Category Archives: Today in history

Sunday 6 September

September 6, 1869, US Labor History: one of the worst disasters in the history of U.S. anthracite mining occurred at the Avondale Mine, near Scranton, Pa., when a fire originating from a furnace at the bottom of a 237-foot shaft roared up the shaft, killing 110 miners.

 September 6, 1901, Anarchism in the US and Emma Goldman: Leon Czolgosz, a Polish citizen associated with the Anarchist movement  shot President William McKinley twice in the stomach while McKinley was attending the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. McKinley had been greeting the public in a receiving line. Czolgosz later confessed to the crime, signing a statement saying that the last public speaker he had heard was Emma Goldman, but added she had never told him to kill the president.



September 6, 1916, Cultural Milestone: Clarence Saunders opened the first self-service grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, in Memphis, Tenn.



September 6, 1955, BLACK HISTORY & Emmett Till: Emmett Till was buried at Burr Oak Cemetery. The same day, a grand jury in Mississippi indicted Milam and Bryant for the kidnapping and murder of Emmett Till. They both plead innocent. They will be held in jail until the start of the trial (Sept 19).

September 6, 1965, BLACK HISTORY: after previous failed attempts by Clyde Kennard, Raylawni Young Branch, and Elaine Armstrong, they became the first African-American students enrolled at Mississippi Southern College (now University of Southern Mississippi).

SangerSeptember 6, 1966 Birth Control: Margaret Sanger, the most famous advocate of birth control in American history, died on this day at age 86. She opened the first birth control clinic in the U. S., on October 16, 1916, and was arrested for doing so a week later, along with her sister. She rejected a plea bargain and served one month in jail. Sanger’s career as a birth control advocate was filled with many dramatic events in addition to her arrest and jailing. Her magazine, Woman Rebel, was banned from the mails.  After her release from jail in 1917, she produced a short film, Birth Control, which had one private showing on May 16, 1917, after which it was banned. No print is known to survive. She was prevented from speaking on a number of occasions. Sanger’s organization, the American Birth Control League, evolved into today’s Planned Parenthood Federation

September 6, 1978, Technological Milestone:  U.S. scientists announced the production of human-type insulin by a strain of E. coli bacteria, that had been genetically engineered after months of creative use of gene-splicing techniques. The work was a joint effort by research teams in California at the biochemical firm, Genentech Inc, San Francisco and the City of Hope National Medical Center, Los Angeles. A normal body’s production of insulin takes place within cells of the pancreas, programmed by certain genes (segments of DNA). The scientists synthesized copies of these genes and inserted them into a weakened lab strain of the intestinal microbe Escherichia coli. In 1982, insulin was the first recombinant DNA drug to be marketed, Humulin by Eli Lilly & Co

September 6, 2005, LGBT: The California legislature became the first state legislature to pass a freedom to marry bill. The landmark bill was vetoed soon after passage by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Two years later, the legislature again passed a marriage bill, and again, it was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger.

Saturday 5 September

Labor_Day_New_York_1882September 5, 1882, US Labor History: some 10,000 workers assembled in New York City to participate in America’s first Labor Day parade. After marching from City Hall, past reviewing stands in Union Square, and then uptown to 42nd Street, the workers and their families gathered in Wendel’s Elm Park for a picnic, concert, and speeches. This first Labor Day celebration was eagerly organized and executed by New York’s Central Labor Union, an umbrella group made up of representatives from many local unions.  Debate continues to this day as to who originated the idea of a workers’ holiday, but it definitely emerged from the ranks of organized labor at a time when they wanted to demonstrate the strength of their burgeoning movement and inspire improvements in their working conditions.

eg25 IWW Headquarters after Palmer Raid-largeSeptember 5, 1917, US Labor History: U.S. Department of Justice agents made simultaneous raids on dozens of International Workers of the World meeting halls across the country. Minutes books, correspondence, mailing lists, and publications were seized, with the U.S. Department of Justice removing five tons of material from the IWW’s General Office in Chicago alone. This seized material was scoured for possible violations of the Espionage Act of 1917 and other laws, with a view to future prosecution of the organization’s leaders, organizers, and key activists.

jackkerouac_tompalumboSeptember 5, 1957, Beat Generation: Jack Kerouac’s On The Road published. It was based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends, particularly Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg, across America. It is considered a defining work of the postwar Beat Generation with its protagonists living life against a backdrop of jazz, poetry, and drug use. The novel underwent several drafts before Kerouac completed it in April 1951.

Kerouacmanuscript_1506615c When the book was originally released, The New York Times hailed it as “the most beautifully executed, the clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as ‘beat,’ and whose principal avatar he is.



cassius clay and medals

September 5, 1960, BLACK HISTORY & Mohammed Ali: after winning three preliminary bouts, Cassius Clay defeated Poland’s Zbigniew Pietrzkowski to win the light heavyweight gold medal. He became the World Light Heavyweight Olympic Champion less than six years after his bicycle is stolen in Louisville. Cassius Clay returned to the US to a hero’s welcome. He was an honoree at parades in both New York City and Louisville. Despite his accomplishments for the US, he was denied service in a segregated restaurant in Kentucky.

September 5, 1965 – San Francisco writer Michael Fallon applies the term “hippie” to the SF counterculture in an article about the Blue Unicorn coffeehouse, where LEMAR (Legalize Marijuana) & the Sexual Freedom League meet

how i won the WarSeptember 5, 1966, The Beatles after live performances: John Lennon started work on his role as Private Gripweed in the film ‘How I Won The War’. The black comedy directed by Richard Lester, was filmed in Spain in Almería Province and saw Lennon, taking a long-overdue break from the Beatles after nearly four years of constant touring.


UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1754: The My Lai Massacre, the mass murder of 347 to 504 unarmed citizens of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), almost entirely civilians and the majority of them women and children, perpetrated by US Army forces on March 16 1968. Bodies of some of the victims lying along a road. (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1754: The My Lai Massacre, the mass murder of 347 to 504 unarmed citizens of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), almost entirely civilians and the majority of them women and children, perpetrated by US Army forces on March 16 1968. Bodies of some of the victims lying along a road. (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)

September 5, 1969, Vietnam & My Lai Massacre: the day before his scheduled discharge from the Army, Lieutenant Calley was charged with six counts of premeditated murder. The public information office issued a press release stating Calley was being retained because of an ongoing investigation.



September 5, 1972, Feminism:  Sarah Lawrence College begins a graduate program in Women’s History, the first such Master’s degree program to be offered by a major college.

September 5 – 6, 1972, TERRORISM: Munich Massacre: Eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich are murdered after 8 members of the Arab terrorist group Black September invade the Olympic Village; 5 guerillas and 1 policeman are also killed in a failed hostage rescue.

8c8757066-pb-130827-ford-fromme-09.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000September 5, 1975, in Sacramento, CA, Lynette Fromme, a follower of jailed cult leader Charles Manson, attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford, but was thwarted by a Secret Service agent.