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MILESTONES: December 13, birthdays for Taylor Swift, Jamie Foxx, NeNe Leakes

Brooklyn Today

December 13, 2017 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Taylor Swift. Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
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Greetings, Brooklyn.  Today is the 350th day of the year.

On this day in 1946, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle helped expose shoddy construction practices in a housing development being built in Brownsville. Consequently, the New York City Housing Authority ordered Brownsville Houses to reconstruct misplaced foundations in the $13.2 million public housing project. The construction blunder, if not caught and corrected, would have placed more than 1,300 families in danger.

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On this day in 1862, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle front page published an analysis and forecast of the Civil War’s Battle of Fredericksburg, which took place Dec. 13-14. Even though the Union Army, under the command of Gen. Ambrose Burnside, had started the battle on a promising note, the fight became a major blow for them. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was able to repel the Union Army. Thanks to some poorly executed orders, the bridge that the Union Army needed to advance across the Rappahannock River into Fredericksburg was not in place. The delay gave Lee time to position his troops. Despite being at a disadvantage, Burnside decided to advance anyhow. He wound up losing 12,600 men, while Lee lost only 4,200. That front page also featured a story from a New York Times reporter that contained “a very graphic account” of the bombardment of Fredericksburg. See below.

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On this day in 1876, some three decades before the start of World War I, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle front page featured a story about the Brooklyn Board of Education’s meeting on introducing the formal study of German into the public schools. Two motions were read, including one that would have allowed for the introduction of the language into schools with significant German population. The decision was made not to allow German as a subject on the grounds that “one of the dangers that threaten the people in the not too-distant future, if not provided for, is the development of a large and influential class that is kept separate and distinct in habits of thought … from the rest of the community.” Mentioning Brooklyn’s 70,000 or 80,000 Germans, this “minority report” pointed out that that community kept itself apart more than other immigrant communities.

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On this day in 1937, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle front page reported that President Franklin D. Roosevelt protested vehemently to Japanese Emperor Hirohito about the bombing of the American gunpoint Panay. The Japanese had also crossed the Yangtse River in an offensive meant to destroy Chinese resistance, and Japanese Gen. Matsui Iwane ordered that the city of Nanking be destroyed. Much of the city was burned, and Japanese troops launched a campaign of atrocities against civilians in what became known as the “Rape of Nanking.”

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NOTABLE PEOPLE born on this day include Brooklyn-born actor STEVE BUSCEMI, who was born in 1957; singer, actor and former TV host JOHN DAVIDSON, who was born in 1941; Hall of Fame football player RICHARD DENT, who was born in 1960; hockey manager and former player SERGEI FEDOROV, who was born in 1969; Oscar Award-winning actor JAMIE FOXX, who was born in 1967; reality star and actress NENE LEAKES, who was born in 1967; actress WENDY MALICK, who was born in 1950; singer TED NUGENT, who was born in 1948; Oscar Award-winning actor CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, who was born in 1929; singer TAYLOR SWIFT, who was born in 1989; comedian and actor DICK VAN DYKE, who was born in 1925; and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa Gov. TOM VILSACK, who was born in 1950.

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MARY TODD LINCOLN WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1818. She was the wife of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the U.S.

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THE BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG WAS FOUGHT ON THIS DAY IN 1862. Confederate forces were victorious at the battle in Virginia. Total casualties on both sides estimated at more than 16,000 killed, injured or missing. General Ambrose E. Burnside led the Union troops; General Robert E. Lee led the Confederates.

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HEINRICH HEINE WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1797. The German poet, journalist and critic was known for his lyric poetry, which was set to music by the famous composers of his day, including Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert. In 1856, he wrote, “Where books are burnt, people will eventually burn too.” He died in Paris in 1856.

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NEW ZEALAND WAS FIRST SIGHTED BY EUROPEANS ON THIS DAY IN 1642. Captain Abel Tasman of the Dutch East India Company first sighted New Zealand but was kept from landing by Maori warriors. In 1759, Capt. James Cook landed and claimed formal possession for Great Britain.

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ARCHIE MOORE WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1913. He was one of the most colorful fighters ever, holding the light-heavyweight title for a record nine years. Moore let an aura of celebrity surround him — he lied about his age, ate an unusual diet and spoke out about a variety of political and social issues.

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NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA OFFICIALLY RECONCILLED ON THIS DAY IN 1991. The two regions signed a treaty of reconciliation and nonaggression, formally ending the Korean War — 38 years after fighting ceased in 1953. This agreement was not hailed as a peace treaty, and the armistice that was signed in July 1953 between the U.N. and North Korea was to remain in effect until it could be transformed into a formal peace.

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Special thanks to “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and Brooklyn Public Library.

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“My favorite review described me as the cinematic equivalent of junk mail. I don’t know what that means, but it sounds like a dig.” — Steve Buscemi, who was born on this day in 1957


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