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Today in History 7/02/20

1776 – The Second Continental Congress, assembled in Philadelphia, formally adopts Richard Henry Lee’s resolution for independence from Great Britain. The vote is unanimous, with only New York abstaining.

1809 – Alarmed by the growing encroachment of whites settlers squatting on Native American lands, the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh calls on all Native peoples to unite and resist on this date.

Born around 1768 near Springfield, Ohio, Tecumseh won early notice as a brave warrior. He fought in battles between the Shawnee and the white Kentuckians, who were invading the Ohio River Valley territory. After the Americans won several important battles in the mid-1790s, Tecumseh reluctantly relocated westward but remained an implacable foe of the white men and their ways.

1881 – Only four months into his administration, President James A. Garfield is shot as he walks through a railroad waiting room in Washington, D.C. His assailant, Charles J. Guiteau, was a disgruntled and perhaps insane office seeker who had unsuccessfully sought an appointment to the U.S. consul in Paris. The president was shot in the back and the arm, and Guiteau was arrested.

Garfield, mortally ill, was treated in Washington and then taken to the seashore at Elberon, New Jersey, where he attempted to recuperate with his family. During this time, Vice President Chester A. Arthur served as acting president. On September 19, 1881, after 80 days, President Garfield died of blood poisoning. The following day, Arthur was inaugurated as the 21st president of the United States.

Garfield had three funerals: one in Elberon; another in Washington, where his body rested in state in the Capitol for three days; and a third in Cleveland, Ohio, where he was buried. Charles Guiteau’s murder trial began in November, and in January 1882 he was found guilty and sentenced to death. In June 1882, he was hanged at his jail in Washington.

1934 – Adolf Hitler conducts a purge of traitors in the Nazi party . Hundreds of people were executed after undergoing a 3 minute trial to face the charges of being traitors.

1937 – Amelia Earhart and her navigator Frederick Noonan go missing during their attempt to fly around the world between New Guinea, and Howland Island, an island in the center of the Pacific Ocean. No trace of the aircraft including Earhart or Noonan was ever found.

1945 – The American Air Force drops over 1000 tons of explosives on each of four Japanese cities . The attack was carried out by nearly 600 B-29 Super fortresses at 3 am. The places that were hit were the Kure Naval Base, Shimonoseki port, Ube, and Kumamato.

1958 –Americans staying in Cuba become more fearful as Cuban rebels, headed by Fidel Castro, continued to kidnap people. Rebels were unaffected by the presence of United States Marines sent to rescue kidnapped Americans, but they did indicate that they may release 3 Canadian citizens. Cuban rebels showed no indication of releasing Americans or stopping the kidnappings which had grown to a rate of 10 American kidnappings per day over a period of five days.

1964  – The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is signed into law by President Johnson. The bill had a rough time going through the Senate when the “Southern Bloc” of southern Senators led by Richard Russell launched a filibuster lasting 54 days to prevent its passage. Said Russell “We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our (Southern) states.” The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark piece of legislation that outlawed segregation in schools, public places, and employment. The bill also created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission covering both race and gender for the first time in history.

1966 – United States navy planes sink 3 North Vietnamese torpedo boats. The Vietnamese boats were set to attack an American destroyer, but the navy planes were able to repel the attack while only suffering some damage to one plane whose pilot made it back safely.

1979 – The Susan B. Anthony dollar became available at banks and is the Dollar of the Future.

1982 – Larry Walters using 45 helium filled weather balloons to lift him and his lawn chair three miles high , he controlled his descent using a BB gun shooting holes in balloons to control his height.

1992 – The one millionth Chevrolet Corvette America’s first sports car came off of the assembly line in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The car had first been shown as a prototype at the 1953 Motorama in New York City.

1992 – The IRA admits to killing three informers for MI5 and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) Special Branch stating they were tried and found guilty and sentenced to death by the IRA.

1992 – Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking breaks British publishing records on July 2, 1992 when his book A Brief History of Time remains on the nonfiction bestseller list for three and a half years, selling more than 3 million copies in 22 languages.

1997 – On July 2, 1997, the science fiction-comedy movie Men in Black, starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, opens in theaters around the United States. The film grossed more than $250 million in America alone and helped establish the former sitcom star Will Smith as one of Hollywood’s most bankable leading men. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (Get Shorty), Men in Black was based on an early 1990s comic book by Lowell Cunningham called The Men in Black. Smith and Jones reprised their roles as Agent J and Agent K, two secret agents who must protect the Earth from aliens, in the sequels Men in Black II (2002) and Men in Black III (2012). (Neither appeared in the 2019 spin-off Men in Black: International.)

2001 –  The release of the movie The Fast and the Furious which tops the number 1 spot in it’s first week and continues to be in the top 2 has given a big boost to the latest craze to sweep America “illegal street racing” with thousands of enthusiasts dodging the police and racing on streets around the country vying for the bragging rights, who’s got the fastest car.

2002 – Steve Fossett became the first person to fly a balloon solo around the world landing the Spirit of Freedom in Queensland, Australia after 14 days 19 hours 50 minutes. This was his sixth attempt to break the record.