Today in 1859, thousands watched Charles Blondin, a French aerialist and acrobat, walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. It took him a mere 5-minutes to make the crossing. In later attempts Blondin crossed while blindfolded, on stilts, pushing a wheelbarrow, and while carrying another man on his back.
Today in 1860, the famous debate on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was held at the Oxford University Museum. It was dominated by arguments between Thomas Henry Huxley and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce.
Today in 1870, Ada Kepley of Illinois became the first woman to graduate from an American law school.
Today in 1906, John Hope became first Black president of Morehouse College.
Today in 1906, Congress passed the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act; these laws owe much to the expose journalism of the period (Upton Sinclair's 'The Jungle' in particular).
Today in 1936, the novel, “Gone With The Wind,” by Margaret Mitchell, was published.
Today in 1948, three scientists from Bell Laboratories demonstrated the transistor for the first time. They were later awarded the Nobel Prize for Science.
Today in 1962, Los Angeles Dodger Sandy Koufax pitched his first no-hitter in a game with the New York Mets.
Today in 1966, the National Organization for Women was founded.
Today in 1969, the first Jewish worship service was held at the White House.
Today in 1970,IBM announced The System 370 computer.
Today in 1971, the 26th Amendment to the Constitution, lowering the minimum voting age to 18, was ratified as Ohio became the 38th state to approve it.
Today in 1986, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-to-4 decision, that states could outlaw homosexual acts between consenting adults. In 2003 (via Lawrence v. Texas), the Supreme Court ruled that they erred in their original judgment and the 1986 decision was overturned.
Today in 1985, 39 American hostages from a hijacked TWA jetliner were freed in Beirut after being held 17 days.
Today in 1994, the United States Figure Skating Association stripped Tonya Harding of her 1994 national championship and banned her from the organization for life for her part in the attack on her skating rival, Nancy Kerrigan.
Today in 1998, Linda Tripp, whose secretly-recorded conversations with her friend Monica Lewinsky almost led to President Clinton’s impeachment, spent six hours testifying before a grand jury in Washington.
Today in 1998, officials confirmed that the previously-unidentified remains of a Vietnam War serviceman buried in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery were those of Air Force pilot Michael J. Blassie.
Today in 2000, President Bill Clinton signed the E-Signature bill, giving the same legal validity to an electronic signature as a signature in pen and ink.
Today in 2013, 19 fire fighters are killed controlling a wildfire in Yarnell, Arizona. Members of the Prescott Fire Department's Granite Mountain Hotshots, they made up about 20% of Prescott’s fire department.
Today in 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that family-owned corporations can reject provisions of 'Obamacare' about covering birth control and abortions on religious grounds.
Today in 2014, the corpses of the three Israeli teenagers kidnapped in the West Bank earlier in month were found. Naftali Frankel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach had been kidnapped while hitchhiking back from their religious schools in in the West Bank.
Today in 2015, Misty Copeland became the first African American principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre.
Today in 2018, two members of the public were confirmed as poisoned by Novichok nerve agent in Wiltshire, England. The woman – identified as Dawn Sturgess – later died. The man, Charlie Rowley, survived, but has complained that he hasn’t been given any details about the future state of his health.
Today in 2019, New York marked 50 years since the Stonewall Uprising sparked the modern gay rights movement with huge pride marches.