Today in 1672, Isaac Newton read his first paper on optics in front of the Royal Society in London.
Today in 1735, the first opera in North America premiered in Charleston, South Carolina. “Flora,” the English ballad opera remained popular in the Colonies for several decades.
Today in 1887, the Dawes Act, which authorized the President of the United States to survey Native American tribal land and divide it into individual allotments, went into effect. Those who accepted allotments and lived separately from the tribe were granted United States citizenship.
Today in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America were incorporated.
Today in 1915, the movie, "Birth of a Nation," debuted in New York City. An epic silent drama about the civil war, and was critically-acclaimed for how good it was in spite of the horrendous subject matter, which exalted the KKK as the “heroes” (and was credited with the resurgence of the group). At the same time, it was accepted as attempting to pass off lies as facts.
Today in 1936, the first draft of the NFL took place.
Today 1942, Congress advised FDR that Americans of Japanese descent should be locked up en masse so that they wouldn’t oppose the American war effort. The executive order was signed February 19th.
Today in 1944, the first Black reporter took his place in the White House press pool – his name, Harry McAlpin. Although accredited at the White House, McAlpin was originally rejected when he applied for a Congressional press pass. The Standing Committee of Correspondents that controlled accreditation for the newspaper press galleries at the Capitol regarded him as a reporter for mostly weekly papers, while the Periodical Press gallery rejected him because he reported for newspapers rather than magazines. McAlpin believed that these actions were influenced “by my racial identity rather than the flimsy technicality publicly stated.” He was right, of course – but stayed the course…and received a personal invitation from President Roosevelt to attend an Oval Office briefing.
Today in 1963, President Kennedy made it illegal for Americans to travel to Cuba or engage in business with Cuba.
Today in 1963, AFL's Dallas Texans became the Kansas City Chiefs.
Today in 1971, the Nasdaq opened for the first time.
Today in 1974, the TV show, “Good Times,” starring Esther Rolle and Jimmie Walker, debuted on CBS-TV. It was a spinoff of "Maude," which itself was a spinoff of "All in the Family."
Today in 1976, Martin Scorcese’s “Taxi Driver” – starring Robert DeNiro and Jodie Foster – arrived in theaters.
Today in 1983, Ariel Sharon resigned from the Israeli government.
Today in 1990, "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney was suspended by CBS for racial remarks attributed to him the LGBT publication, "The Advocate." While he denied making inadvertently racists comments, he allowed that he had made anti-gay statements.
Today in 1992, the Ulysses spacecraft passed Jupiter.
Today in 1992, "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred peaked at #1.
Today in 1993, GM sued NBC, alleging that the "Dateline NBC" program had rigged 2 car-truck crashes to show that 1973-87 GM pickups were prone to fires.
Today in 1994, Jack Nicholson had a little road rage going on – and attacked a car with a golf club. He was sued, but charges were later His defense: he was still in character from his work on “The Crossing Guard.”
Today in 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Communications Decency Act into law. It was later ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Today in 1997, Debbie Reynolds received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Today in 2008, Nebraska banned the use of the electric chair.
Today in 2009, singer Rihanna cancelled appearance at the GRAMMYS after being assaulted by then-boyfriend Chris Brown.
Today in 2013, a massive blizzard began in the US and Canada which resulted in 18 deaths, 5,300 cancelled flights, and loss of power for 900,000 people. See a time lapse of what Boston experienced HERE.
Today in 2016, Late-night talk show "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" debuted on TBS.
Today in 2017, after controversy and protests… Jeff Sessions was confirmed as United States Attorney General.
Today in 2018, Twitter reported its first quarterly profit as a public company.
Today in 2019, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos accused the “National Enquirer” and its owner, American Media Inc, of blackmail over private messages detailing an extramarital affair.