Today in History

October 19, 1745: Jonathan Swift dies.

October 19, 1781: The British forces under Lord Cornwallis surrender at the conclusion of the siege of Yorktown, Va., the last major military action of the American Revolution. The American army is commanded by George Washington, and the French by the Comte de Rochambeau. When Lord North, the British prime minister, heard the news, he is said to have collapsed into a chair and exclaimed, “My God! It is all over.”

October 19, 1864: After his army is initially routed by the Confederate attack at Cedar Creek, Va., Maj. Gen. Phil Sheridan, who was attending a conference in Washington and had stopped for the night in nearby Winchester, Va., rides to the battlefield, rallies his troops and leads them to a smashing victory over the army of Lt. Gen. Jubal Early.

October 20, 1973: The “Saturday Night Massacre”: President Richard Nixon fires Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus after they refuse to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who is finally fired by Robert Bork.

October 20, 1951: The “Johnny Bright Incident” occurs. African-American Drake quarterback and Heisman candidate Johnny Bright is intentionally injured by white players from Oklahoma A&M during a college football game in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The ugly attack caught on film helps lead to changes in college football and raises awareness of racism in college sports.

October 21, 1983: At the seventeenth General Conference on Weights and Measures, the meter is defined as the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.

October 22, 1844: The Great Anticipation: Millerites, followers of William Miller, anticipate the end of the world in conjunction with the Second Advent of Christ. The following day became known as The Great Disappointment.

October 23, 1958: The Smurfs appear for the first time in the story La flute à six schtroumpfs, a Johan and Peewit adventure by Peyo, which is serialized in the weekly Spirou magazine.

October 23, 1983: 241 U.S. service members, most of them Marines, were killed in a suicide truck-bombing of their multistory barracks at Beirut International Airport in Lebanon; a near simultaneous attack on French forces killed 58 paratroopers.

October 24, 1901: Schoolteacher Annie Edson Taylor becomes the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

October 25, 1415: During the Hundred Years’ War, at Agincourt, a small British army led by King Henry V defeats a much larger French force under the command of the Constable Charles d’Albret and other French noblemen. The remarkable upset victory is immortalized by Shakespeare in his play Henry V, later described in jest by George Bernard Shaw as “The National Anthem in five acts.”

October 26, 1977: The last natural case of smallpox, in Somalia. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider this date the anniversary of the eradication of smallpox, the most spectacular success of vaccination.

October 28, 1956: Elvis Presley receives a polio vaccination on national TV. This single event is credited with raising immunization levels in the United States from 0.6% to over 80% in just six months.

While I don’t deny the event occurred or have any quibble with the nearly universal acceptance of the vaccine itself, I would like to point out that those percentages (0.6% before, 80% after) were for the teen-aged youth demographic only … source: Scientific American article

One assumes the percentages were higher than 0.6% across the population as a whole,


October 30, 1938: Orson Welles broadcasts his radio play of H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, causing near-panic in some of the audience in the United States.

October 31, 1517: Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

November 1, 1896: A picture showing the bare breasts of a woman appears in National Geographic magazine for the first time.

November 2, 1920: KDKA of Pittsburgh starts broadcasting as the first commercial radio station. The first broadcast is the result of the 1920 U.S. presidential election.

November 3, 1954: Release of the original Godzilla film.

Discourse is not allowing me to post another item in this thread, until someone responds to me. What is this bullshit?