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June 17: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

June 17, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle History
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ON THIS DAY IN 1852, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “Governor [George] Boutwell nominated Seth J. Thomas, Esq., of Charleston, to the office of prison Inspector (made vacant by the death of William Sawyer, who was killed, recently, on the railroad) and the Council today rejected the nomination. Mr. Thomas was counsel for the owner of the slave [Thomas] Sims, who was reclaimed as a fugitive slave by his master in Georgia.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1904, the Eagle reported, “The whole horrible story of the General Slocum, with her rotten life preservers, made of cork crumbs and glue, her fire hose no better than tissue paper, and some of her crew of cowards, who trampled women and children to save their own lives came out today in Coroner Berry’s investigation into the Hell Gate disaster. Evidence of a startling nature was given to Coroner Berry in his office in the Bronx, where he is conducting an informal examination preliminary to the inquest which will begin Monday at 11 o’clock.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1951, Eagle editor and columnist Robert M. Grannis said, “Today is Father’s Day and I can’t talk about it without recalling that once, a long time ago, when street lights were ignited by a fella with a long torch, my grandfather surveyed a family gathering, wagged his hoary head and said: ‘To think that I am responsible for all this.’ How much of that was regret and how much self-praise I have never had any means of knowing, because when he made the crack I was too young to appreciate it. But it has stuck in my head through the years and I pass it along now in the spirit of the bewilderment of the times. ‘Why,’ asked my grandpop in the horse and buggy age, ‘is everybody in such a consarned hurry? Where are they going?’ I wonder what he’d think today with fast cars and jets and, as General Marshall says, a feeling that everything has to be accomplished in a single afternoon. In grandpop’s time human beings dealt with the same basic problems we have now and only the tempo is changed. Today it is Russia, yesterday it was something else, and tomorrow it may be the men from Mars or the moon. And people will always be in a hurry, some in the direction of oblivion and others who, driven by impatience, seek the shortest route to their destination without any regard for the price they have to pay in the process. But even when I know how sorry are the times and how much grief there is in the world I’m glad I have a son. And I prefer to believe that the balance of power still is in the direction of sanity and that evil conditions exposed with so much fanfare such as the dope racket and corruption in high office are but scattered tears in a world whose people prefer to turn a shining face toward the future pages of history.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1960, a Bay Ridge Home Reporter editorial said, “During the next two weeks, thousands of Bay Ridge youngsters will be donning traditional caps and gowns to lay claim to hard-earned diplomas from five Bay Ridge high schools. If adolescence is a time of many problems, of learning to adapt to new relationships, of assuming new responsibilities, it is also the time of happy memories and of new awakenings. We’ve all heard of our young people’s problems. Some of the more unfortunate even wander into serious trouble, causing sorrow and disillusionment to their elders. But this week and next, we can take heart that all is not lost; that sacrifice made to provide educational opportunities that last for life are appreciated by the thousands of proud young men and women whom we now applaud.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1963, the Eagle reported, “Arnold Palmer pulled off another of his miracle finishes yesterday to beat veteran Paul Harney on the first hole of a sudden death playoff and win the $25,000 first prize in the Thunderbird Golf Classic … Jack Nicklaus, who suffered a stiff neck early in the tournament, played it cozy as he looked forward to defense of his U.S. Open title at Brookline, Mass., starting Thursday. Nicklaus said he felt no discomfort but did not extend himself and shot a 72 for 284.”

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Kendrick Lamar
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Venus Williams
Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP

NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who was born in 1943; “Copacabana” singer Barry Manilow, who was born in Brooklyn in 1943; author and commentator Linda Chavez, who was born in 1947; Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Gregg Rolie (Santana/Journey), who was born in 1947; former Cincinnati Reds star Dave Concepcion, who was born in 1948; former “Saturday Night Live” star Joe Piscopo, who was born in 1951; former N.Y. Islanders general manager Mike Milbury, who was born in 1952; Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra, who was born in 1958; “As Good as it Gets” star Greg Kinnear, who was born in 1963; fashion designer Tory Burch, who was born in 1966; former “Saturday Night Live” star Will Forte, who was born in 1970; tennis superstar Venus Williams, who was born in 1980; and rapper Kendrick Lamar, who was born in 1987.

Barry Manilow
John Salangsang/Invision/AP

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UPHILL CLIMB: The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought near Charleston, Mass., on this day in 1775. More than 1,000 British redcoats and 450 American colonists were killed or wounded. Famously, the order was given, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.”

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STOLEN TRUST: On this day in 1972, five White House operatives were arrested for breaking into Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. An investigation led to threats of impeachment against Republican President Richard Nixon, who resigned on Aug. 9, 1974.

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

 

Quotable:

“Misfits aren’t misfits among other misfits.”

— Barry Manilow, who was born in Brooklyn on this day in 1943


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