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November 4: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

November 4, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle History
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ON THIS DAY IN 1918, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “Public Service Commissioner Travis H. Whitney issued a sharp statement today in the form of a protest against the role of committing magistrate assumed by Mayor [John F.] Hylan in the investigation of the Brighton line horror. Commissioner Whitney raises the question that the mayor is disqualified from serving as a judicial officer in the present proceedings. He asserts that the mayor himself, while a motorman on the B.R.T., was dismissed from the service for taking a curve at excessive speed, and he asks if it is proper that a member of the union (Mayor Hylan is a member of Local 419, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers) is the proper judicial officer to pass upon the case of a person who was aiding the B.R.T. to operate in spite of the strike of its ‘L’ motormen. The Whitney statement is, essentially, a direct attack upon Mayor Hylan and the course he has taken in the disaster investigation.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1948, the Eagle reported, “Assemblyman-elect Bertram L. Baker of the 17th A.D. today had the distinction of being the first Negro ever elected to public office in Brooklyn. Nominated by the Democratic and American Labor parties, he polled 21,086 votes, of which 5,392 were on the A.L.P. line. His opponent, Mrs. Maude B. Richardson, also a Negro, who was indorsed by the Republican and Liberal parties, received 11,628 ballots, 2,777 of which were Liberal party votes. Mr. Baker, a 50-year-old public accountant, who lives at 399 Jefferson Ave., will succeed Democratic Assemblyman John J. Walsh, who did not run for re-election. Confidential aide to Borough President [John] Cashmore, Baker has served also as a deputy collector of internal revenue assigned to the Brooklyn Income Tax Bureau … Born in Nevis, British West Indies, Baker, the father of two married daughters, came to this country in 1915. He has lived in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area since 1923.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1953, the Eagle reported, “The impressive mayoralty election victory scored by Robert F. Wagner Jr., 43-year-old son of the late United States senator, was hailed today by Democrats as the first step in the fight to regain control of the Governor’s Mansion in Albany. Colorless in previous political battles, Wagner scored his triumph primarily on a platform of New Deal-Fair Deal principles over Republican Harold Riegelman, who was backed by President [Dwight] Eisenhower and Governor [Thomas] Dewey. Rudolph Halley, crime-busting Liberal party candidate, ran a poor third and couldn’t work up enough steam to cope with the Democratic big guns who kept firing for Wagner. Two of Wagner’s most active backers — Representative Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. and Averell Harriman — immediately moved into the forefront as possible Democratic gubernatorial candidates next year. Both have indicated they’re available for the nod. Even Republican top brass conceded that the GOP ‘is in trouble politically’ and Democratic Senator Herbert Lehman contended that Wagner’s victory ‘spells a return to the attitude of our people under the New Deal.’ Harriman, a long-time New Dealer, predicted the trend would continue next year, bringing a return to the ‘same philosophy in Albany and Washington.’”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1954, the Eagle reported, “The New York City Ballet’s magical evening-long production of ‘The Nutcracker’ moved into the City Center last night for what promises to be a lengthy and profitable run. This colorful work, with music by Tchaikovsky and choreography by George Balanchine, proved such a hit when it was introduced last season that the company decided to give it a special extra engagement this fall. With many performances already sold out, it has become necessary to extend the engagement, which was originally scheduled to close Nov. 29.”

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Matthew McConaughey
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Orlando Pace
Tony Dejak/AP

NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include 1960 National League MVP Dick Groat, who was born in 1930; “M*A*S*H” star Loretta Swit, who was born in 1937; singer-songwriter Delbert McClinton, who was born in 1940; former First Lady Laura Bush, who was born in 1946; “Cold Mountain” author Charles Frazier, who was born in 1950; former Walt Disney executive Anne Sweeney, who was born in 1957; “Cobra Kai” star Ralph Macchio, who was born in 1961; “Survivor” host Jeff Probst, who was born in 1961; rapper and entrepreneur Sean Combs, who was born in 1969; Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey, who was born in 1969; TV personality Bethenny Frankel, who was born in 1970; Pro Football Hall of Famer Orlando Pace, who was born in 1975; and former NFL return specialist Devin Hester, who was born in 1982.

Laura Bush
Mary Schwalm/AP

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FOLLOW THE MUMMY: The tomb of Tutankhamen was discovered in Luxor, Egypt, on this day in 1922.

Tutankhamen became pharaoh at age 9 and died at age 19 in about 1352 B.C. Perhaps the only ancient Egyptian royal tomb to have escaped plundering by grave robbers, it was discovered by English archaeologist Howard Carter, the leader of an expedition financed by Lord Carnarvon. Amid rumors that a curse had been brought upon its discoverers, King Tut’s tomb became a pop culture phenomenon, inspiring books, films and even a 1978 hit song by comedian Steve Martin.

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TERROR IN TEHRAN: The Iran hostage crisis began on this day in 1979 when approximately 500 Iranians seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking some 90 hostages, including 66 Americans. They vowed to hold the hostages until the former shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi — who was in the U.S. for medical treatments — was returned to Iran for trial. The shah died on July 27, 1980 in an Egyptian military hospital near Cairo. Fourteen Americans were released in 1979 and 1980, but the remaining 52 hostages weren’t released until Jan. 20, 1981, after 444 days of captivity. The release occurred on Inauguration Day, during the hour in which the American presidency was transferred from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan.

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

 

Quotable:

 

“The power of a book lies in its power to turn a solitary act into a shared vision. As long as we have books, we are not alone.”

— former First Lady Laura Bush, who was born on this day in 1946


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