This Day in History Class

This Day in History Class

From the desk of “Stuff You Missed in History Class,” “This Day in History Class” quickly recounts a tidbit from today’s events in history.

Episodes

May 12, 2021 14 min

On this day in 1910, Nobel-prize winning chemist Dorothy Hodgkin was born. / On this day in 1941, civil engineer and inventor Konrad Zuse, who worked in Nazi Germany, unveiled the first full functional, programmable computer.

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On this day in 868, a copy of the Diamond sutra was published. It is the oldest surviving complete dated and printed book. / On this day in 1895, composer William Grant Still was born in Mississippi.

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On this day in 1849, a riot broke out at the Astor Place Opera House in New York. / On this day in 1919, a riot began when white sailors began attacking Black people in Charleston, South Carolina.

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On this day in 1893, the Kinetoscope had its first public demonstration at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences. / On this day in 1671, Thomas Blood attempted to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London.

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On this day in 1945, the massacre of Algerian civilians by French authorities and European Algerians began in retaliation for anti-colonial demonstrations. / On this day in 1963, South Vietnamese soldiers and security forces fired into a crowd of unarmed Buddhist protesters, marking the start of the Buddhist crisis.

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On this day in 1994, one version of Edvard Munch's famous painting "The Scream" was recovered months after it was stolen from the National Gallery in Norway. / On this day in 1794, the Cult of the Supreme Being -- a cult established by Maximilien Robespierre -- was authorized by a decree of the National Convention.

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On this day in 1884, circus performer and strongwoman Katie Sandwina was born. / On this day in 1882, U.S. President Chester A. Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned the immigration of Chinese laborers for 10 years, though Congress later extended it.

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On this day in 1832, the Indian Vaccination Act went into effect, providing for the vaccination of thousands of Native Americans from smallpox. / On this day in 1905, the Stratton brothers' trial began in England. It was the first recorded murder trial in England to use fingerprints as evidence.

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On this day in 1919, thousands of students gathered at Tiananmen Square in Beijing to protest the Paris Peace Conference. / On this day in 1886, a bomb set off at a peaceful labor protest in Chicago triggered a riot.

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"Raja Harischandra," considered by many to be the first full-length Indian feature film, was released on this day in 1913. / On this day in 1868, the Edo period in Japan ended, and the Meiji Restoration began.

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On this day in 1882, Puerto Rican activist Isabel González was born. / On this day in 1964, a group of Chinese climbers summited Shishapangma, the 14th highest mountain in the world.

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On this day in 1820, the conspirators who plotted to assassinate the entire British Cabinet were executed for high treason. / Though it was officially published weeks later in two volumes, Carl Linnaeus's "Species Plantarum" was given the day of issue of May 1, 1753.

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On this day in 1963, West Indians in Bristol, England, boycotted the Bristol Omnibus Company for its refusal to hire people of color as bus crew. / On this day in 1961, the Soviet Union commissioned the K-19, a ballistic missile equipped nuclear submarine.

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On this day in 1854, the Ashmun Institute, now called Lincoln University, was chartered as a college for Black men. / On this day in 1992, riots erupted in Los Angeles in response to the acquittal of police officers charged with excessive force in the beating of Rodney King.

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On this day in 1870, performers Fanny and Stella were arrested for "public mischief" for cross-dressing. / On this day in 1789, acting lieutenant Fletcher Christian led a mutiny against Captain William Bligh on the HMS Bounty.

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On this day in 1865, the steamboat Sultana exploded, killing an estimate of nearly 2,000 people. / On this day in 1882, writer and literary editor Jessie Redmon Fauset was born.

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On this day in 1986, a chemical explosion in a nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Soviet Ukraine triggered one of the worst nuclear disasters ever. / On this day in 1920, astronomers Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis presented their opposing points about the scale of the universe in an event sometimes called “The Great Debate.”

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On this day in 1953, Watson and Crick's article on their discovery of the structure of DNA was published in the journal Nature. / On this day in 1917, American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald was born.

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On this day in 1932, hundreds of ramblers protested being denied access to open country by trespassing at Kinder Scout, a moorland plateau in England. / This day in 1914 is widely considered the beginning of the Armenian genocide, though Armenian massacres had occurred previously.

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On this day in 1985, Coca-Cola launched New Coke, the reformulated version of its flagship drink. Coke drinkers did not respond well to the new taste, to say the least. / On this day in 1516, the Reinheitsgebot, a Bavarian beer purity law, was adopted.

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