, someone murdered Lord Darnley - also known as Henry Stuart - at Kirk o'Field. People pointed to Mary, Queen of Scots, Darnley's wife. Was she guilty of engineering her husband's murder?
11
Margaret Thatcher - First Woman to Lead a British Political Party 1975
As Margaret Thatcher becomes popular, some of her colleagues think she could actually become the leader of her political party. Before that could happen, however, other advisers believe Margaret needs a ''make-over'' (including work on her voice).
Henry VIII Called ''Supreme Head'' of Church in England 1531
A religious Convocation recognizes Henry VIII as the ''Supreme Head'' of the newly Protestant Church in England. This occurs a few years before Thomas Cromwell proposes the ''Act of Supremacy'' for Parliament to consider.
Nelson Mandela Released from Prison, 1990
On this date in 1990 Nelson Mandela was released from prison. Learn more about the man through a video interview recorded prior to his arrest.
12
Aleksander Solzhenitzyn Deported 1974
Winning the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature, Solzhenitsyn was deported from Russia in 1974 (soon after the first volume of his acclaimed work, ''The Gulag Archipelago'' was published). He later talks about what happened to him (and how he reacted).
Lady Jane Grey - Queen for 9 Days 1554
On this date, in 1554, Lady Jane Grey and her husband were beheaded after her brief nine-day rule as Britain's Queen. She had succeeded Edward VI after Henry VIII's son died young.
Abraham Lincoln Born in 1809
America's 16th President was born on this date in 1809. Learn about the man who saved the Union (and how he was able to achieve so much despite his humble beginnings).
Charles Darwin Born in 1809
Charles Darwin, whose theories about evolution and natural selection revolutionized scientific inquiries, was born on this day in 1809. Learn more about him through the story of his relationship with his daughter Annie (who died when she was young).
13
Bombing of Dresden Begins 1945
Allied forces, during World War II, dropped bombs on the German city of Dresden between February and March of 1945. It is estimated that around 135,000 people died during the disastrous shelling. The bomb runs began on Feb 13, 1945.
King Tut and Downton Abbey 1924
Howard Carter opened King Tut's Tomb on this day, in 1924. He was funded by George Herbert (who later became the 5th Earl of Carnavon), whose family owns Highclere Castle (used as Downton Abbey in the much-loved TV series).
14
Valentine's Day and Its Origins 1415
Although the actual origins of Valentine's Day are lost in the mists of history, scholars are reasonably sure the first Valentine dates back to 1415 (when a captured Duke penned a poem from the Tower of London). See several cool cards from the ages.
Plague in Strasbourg, Jews Burned as Scapegoats 1349
People in Strasbourg took action against the Jews for allegedly causing and/or spreading ''The Pestilence.'' As a result, thousands of people were burned to death on February 14, 1349. A medieval drawing, circa 1375, depicts the event.
15
First ''Teddy Bear'' Displayed in New York City 1903
Inspired by a cartoon, featuring President Theodore Roosevelt, a couple in New York City create a new toy they call ''Teddy's Bear.'' Meant to simply be a display, in their candy-store window, the item becomes a product in itself.
Attempted Assassination of Franklin D. Roosevelt 1933
Just before his first inauguration, Franklin D. Roosevelt visits Miami. A man named Giuseppe (''Joe'') Zangara fires five shots, attempting to assassinate FDR. How FDR responds is closely watched by a nation who does not-yet really know him.
Russian Meteor Lands on Earth 2013
A completely unexpected, unpredicted meteor strike occurred in Russia on the 15th of February, 2013. The bright fireball, which people witnessed, was the ionizing gases in the atmosphere (not the object itself).
16
Howard Carter Unseals King Tut's Burial Chamber 1923
The 5th Earl of Carnarvon (George Herbert) and Howard Carter unseal King Tut’s burial chamber and discover stunning works of art. The Earl, whose ancestral home is Highclere Castle, is the real-life basis of Robert Crawley and Downton Abbey.
Corregidor - Americans Return to the Island 1945
Abandoned by the U.S. government, whose leaders sent limited resources elsewhere for the time being, U.S. troops on Corregidor fought, in 1942, until they couldn’t go on. More U.S. troops didn’t arrive until the 16th of February, 1945.
Blaine Act Ends ''Prohibition'' in the U.S. 1933
Prohibition - designed to prevent Americans from making, selling and transporting intoxicating liquor - was a total failure. The Blaine Act finally ends the Prohibition and Volstead laws on the 16th of February, 1933.
17
Columbia Burns during Sherman's "March to the Sea" 1865
As Union forces attack the South, during Sherman's March to the Sea, one of the most-damaged cities is Columbia, SC. People still debate whether the burning of Columbia was intentional or accidental, making it either a war crime or a war casualty.
Miles Standish and the Plymouth Colony 1621
On February 17, 1601, Miles (Myles) Standish was appointed first commander of the newly established Plymouth Colony. What do we know about him?
18
Robert Oppenheimer-Manhattan Project, died 1967
Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, one of the scientists behind the development of the atomic bomb died, on this day in 1967. Watch a video clip of him to learn more.
Huck Finn Published in the U.S. 1885
Huck Finn was published in the U.S. A classic piece of literature which shed light on the transition out of slavery. Listen to part of the story, read questions and discuss.
19
Japan Attacked Australia, 1942
Mainland Australia came under Japanese attack this day in 1942. Learn more about the battles, victories and defeats through historic video footage and more!
FDR Issued an Order Against Japanese-Americans, 1942
FDR signed Executive Order 9066 into law. What did the order state? How did life change for Japanese Americans and other descendants of immigrants?
Willie & Tad Lincoln White House Play
Explore the White House through the eyes of Abraham Lincoln's young sons. What would they have done for fun? How was life for presidential children in 1860s?
20
Frederick Douglas the Great Emancipator Died, 1895
On this day in 1895 Frederick Douglas died. A former slave and later civil rights champion learn more about the man behind the movements.
Death of Willie Lincoln 1862
On this day in 1862 Abraham Lincoln's oldest son died. Learn more about his illness, death, and the impact on the presidential family through a PBS documentary clip.
Presidents' Day - ''The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself"
Explore Presidents' Day with this video of FDR's first inaugural address including the famous line, ''The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.''
Presidents' Day - Explore Stories, Videos, Topics and Images 2017
In 2017, Presidents' Day is Feb 20th. This list of topics, from George Washington to Air Force One, provides a diverse array of items to use this Presidents' Day.
21
Battle of Verdun, 1916
in 1916 the German forces worked to win a battle by attrition. Learn more about this style of warfare froma BBC documentary clip.
President Nixon went to China, 1972
In 1972, Nixon quietly visited China in hopes of improving relations between the two nations. Learn more through a video clip of the trip highlights.
Kamikazi Pilots, 1945
On this day in 1945, the USS Bismarck Sea (CVE 95) was sunk by Japanese fighter pilots executing a new style of warfare. View historic footage of the kamikazi-pilot attacks to learn more.
22
FDR Orders General MacArthur to Leave The Philippines 1942
Without telling MacArthur that the U.S. gov't would temporarily abandon all soldiers, sailors and nurses stationed in The Philippines, FDR orders MacArthur to leave for Australia when it appears that the Filipino islands will fall to Japanese forces.
George Washington, Father of His Country, Born 1732
In 1732 George Washington was born. Learn about the young man prior to become the first president of the United States.
23
Parliament Abolishes the Slave Trade 1807
In 1807, the British Parliament abolished slave trading. Learn about the people instrumental in this movement (and how long it took them to succeed).
Iwo Jima - The Capture of Mount Suribachi 1945
On this date, in 1945, forty US Marines capture Mt. Suribachi during the fighting on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima during WW II.
Gutenberg Printing Press, 1455
It is estimated that on this day in 1455 Johannes Gutenberg used his printing press to print the first book. Learn more about the development of print around the world.
24
Marbury vs Madison Decided, 1803
Learn more about the US Supreme Court deciding the first law unconstitutional.
Canada Orders Internment of Japanese-Canadians 1942
Five days after FDR signs an Order to evacuate Japanese-Americans from the western part of the US, the Canadian government issues a similar order to round-up Japanese-Canadians from the country's Pacific Coast area. About 20,000 people are impacted.
25
First African American Congressman, 1870
The first African-American to serve in the U.S. Congress, Hiram Rhodes Revels, was sworn into office on this day in 1870
Salk Interview: Could You Patent the Sun? 1952
Dr. Salk who led the creation of the vaccine for polio talks in an interview about personal gains being secondary to helping mankind.
26
Napoleon Escaped Elba, 1815
On this day in 1815 Napoleon escaped the island of Elba to return to power.
World Trade Center Bombing, 1993
Learn more about the World Trade Center Bombing which took place on this day in 1993 through the executive summary from the National Fire Protection Association.
Salk Polio Vaccine Field Tested, 1954
Dr. Salk and his team held the first mass testing of the polio vaccination in Pittsburgh, PA on this date in 1954.
27
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1807
On the 27th of February, 1807, American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine. He composed one of his most-famous poems (about the American Revolutionary War) during the American Civil War. Have a listen.
Andersonville Prison and Its Terrible Reputation 1864
The first Union prisoners arrive at Andersonville, in Georgia, on 27 Feb 1864. Known for its horrific conditions, the place was supervised by Confederate Major Henry Wirz who was tried and executed for war crimes after the U.S. Civil War was over.
28
Salem Witch Hunt, 1692
The Salem Witch Hunt began on this day in 1692. Learn more about the accusations, trials and hangings.
Crick and Watson Announce the Double-Helix of DNA 1953
Building on the work of Rosalind Franklin, Francis Crick and James Watson announce (from Cambridge University) that they have discovered the double-helix structure of DNA (the molecule which contains human genes). See this video to learn about DNA.

Feb 1: Greensboro Four- Sit in at the Lunch Counter, 1960

Feb 1: Columbia-Disintegrating Descent, 2003

Feb 1: Columbia-The Black Box Falls to Earth, 2003

Feb 1: Julia Ward Howe and the Writing of the Battle Hymn, 1865

Feb 1: Ayatollah Khomeini Returns to Iran, 1979

Feb 2: The Battle of Stalingrad 1943

Feb 2: James Joyce Born 1882

Feb 2: Death and Funeral of Queen Victoria 1901

Feb 2: Jesse James & the Bushwhacker Connection 1865

Feb 3: ''The Day the Music Died'' 1959

Feb 3: Mehmet II - ''The Conqueror''- Inherits Ottoman Throne 1451

Feb 4: Unanimous Election of a President, 1789

Feb 4: Yalta-A Conference that Changed the World, 1945

Feb 5: Rationing Sweets and Chocolates Ends after 10 years 1953

Feb 5: Conviction in the Medgar Evans Case 1994

Feb 5: FDR and the Court-Packing Plan 1937

Feb 6: King George VI Dies 1952

Feb 6: Aaron Burr Born 1756

Feb 6: America's Treaty of Alliance with France 1778

Feb 7: Rights Given, Rights Removed - Impact of Southern Reconstruction

Feb 8: Guadalcanal - A Turning Point in WWII 1943

Feb 8: Shergar, the Awesome Racehorse, Disappears 1983

Feb 8: Execution of Mary Queen of Scots 1587

Feb 9: Battle of Guadalcanal Ends 1943

Feb 9: Macbeth - An Animated Summary

Feb 10: Bridge of Spies - Francis Gary Powers and Rudolf Abel Exchange 1962

Feb 10: Queen Victoria Marries Prince Albert 1840

Feb 10: Murder of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley 1567

Feb 11: Margaret Thatcher - First Woman to Lead a British Political Party 1975

Feb 11: Henry VIII Called ''Supreme Head'' of Church in England 1531

Feb 11: Nelson Mandela Released from Prison, 1990

Feb 12: Aleksander Solzhenitzyn Deported 1974

Feb 12: Lady Jane Grey - Queen for 9 Days 1554

Feb 12: Abraham Lincoln Born in 1809

Feb 12: Charles Darwin Born in 1809

Feb 13: Bombing of Dresden Begins 1945

Feb 13: King Tut and Downton Abbey 1924

Feb 14: Valentine's Day and Its Origins 1415

Feb 14: Plague in Strasbourg, Jews Burned as Scapegoats 1349

Feb 15: First ''Teddy Bear'' Displayed in New York City 1903

Feb 15: Attempted Assassination of Franklin D. Roosevelt 1933

Feb 15: Russian Meteor Lands on Earth 2013

Feb 16: Howard Carter Unseals King Tut's Burial Chamber 1923

Feb 16: Corregidor - Americans Return to the Island 1945

Feb 16: Blaine Act Ends ''Prohibition'' in the U.S. 1933

Feb 17: Columbia Burns during Sherman's "March to the Sea" 1865

Feb 17: Miles Standish and the Plymouth Colony 1621

Feb 18: Robert Oppenheimer-Manhattan Project, died 1967

Feb 18: Huck Finn Published in the U.S. 1885

Feb 19: Japan Attacked Australia, 1942

Feb 19: FDR Issued an Order Against Japanese-Americans, 1942

Feb 19: Willie & Tad Lincoln White House Play

Feb 20: Frederick Douglas the Great Emancipator Died, 1895

Feb 20: Death of Willie Lincoln 1862

Feb 20: Presidents' Day - ''The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself"

Feb 20: Presidents' Day - Explore Stories, Videos, Topics and Images 2017

Feb 21: Battle of Verdun, 1916

Feb 21: President Nixon went to China, 1972

Feb 21: Kamikazi Pilots, 1945

Feb 22: FDR Orders General MacArthur to Leave The Philippines 1942

Feb 22: George Washington, Father of His Country, Born 1732

Feb 23: Parliament Abolishes the Slave Trade 1807

Feb 23: Iwo Jima - The Capture of Mount Suribachi 1945

Feb 23: Gutenberg Printing Press, 1455

Feb 24: Marbury vs Madison Decided, 1803

Feb 24: Canada Orders Internment of Japanese-Canadians 1942

Feb 25: First African American Congressman, 1870

Feb 25: Salk Interview: Could You Patent the Sun? 1952

Feb 26: Napoleon Escaped Elba, 1815

Feb 26: World Trade Center Bombing, 1993

Feb 26: Salk Polio Vaccine Field Tested, 1954

Feb 27: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1807

Feb 27: Andersonville Prison and Its Terrible Reputation 1864

Feb 28: Salem Witch Hunt, 1692

Feb 28: Crick and Watson Announce the Double-Helix of DNA 1953

Feb 29: Hattie McDaniel - First African-American to Win an Academy Award 1940

Feb 29: South Carolina Raises Minimum Working Age from 12 to 14 for Child Laborers 1916

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