CNN Debuts 42 Years Ago Today

Today in 1789, the first Congressional act became law – it had to do with administering oaths. As required by the Constitution, they prescribed the oath of allegiance to be sworn by senators, representatives, members of state legislatures, and all federal and states executive and judicial officers. It also set the time and manner of administering the oath.

Today in 1796, Tennessee was admitted as sixteenth state.

Today in 1861, the first skirmish in Civil War took place at Fairfax Court House, Virginia. On the same day, United States and the Confederacy simultaneously stop mail interchange.

Today in 1869, Thomas Edison received a patent for his electric voting machine.

Today in 1921, what was known as the Tulsa Race Riot officially began as the sun rose. And it wasn’t a “riot” at all – it’s since been labeled what is was: a massacre. At the time, the Greenwood area had been known as one of prominence for Black residents. In fact, it was referred to as “Black Wall Street.” After a trumped up charges against a young Black man against a young white woman two days earlier, threats of violence followed…as did a false rumor about a large-scale ‘insurrection’ on the part of the Black residents of Tulsa. The massacre that followed saw a 35-block radius completely decimated. According to the Red Cross, more than 12-hundred houses were burned; more than 200 others were looted, but not torched. And then there were the businesses to consider: as two newspapers, a school, a library, a hospital, churches, hotels, stores and many other Black-owned businesses were among the buildings destroyed or damaged by fire. The deaths? The actual number has never been confirmed, but 10-thousand people were left homeless. What’s worse than all this devastation? White America essentially erased it for decades – it wasn’t taught in history books or spoken about on a local or national level. That is until 1996 – 75 years after the massacre – when a bipartisan group in the state legislature authorized the formation of a commission to examine what happened. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Education, the topic is required in Oklahoma history classes since 2000, and in U.S. history classes in the state since 2004, and has been included in Oklahoma history books since 2009.

Today in 1937, baseball helmets were tested for the first time.

Today in 1968, author/lecturer Helen Keller, who earned a college degree despite being blind and deaf most of her life, died in Westport, Connecticut.

Today in 1974, the Heimlich maneuver for rescuing choking victims was first published in the journal, “Emergency Medicine.” A week later, the first choking victim was saved by the method. Then, in 1976, the maneuver saved Ronald Reagan.

Today in 1980, Ted Turner’s Cable News Network – aka CNN – debuted.

Today in 1997, Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X, was fatally burned in a fire set by her 12-year-old grandson, Malcolm, in her Yonkers, New York apartment. Suffering burns over 80-percent of her body, Betty remained in intensive care for three week. She underwent five skin-replacement operations as doctors struggled to replace damaged skin and save her life. Shabazz died of her injuries on June 23, 1997. As for Malcolm Shabazz, experts described him as psychotic and schizophrenic – he was sentenced to 18 months in juvenile detention for manslaughter and arson. After his release, he was arrested a few more times for petty offenses and in May 2013, he was beaten to death in Mexico in a bar dispute.

Today in 1998, President Clinton abruptly abandoned his executive privilege claim in the Monica Lewinsky investigation, reducing the prospect of a quick Supreme Court review of a dispute over the testimony of Presidential aides.

Today in 1999, President Clinton ordered a government investigation into whether – and how – the entertainment business markets violence to children.

Today in 2007, Jack Kevorkian was released from prison after serving eight years of his 10-25 year prison term for second-degree murder in the 1998 death of 52-year-old Thomas Youk of Oakland County, Michigan.

Today in 2008, a fire at the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood destroyed several icons from movies, such as Courthouse Square, the clock tower from “Back to the Future,” and the King Kong exhibit on the studio tour.

Today in 2009, General Motors filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. It was the fourth largest United States bankruptcy in history.

Today in 2020, President Trump threatened to employ the military to quell protests across the country sparked by the death of George Floyd then walks with staff to St. John’s Church.

Today in 2021, President Joe Biden's administration suspended oil and gas leases in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, reversing Donald Trump's decision.

Today in 2021, President Joe Biden visited Tulsa, Oklahoma, marking the 100-year anniversary of racial massacre in the Greenwood neighborhood.

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