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What Happened in Past Decembers?

30 Nov 2013 | Posted Under History
December 1, 1955 - Rosa Parks sparked the successful Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott when she refused to give up her seat for a white person on the bus. Parks was born in 1913 and died in 2005. She has been called  "The Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.
 
December 5, 1782 - The eighth President of the United States, Martin Van Buren, was born. He was the first President born an American citizen, the seven others having been born before the American Revolution.
 
December 5, 1784 - Phillis Wheatley, the first African-American poet to be published, died. Born in Senegal, she was brought to Boston and enslaved when she was seven years  old by the Wheatley family who, and this was very unusual, taught her many subjects. After her poetry was published, she received great acclaim, even traveling to London where she met the Lord Mayor. She wrote a poem praising George Washington in 1776 and was invited to his home. The Wheatley family emancipated her following her success.
 
December 5,   1934  - Prohibition ended with the ratification of the 21st amendment to the Constitution.. Liquor could once again be legally sold. Enacted in 1917 and ratified in 1919, the 18th amendment to the Constitution prohibited the manufacture, sale and transportation of liquor. This Amendment was often disregarded including in establishments called "Speakeasies." One was the 21 Club, still in existence at 21 West 52nd Street.
 
December 6, 1790 - The United States Congress moved the capital of the new nation to Philadelphia from Manhattan. It had met on the site of what is now Federal Hall. Every year on April 20th, George Washington's inauguration is reenacted.
 
December 9, 1946  - President  Harry S. Truman's Executive Order established the Committee on Civil Rights.
 
December 9, 1975 - President Gerald R. Ford signed a law which gave New York City $2.3 billion dollars to help it out of its fiscal crisis.
 
December 10, 1870 - The Territory of  Wyoming granted women the right to vote.
 
December 12, 1870 - Joseph H. Rainey,  a member of the Republican Party, was elected to the House of Representatives. He was the first African-American to be elected to the House. He served four terms representing South Carolina.
 
December 13, 1816 - The United States' first savings bank opened in Boston, MA. (Editor's note: This would have really pleased the Puritans who had settled there in 1630!)
 
December 14, 1799 - George Washington died at his home, Mt. Vernon, Virginia. He had led the army during the American Revolution and was the first President of the United States, a position he did not want. He wrote to a friend that he was going to face "an ocean of difficulties." His inauguration was on April 30, 1789 at the site of Federal Hall on Wall Street. Martha Washington did not want him to become President, but she shortly followed him to Manhattan.
 
December 15, 1791 - The Bill of Rights, consisting of the first 10 Amendments to the United States Constitution, was passed. There are now 27 amendments to the Constitution. One that did not receive ratification by the majority of the states is the Equal Rights Amendment.
 
December 15, 1972 - The Government of Australia ordered equal pay for women through the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, adopting the principle of "equal pay for work of equal value."
 
December 16, 1775 - Author Jane Austen was born. "Pride and Prejudice" is probably her most famous book. She helped support her family with her writing. It has recently been revealed that she was not a good speller and her grammar was not the best so her editor had quite a bit of work to do!
 
December 17, 1903 - Wilbur and Orville Wright made their first successful airplane flight on a field near Kitty Hawk, NC.
 
December 18, 1787 - New Jersey ratified the Constitution.
 
December 18, 1865 - With the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, slavery was abolished in the United States.
 
December 20, 1962 - Discrimination was outlawed in federally-aided housing.
 
December 24, 1784 - Congress voted to move the nation's capital from Trenton, NJ to Manhattan. After being in Manhattan, the government moved to Philadelphia and then Washington, D.C. John and Abigail Adams were the first First Family to live in the White House. When in Manhattan, President Washington and Vice President Adams and other members of the first government lived in lower Manhattan.
 
December 24, 1851 - A fire destroyed two-thirds of the Library of Congress which held 55,000 books. These included some of those which Thomas Jefferson had sold to the Library to pay off some of his debts in 1815."
 
December 25, 1831 - Louisiana and Arkansas became the first states to make Christmas a legal holiday.
 
December 27, 1932 - Radio City Music Hall opened in Manhattan. It was one of a number of buildings which were built during the "Great Depression." It is particularly famous for its holiday show, featuring the Rockettes.
 
December 31, 1904 - For the first time, the ball dropped in Times Square to bring in the New Year.  The Square is named after The New York Times. The New York Times is now in its new location on Eighth Avenue, West of Times Square, but the tradition continues.
 
 
 
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What happened in December that you would like to share?
 
Historically yours,
 
Phyllis


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