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January 17: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

January 17, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle History
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ON THIS DAY IN 1883, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “Last night a meeting was held in the Common Council Chamber of those interested in seeing rapid transit provided for Brooklyn. The meeting was held in response to an invitation issued last week by Mayor [Seth] Low calling upon citizens of all parties and representing every shade of opinion to meet together for the purpose of discussing the question of rapid transit as it relates to Brooklyn. Invitations were issued to the leading railroad men of the city asking them to attend and give their views on a subject in which as they are largely interested they are supposed to have formed some clear opinions.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1921, the Eagle reported, “The second attempt of the Brooklyn City Railroad to put into effect a double fare on its Flatbush line for passengers riding beyond Foster Ave. was made today without a recurrence of the riots of last summer. Evidently realizing the futility of offering physical resistance to the railroad officials in view of the latter’s victories in the courts, the public adopted a new weapon — the boycott. The second fare charge went into effect at 5 a.m. From that hour on, car after car of the line, watched by impartial observers, made the two-mile trip from the car barns at Avenue N and E. 49th St. without a single passenger.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1937, the Eagle reported, “Jokes at the expense of Ernest Simpson were frequent enough at the time Mrs. Wallis Simpson was making news, and history, by playing around with King Edward VIII. Simpson took steps this week to see that jokes don’t go too far. He filed a slander suit against Mrs. Joan Sutherland, a young London society matron, alleging she said he received money to divorce Wallis.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1955, the Eagle reported, “Plans for the proposed Narrows Bridge were made public today, and thousands of Bay Ridge people — all the way from 92nd St. to 39th St. — were confronted with the news that their homes may be doomed. The bridge will descend into Bay Ridge through Fort Hamilton military reservation, sparing homes and historic churches in the far end of Fort Hamilton. But its approaches will doom a vast residential area, at least 12 traffic lanes wide, from 92nd St. along Dahlgren Place to 86th St., and even beyond. The doomed area is between Fort Hamilton Parkway and Battery Ave. The fate of Gatling Pl. is in some doubt, but it, too, appears to be slated for destruction. At 86th St., the 12-lane-wide approach would become a depressed expressway, reaching as far north as 65th St. Its path would cut through the blocks between Fort Hamilton Parkway and Seventh Ave. until it reached Seventh Ave. at about 79th St. The east side of Seventh Ave. would be left intact as a surface-level street, one way. Six lanes of depressed expressway, with space for six more lanes to be added later, would doom the homes along the west side of Seventh Ave., including many dwellings on side streets between Seventh and Sixth Aves. to 65th St. At 65th St. the expressway would turn west, paralleling the Long Island Railroad cut, and becoming elevated so as to cross over the various avenues. After crossing Fourth Ave., it would come down to ground level and give motorists a choice of taking the Gowanus Elevated Parkway or Third Ave. proper.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1963, the Eagle reported “CHICAGO (UPI) — The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said Wednesday that Negroes are gratified to see churches with white memberships taking a more active role in the fight against segregation. The pioneer leader of non-violent resistance to segregation said a hard-hitting campaign for racial justice by religious bodies that heretofore have been ‘apathetic’ will help prevent Negroes from drifting into movements such as the Black Muslims. Dr. King, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, talked to reporters about the importance of the National Conference on Religion and Race in progress here.”

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Michelle Obama
Andrew Harnik/AP
James Earl Jones
Michael Zorn/Invision/AP

NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include Oscar-winning actor James Earl Jones, who was born in 1931; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Mick Taylor (the Rolling Stones), who was born in 1949; singer-songwriter Steve Earle, who was born in 1955; “Family Feud” host Steve Harvey, who was born in 1957; Bangles singer Susanna Hoffs, who was born in 1959; former N.Y. Yankees DH Chili Davis, who was born in 1960; “42” director Brian Helgeland, who was born in 1961; “The Mask” star Jim Carrey, who was born in 1962; “The Perfect Storm” author Sebastian Junger, who was born in 1962; former First Lady Michelle Obama, who was born in 1964; “Lost” star Naveen Andrews, who was born in 1969; singer-songwriter Kid Rock, who was born in 1971; “Bull” star Freddy Rodriguez, who was born in 1975; Utah Jazz co-owner Dwyane Wade, who was born in 1982; and “The Last Jedi” star Kelly Marie Tran, who was born in 1989.

Dwyane Wade
Kathy Williens/AP

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RENAISSANCE MAN: Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston on this day in 1706. The “elder statesman of the American Revolution” was the oldest signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He was also a scientist, diplomat, author, printer, publisher, philosopher and philanthropist. He died in Philadelphia in 1790.

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THE FIGHTER: Muhammad Ali was born in Kentucky on this day in 1942. Known as “The Greatest,” he won a gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics and won the heavyweight title three times (1964, 1974 and 1978). Born Cassius Clay, he dropped his “slave name” when he converted to Islam in 1964. When he refused to be drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, he was arrested and stripped of his title. The Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 1971. Ali battled Parkinson’s disease for 30 years before his death in 2016.

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

 

Quotable:

“Here in America, we don’t let our differences tear us apart.”

— former First Lady Michelle Obama, who was born on this day in 1964


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