Today in 1777, Vermont was the first state to abolish slavery.
Today in 1812, the first instance of “gerrymandering” occurred in Massachusetts, when governor Elbridge Gerry redistricted so as to favor his party.
Today in 1916, Emma Goldman was arrested for lecturing on birth control.
Today in 1928, the La-Z-Boy (correct spelling) company was founded.
Today in 1937, General Motors first agreed to recognize the United Automobile Workers Union.
Today in 1953, President Eisenhower refused a clemency appeal for Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. The couple had been convicted of spying for the Russians.
Today in 1958, Ruth Carol Taylor was the first black woman to become a stewardess (now, 'flight attendant'). While she actually “got her wings” the previous December, she made her initial flight on this date on Mohawk Airlines from Ithaca, New York to New York City.
Today in 1960, in one of television's most famous moments, Jack Paar did something that few television stars have ever done – he walked off the air at 11:41pm on NBC's "Tonight Show." Apparently, he was upset because one of his jokes (and about 4-minutes of airtime) had been cut by the network censors. So, the next night, he complained about the NBC censors, said good night and left. A shocked audience watched second banana Hugh Downs take over a show that included Orson Bean and Shelley Berman. After predicting to the press that the show would crumble without him, a contrite Paar was back one month later.
Today in 1974, America's motorists suffered through the worst day of the energy crisis. Many gas stations were closed and the others often limited purchases to $3.00 per car. Some reported customer lines up to six miles long.
Today in 1989, Reverend Barbara C. Harris was consecrated as the first female bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States.
Today in 1990, South African black activist Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in prison. Mandela walked through the gate of Victor Verster prison outside Cape Town, setting off celebrations among his followers.
Today in 1993, President Clinton announced his choice of Miami prosecutor Janet Reno to be the nation's first female attorney general, after two earlier candidates stumbled because they'd hired illegal aliens.
Today in 1995, the space shuttle Discovery landed at Cape Canaveral, Florida ending a historic rendezvous mission with Russia's Mir space station.
Today in 1999, a federal jury in New York found several gun makers responsible in three area shootings for letting guns fall into the hands of criminals; other manufacturers were cleared. The decision was later overturned.
Today in 2000, the space shuttle "Endeavour" thundered away from Cape Canaveral on a mission to map the world as never before.
Today in 2006, Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot his friend while hunting quail.
Today in 2009, John Dingell of Michigan became the longest serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He had more than 53 years of service.
Today in 2013, Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation effective February 28th – becoming the first pope to resign since 1415.
Today in 2016, the last of the Oregon militia occupying Malheur wildlife refuge surrendered to authorities after 41 days
Today in 2021, President Joe Biden rescinded the national emergency order used by Donald Trump to fund the border wall with Mexico.