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Milestones: Wednesday, August 30, 2023

August 30, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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WON BROWN V. BOARD OF ED — THURGOOD MARSHALL BECAME THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, on Aug. 30, 1967. President Lyndon B. Johnson nominated him, and he won Senate confirmation by a 69-11 (84 percent) vote. Denied admission to the University of Maryland School of Law due to its segregation policy, Marshall instead attended Howard University Law School, from which he graduated magna cum laude in 1933. He later won a lawsuit against the University of Maryland for its unjust admissions policy. As a young attorney, Marshall won 29 of the 32 cases he argued before the Supreme Court, all of which presented challenges to the “separate but equal” theory that the landmark 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson case decided. In 1954, he won the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case, in which he had argued that argued that the ‘separate but equal’ principle was unconstitutional, and designed to keep Black people “as near [slavery] as possible.”

During the Senate confirmation proceedings, 20 senators did not vote. Of those who did, only one Republican voted “nay.”


ASPIRED TO DESIGN AIRCRAFT — THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN TO TRAVEL INTO SPACE was U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Guion S. Bluford, on Aug. 30, 1983, when the space shuttle Challenger lifted off on its third mission. The occasion also marked the first nocturnal launch of a space shuttle, with many people staying up late to watch the 2:32 a.m. launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Bluford, who aspired to design and build airplanes, earned a degree in aerospace engineering, joined the Air Force, and flew 144 combat missions during the Vietnam War. After completing his military service, Bluford completed postgraduate degrees and earned his doctorate in aerospace engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology. He was accepted into the U.S. astronaut program in 1979.

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During the mission, Bluford and his fellow crew members launched a communications satellite for the government of India, contacted an errant communications satellite and conducted scientific experiments, among other tasks. When the shuttle landed on Sept. 5 at Edwards Air Force Base in California,  it had completed the most flawless shuttle mission thus far.


DICTATOR OF FIRST MARXIST STATE — SOVIET LEADER VLADIMIR LENIN SURVIVED AN ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION on Aug. 30, 1918, after he had finished a speech at a Moscow factory. The assailant, Social Revolutionary party member Fanya Kaplan, shot Lenin twice, seriously wounding the leader and fracturing Russian society. The Bolsheviks initiated retaliation against Social Revolutionaries and other political opponents, thus deepening the civil war that took place after the Russian Revolution. Lenin, who had suffered the execution of his brother in connection with another assassination plot, studied law and became associated with the revolutionary followers of Karl Marx (1818-1883), organized Marxist groups into the “Union for the Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class,” and essentially became the dictator of the first Marxist state in the world. He also allied himself with Germany. After the czarists were defeated in 1920, Lenin helped establish the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) two years later.

Although initially in favor of democracy, Lenin quickly abolished it after his side lost the November 1917 elections: The Bolsheviks won only a quarter of the seats in the popularly elected Constituent Assembly.


LOUISIANA HONORS ASSASSINATED GOVERNOR —HUEY PIERCE LONG, born on Aug. 30, 1893, became a powerful Louisiana politician who sought to shoot down acquired personal wealth. Nicknamed “Kingfish,” Long was elected as Louisiana’s governor in 1928 and senator in 1930. Known as flamboyant and dictatorial, he vied for the U.S. presidency, with his “Share Our Wealth: Every Man a King,” agenda, which would have every family $5,000 a year but confiscated personal annual income over a million dollars and inheritances over $5 million. Dr. Carl Austin Weiss, who hailed from a prominent medical family and opposed Long’s policies, shot Long, who died two days later at age 42, on Sept. 8, 1935.

The State of Louisiana commemorates Long annually with a public holiday on Aug. 30.


NEWCOMER GETS TWO #1 HITS IN A YEAR — YOUNG AMERICAN SINGER-SONGWRITER CHRISTOPHER CROSS saw his hit ballad “Sailing” sail to the top of the Billboard pop chart on Aug. 30, 1980. The song was part of Cross’ eponymous album released that previous January, which yielded another Top 10 hit, the single “Ride Like The Wind.” At the 1981 Grammy Awards, “Sailing” won in both the Best Record and Best Song categories. Christopher Cross also won the category  “Best New Artist.”

Cross’ next #1 pop hit, “Arthur’s Theme (The Best That You Can Do),” was released later in 1981 Co-written with Burt Bacharach and Carol Bayer Sager , Arthur’s Theme won the 1982 Oscar for Best Song.


FESTIVAL OF HUNGRY GHOSTS — AN IMPORTANT FESTIVAL IN CHINA AND TAIWAN, named the Chung Yuan Festival, begins on Aug. 30, which on the Chinese calendar falls during the seventh lunar month. It is also known as the Festival Of Hungry Ghosts, when Chinese believe that the souls of the dead are released from purgatory and roam the earth. It is customary to burn joss sticks and offer prayers, food and “ghost money” to appease the spirits. Wayang (Chinese street opera) and puppet shows are performed, and fruit and Chinese delicacies are offered to the spirits of the dead.

During the Chung Yuan Festival, market stallholders also join forces to hold celebrations to ensure their businesses prosper in the coming year.

See previous milestones, here.

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