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This Date In History

1765

A huge fire engulfs Montreal, destroying nearly a third of the city before it is put out. This occurred on the 123rd anniversary of the founding of the city, in 1642.

1804

Napoleon Bonaparte is declared emperor of France by the Senate.

1848

The first meeting of the German National Assembly is held in Frankfurt.

1872

Philosopher, mathematician, and Nobel Prize winner Bertrand Russell is born.

1883

Walter Gropius, prominent founder of the Bauhaus movement, is born.

1896

The notorious Plessy v. Ferguson case, which creates the "separate but equal" doctrine that dominates civil rights cases for the next 60 years, is decided by the Supreme Court.

1897

Legendary director Frank Capra (It's A Wonderful Life, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) is born.

1902

Broadway tunesmith Meri Wilson ("The Music Man", "Hello, Dolly") is born.

1911

Composer Gustav Mahler passes away.

1912

Crooner Perry Como is born.

1917

Woodrow Wilson signs into law the Selective Service Act, providing for the first draft in American history.

1920

Pope John Paul II is born.

1931

Actor Robert Morse is born. Cartoonist Don Martin of MAD Magazine and creator of the famous "Spy vs. spy series, is born.

1933

As part of the New Deal, Franklin Delano Roosevelt signs into law the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority, which will build dams and supply power throughout the southern United States.

1935

Adventurer and movie subject T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) dies.

1937

Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and longtime Baltimore Oriole Brooks Robinson is born.

1946

"Mr. October" and baseball Hall of Fame member Reggie Jackson is born.

1949

Keyboard virtuoso Rick Wakeman (Yes) is born.

1950

Devo founder and movie composer Mark Mothersbaugh is born.

1951

The United Nations moves its headquarters to New York City.

1952

Country musician George Strait ("Amarillo till Morning") is born.

1955

Martial arts star Chow-Yun Fat is born.

1970

"Saturday Night Live" head writer and on-air talent Tina Fey is born.

1973

Jeannette Rankin, first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and lone dissenter against entering World War II, passes away.

1980

Ian Curtis, lead singer for the band Joy Division, hangs himself. He was 23.
Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington State, killing 57 people and wreaking havoc on the Western United States for weeks.

1988

Legendary voice actor Daws Butler (Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, Huckleberry Hound) passes away.

1992

"If black people kill black people ever day, why not have a week and kill white people." With these words, rapper and New York activist Sister Souljah becomes a household name, as Presidential candidate Bill Clinton uses her as a straw man in his campaign.

1994

The Prince of Pop Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley are married in a private ceremony. The two divorced a year later.

1995

Actress Elizabeth Montgomery, most noted for her role as Samantha on the popular TV series "Bewitched", passes away.

1997

Cletus the Foetus declares the first Foetal Position Day, in a blatant attempt to escape schoolwork and social interaction.

1999

PGA Hall of Famer Gene Sarazen dies.

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