April 29: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
ON THIS DAY IN 1919, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “A bill legalizing Sunday baseball in New York City was passed by the Board of Aldermen this afternoon by a vote of 64 to 0. The passage was expected since the signing of the State law by Governor Smith. Leading the opposition, which was granted a hearing before a vote was taken, were the Baptist Tabernacle Church of Brooklyn, the Methodist Ministers Association, the Presbyterian Ministers Association and the Long Island Ministers Association. The bill was brought up for hearing last week but was laid aside until today.”
ON THIS DAY IN 1945, the Eagle reported, “Throughout Brooklyn — and most of the United States — V-E Day was celebrated prematurely for about an hour and a half yesterday. The celebration in this area began shortly after 8 p.m. when several radio stations broadcast an Associated Press report that ‘a high Allied official has just announced that Germany has surrendered unconditionally.’ On the streets, at social gatherings in homes and hotels, in restaurants and bars, wherever people had gathered within hearing of a radio or contact of persons who had heard the broadcast, the celebration was spontaneous and sometimes boisterous. Hands were shaken, backs slapped, congratulatory toasts drunk and cheers roared. The jubilation was general. Except that here and there a mother, sweetheart, wife, father, sister or other relative quietly withdrew into himself and deplored that the war in Europe had not ended before their recent bereavement. Telephone operators of the Brooklyn Eagle and other newspapers of the Metropolitan district were driven frantic answering the calls of persons seeking elaboration of the broadcast report. They could only respond that no confirmation of the rumor was available. Then, some 90 minutes after the broadcast, President Truman in Washington announced that the rumor was just a rumor, without any basis in fact.”
ON THIS DAY IN 1952, the Eagle reported, “Varied reactions today met the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the released-time program for New York public school children. Andrew G. Clauson, Board of Education president, termed the program ‘a co-operative educational activity which reflects the importance of religion in the development of the child.’ He disclosed that 105,647 pupils now take advantage of the hour off from classes to attend religious institutions. Only 3,000 took part when the program began in 1941. Kenneth Greenawalt, attorney who represented Brooklynites Tessim Zorach and Mrs. Esta Gluck in their fight to have the program declared unconstitutional, said the whole issue could have been avoided by a system of ‘dismissed time.’ Under such a program, all public school children would be excused an hour early one day a week, rather than only those who wish to get religious instruction. Favorable reaction to yesterday’s high court ruling came from Charles H. Tuttle, secretary of the Greater New York Co-ordinating Committee on Released Time of Jews, Protestants and Roman Catholics. He said: ‘This decision is a welcome reaffirmation of the basic principle that in this free America the child, even when in public school, is not the child of the state but of the parents.’”
ON THIS DAY IN 1963, the Eagle reported, “HAVANA (UPI) — Firing squads killed three Cubans early Saturday in the first application of a new law authorizing the death sentence for common criminals, the government announced yesterday. The trio had been convicted of posing as state security police to carry out a series of house robberies and holdups. Executed at dawn in the gray cabana fortress across the bay from Havana were Rolando Diaz Morejon, 32; Juan Nusa Moreno, 29; and Andres Rodriguez Manso, 23. Three alleged associates were sentenced to 30 years imprisonment, and a fourth to 20 years. All were convicted by People’s Courts, the civilian version of revolutionary tribunals, and the sentences were upheld by the Federal Appeals Court. The three were executed under a law announced by Premier Fidel Castro March 13 in a televised speech in which he said there was no room for the criminal element in a socialist society. The law was formalized by publication in the official gazette on March 29.”
NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include country music legend Willie Nelson, who was born in 1933; Baseball Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio, who was born in 1934; conductor and Kennedy Center honoree Zubin Mehta, who was born in 1936; Oak Ridge Boys member Duane Allen, who was born in 1943; The Shondells founder Tommy James, who was born in 1947; World Golf Hall of Famer Johnny Miller, who was born in 1947;
comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld, who was born in Brooklyn in 1954; “Star Trek: Voyager” star Kate Mulgrew, who was born in 1955; Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis, who was born in 1957; “The Witches of Eastwick” star Michelle Pfeiffer, who was born in 1958; “The Brady Bunch” star Eve Plumb, who was born in 1958; Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen, who was born in Queens in 1958; and “Kill Bill” star Uma Thurman, who was born in 1970.
A LIVING HELL: Dachau was liberated on this day in 1945. The first concentration camp to be opened in Nazi Germany (1933), it housed more than 200,000 prisoners throughout the course of World War II. An estimated 35,000 people died there and more than 32,000 were liberated when the Americans arrived.
HIPPIE HIGH POINT: “Hair” opened on Broadway on this day in 1968. The controversial rock musical, which debuted off-Broadway six months earlier, was a defining piece of work for those who opposed the Vietnam War and the “Establishment.” Memorable songs include “Aquarius” and “Let the Sunshine In.” A film version directed by Milos Forman was released in 1979.
“Gray skies are just clouds passing over.”
— composer Duke Ellington, who was born on this day in 1899
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