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February 21: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

February 21, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle History
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ON THIS DAY IN 1932, a Brooklyn Daily Eagle editorial said, “Brooklyn is to be congratulated on the success of the movement which is to bring the famous reproduction of Washington’s home at Mount Vernon to Prospect Park, where it will be a prominent feature in the Bicentennial celebration. It is altogether fitting that this shrine should come to Brooklyn. No more suitable location for the faithful copy of Mount Vernon could be found in the Greater City. It will be placed in a natural setting which will greatly enhance its impressiveness and the location will make it most accessible to the entire metropolitan area. Historically, Washington had many Long Island connections aside from the military operations conducted here. The part played by Long Island during the Revolution is not fully appreciated.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1947, the Eagle reported, “The Brooklyn Museum will mark its fiftieth anniversary at its present location on Eastern Parkway tomorrow, George Washington’s birthday, with a special exhibition. Focal point of the display will be a life portrait of the first president painted by Gilbert Stuart. This was purchased from a dealer who had acquired it earlier from the Pierrepont family. The price, reported to be about $75,000, was raised in equal shares from museum funds and money of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences … Special guests will have a preview of the show tonight in the building at Eastern Parkway and Washington Ave. The anniversary will be discussed by Charles Nagel Jr., director of the museum, and Sidney W. Davidson, chairman of the governing committee, will unveil the portrait … Mr. Nagel, discussing the exhibition, declared today that because of its long Brooklyn association ‘the Stuart portrait of Washington forms the focal point of the exhibition.’ The museum is happy that it can ‘now share with the whole metropolitan community this treasure from the early days of the republic,’ he said.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1951, the Eagle reported, “PITTSBURGH (U.P.) — County commissioners ordered two-thirds of the elm trees surrounding Joyce Kilmer’s memorial at South Park chopped down today so passersby could read, inscribed on a plaque, his famous lines: ‘I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.’”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1954, the Eagle reported, “A road by any other name would sound as sweet, especially Shore Road and particularly if it were to be called Verrazzano Boulevard, according to members of the Italian Historical Society of America. Giovanni da Verrazzano, they proclaim, was the man who discovered Brooklyn, so why shouldn’t he be honored by the fair borough, they want to know. Verrazzano, incidentally, also discovered Manhattan and a large statue of him stands at the southern tip of that island, facing toward the Statue of Liberty. ‘Brooklyn should do something, too,’ says John N. LaCorte, director of the society. ‘Verrazzano was the first European to set foot in Brooklyn — 85 years before Henry Hudson arrived.’ … Textbooks, though some spell his name with one ‘z’ and some with two, generally agree that it was in 1524 that he sailed along the North American coast from Cape Fear north, discovering New York Bay.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1963, the Eagle reported, “WASHINGTON (UPI) — Stewart L. Pittman, assistant defense secretary, has announced that Civil Defense surveys have located fallout shelters for about 103 million persons. Pittman, in charge of U.S. Civil Defense Programs, said his office already had marked and stocked with food and water space for 23 million and was continuing the designations as fast as possible. The Civil Defense office has estimated that these shelters would save the lives of between 40 and 120 million people who survived the initial blast from a nuclear attack, Pittman said.”

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Jennifer Love Hewitt
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Jordan Peele
Chris Pizzello/AP

NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include music producer David Geffen, who was born in Brooklyn in 1943; “Cagney & Lacey” star Tyne Daly, who was born in 1946; “Star Wars” actor Anthony Daniels, who was born in 1946; sportswriter Bob Ryan, who was born in 1946; former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, who was born in 1947; “Sullivan & Son” star Christine Ebersole, who was born in 1953; “CSI” star William Petersen, who was born in 1953; “Frasier” star Kelsey Grammer, who was born in 1955; “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” singer Mary Chapin Carpenter, who was born in 1958; Baseball Hall of Famer Alan Trammell, who was born in 1958; “Backdraft” star William Baldwin, who was born in 1963; astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly, who were born in 1964; “Ghost Whisperer” star Jennifer Love Hewitt, who was born in 1979; Oscar-winning filmmaker Jordan Peele, who was born in 1979; “Juno” star Elliot Page, who was born in 1987; and “Game of Thrones” star Sophie Turner, who was born in 1996.

Kelsey Grammer
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

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SHOT DOWN: Civil rights leader Malcolm X was assassinated on this day in 1965 while making a speech in Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom. His death occurred a week after his Queens home was firebombed. Three men were convicted of the murder in 1966 and sentenced to life in prison. Two were released in the 1980s and the third was paroled in 2010.

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THE WORLD STAGE: President Richard Nixon visited China on this day in 1972. He was the first president to travel to a country not diplomatically recognized by the U.S. The trip ended 25 years of isolation between the two nations and gave the U.S. leverage in dealing with the Soviets, which helped to end the Cold War 20 years later.

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ERUZIONE SCORES: The U.S. men’s national hockey team performed the “Miracle on Ice” on this day in 1980, defeating the heavily favored Soviet Union at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. Team captain Mike Eruzione scored the winning goal. Two days later, the U.S. defeated Finland to take the gold medal.

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

 

Quotable:

“My alma mater was books, a good library. I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.”

— civil rights leader Malcolm X, who died on this day in 1965


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