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Milestones: Thursday, September 14, 2023

September 14, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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PRESIDENT McKINLEY DIES — The 25th U.S. President, William McKinley, died on Sept. 14, 1901  after being shot eight days earlier by a deranged anarchist during the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo. McKinley had been a controversial but popular Republican President for his protection of big business, the protective tariff and the gold standard in currency. The United States’ expansion westward led to the development during the mid-1840s of the Manifest Destiny philosophy and policy, whose supporters believed that it was God’s will for capitalism and democracy to expand. President McKinley’s foreign policy reflected this, particularly in the decision to intervene in Cuba’s struggle for independence from Spain. McKinley also involved himself in Asian policies and deployed U.S. troops to end the Boxer Rebellion, a peasant uprising (and, according to some, a secret society) that fought to expel all foreigners, particularly privileged ones, from China.

McKinley won a second term against Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan but his death cut short his imperialistic ambitions, and his vice president, Theodore Roosevelt, known for using the Sherman Antitrust Act to break up monopolies owned by magnates like John J. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan.


TESTING EINSTEIN’S THEORY — A CENTURY AFTER AFTER PHYSICIST ALBERT EINSTEIN’S GENERAL THEORY OF RELATIVITY WAS PUBLISHED is prediction about the existence of gravitational waves became reality. The gravitational waves were detected just eight years ago, on Sept. 14, 2015 at Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington. These observatories were a project of two scientific research universities on opposite sides of the United States: Caltech (California Institute of Technology) and M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Caltech LIGO’s web page explains that, “According to general relativity, a pair of black holes orbiting around each other lose energy through the emission of gravitational waves,” and that “The new LIGO discovery is the first observation of gravitational waves themselves, made by measuring the tiny disturbances the waves make to space and time as they pass through the earth.”

The discovery of gravitational waves helps enable direct tests of Einstein’s theory, which is based on the concept of space-time and forms the foundation of modern physics.


A SERIES OF FIRSTS — CONSTANCE BAKER MOTLEY, born Sept. 14, 1921, was the first woman and Black borough president of Manhattan, first Black woman state senator and federal judge. The experience of being barred from entering a public beach at age 15 became her motivation for pursuing law and civil rights as a career. As a civil rights attorney during the 1950s and ‘60s, she argued before the U.S. Supreme Court for seven cases, winning them all.

Motley was also a key lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, leading the fight to integrate the Universities of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. She prevailed against the Southern governors who were physically barring the doors so Black students could not enter. In addition to schools, Motley opened parks and championed the rights of non-white people to protest peacefully.


‘GOLDEN GIRLS’ — THE TV SITCOM BY THIS NAME PREMIERED on  Sept. 14, 1985, starring the foursome female set Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty, playing mature ladies who were either widowed (three of them) or divorced), sharing a house, their lives and lots of cheesecake during their golden years.

In reality, the actress Bea Arthur was a year older than Estelle Getty, who played her mother, the diminutive Sicilian firebrand, Sophia Petrillo.


‘GOODNIGHT, JOHN-BOY’ — “THE WALTONS” WHICH BECAME A BELOVED weekly series about a family living in rural Virginia, made its TV premiere on Sept. 14, 1972. The experiences of writer/curator Earl Hamner, who was raised in Virginia during the Depression, formed the inspiration for “The Waltons,” which actually started as a TV movie titled “The Homecoming.” The program chronicled how the family stayed together as they underwent the trials of tribulations of surviving and growing up.

The eldest son, John-Boy (played by Richard Thomas) also aspired to be a writer and journalist.

See previous milestones, here.

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