Today in 1907, two Seattle teenagers, Jim Casey and Claude Ryan, founded a local delivery company called the American Messenger Service. They began their business with two bikes and six friends. We know the business now by the name United Parcel Service.
Today in 1922, the first radio commercial was broadcast on WEAF in New York City. The Queensboro Realty Company of Jackson Heights paid $100 for the ten-minute spot.
Today in 1955, little Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy was lynched in Mississippi after offending 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant – a white woman – in a grocery store a few days previously. His “crime?” He had apparently just said hello. While others later tried to say that he whistled or otherwise flirted with her, which was later shown to be false. Several nights after the store incident, Bryant's husband, Roy, and his half-brother, J. W. Milam, went armed to Till's great-uncle's house and abducted the boy. They took him away, beating and mutilating him before shooting him in the head and sinking his body in the Tallahatchie River. Three days later, Till's body was discovered and retrieved from the river. Till's body was returned to Chicago where his mother insisted on a public funeral service with an open casket – so the world could see the horrors of racism. Roy and Milam were later acquitted – but subsequently admitted (after the court case was completed) that they were, indeed guilty. After Milam and Bryant were acquitted, they remained in Mississippi at first, but were boycotted, threatened, attacked and humiliated by local residents. Milam died in 1980 at the age of 61, and Bryant died in 1994 at the age of 63. Bryant expressed no remorse for his crime and stated: "Emmett Till is dead. I don't know why he just can't stay dead.” Emmett’s horrific murder was seen as the launching pad for the modern civil rights movement.
Today in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I have a dream...” speech in front of 200,000 people at a civil rights march in Washington, DC.
Today in 1968, police and anti-war demonstrators clashed in the streets of Chicago as the Democratic national convention nominated Hubert H. Humphrey for President. Inside the International Amphitheater, repressive tactics found an unlikely victim in a young CBS correspondent, Dan Rather. Near the Georgia delegation, Rather was set upon. "Excuse me being out of breath," he reported to Walter Cronkite, "but a security man just slugged me in the stomach." He was knocked to the floor and shoved toward the exit.
Today in 1981, John Hinckley, Jr. pleaded not guilty to the assassination attempt on President Reagan, despite the fact that over 200-million people had witnessed the shooting on TV. He was later tried for the crime in 1982 and found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was placed in St. Elizabeth’s psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C., where he remained until September 2016. He now lives with his mother.
Today in 1982, the first Gay Games were held in San Francisco.
Today in 1986, former Navy radioman Jerry A Whitworth was fined more than $400-thousand and sentenced to 365 years for spying as part of the “Walker Family Spy Ring.” “There are few crimes as heinous as those for which Whitworth was convicted,” the judge offered. “Mr. Whitworth did not supply the Soviet Union with the rags and bones of American military secrets. No, he supplied them with the most coveted and guarded secrets.” He remains incarcerated at United States Penitentiary, Atwater in California.
Today in 1996, the troubled 15-year marriage of Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana officially ended with the issuing of a divorce decree.
Today in 1996, California Gov. Pete Wilson signed an executive order aimed at halting state benefits to illegal immigrants.
Today in 1998, "Titanic" became the first movie in North America to earn more than $600-million.
Today in 2017, Kenya moved forward with the world's toughest ban on plastic bags with possible $38-thousand fine and four years in jail.
Today in 2017, North Korea launches missile that flew over Japan, the country's J-Alert warning system warns people to take cover.
Today in 2018, Aretha Franklin laid in state at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit in a 24-carat coffin.