Milestones: Tuesday, October 3, 2023
SENATOR FOR A DAY — THE FIRST WOMAN U.S. SENATOR SERVED ONLY FOR TWO DAYS AS AN INTERIM APPOINTMENT, with Georgia Gov. Thomas Hardwick appointing Mrs. W.H. (Rebecca) Felton of Cartersville to the upper chamber of Congress on Oct. 3, 1922. Mrs. Felton, 87 at the time and the oldest freshman senator took the oath of office on Nov. 21, some seven weeks after being appointed to fill a vacancy with the death of Sen. Thomas E. Watson. She served only 24 hours after being sworn in, as a successor had by then been elected.
Mrs. Felton was no stranger to politics, having served as secretary to her husband, Democrat William Harrell Felton, when he served in Congress. The most prominent woman in the state of Georgia during the Progressive Era, she was a feminist — but also a white supremacist who publicly stood in favor of lynchings of African Americans.
CIVIL WAR THROUGH SOLDIER’S EYES — AUTHOR STEPHEN CRANE’S BOOK, THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, was published in book form on Oct. 3, 1895. It became the first American novel about the Civil War through the lens of an ordinary Union soldier and recounted a young man’s experience of battle. A newspaper syndicate had already published “The Red Badge of Courage” in serial form. The newspaper syndicate that serialized the novel sent him on assignment to cover the West and Mexico. In 1897, he went to Cuba to write about the insurrection against Spain. On the way there, he stayed at a dingy hotel where he met Cora Howard Taylor, who became his lifelong companion.
Later in his life, Crane became friends with authors Joseph Conrad, H.G. Wells and Henry James. He came down with tuberculosis and his frantic writing schedule (to pay off debt) worsened his condition. He died in 1900 at age 28.
EXONERATED — FORMER FOOTBALL STAR O.J. SIMPSON WAS ACQUITTED on Oct. 3, 1995, of a brutal double murder of his estranged wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, the year before. His highly sensationalized trial lasted 252 days, with his “Dream Team” defense attorneys F. Lee Bailey, Johnnie Cochran, Robert Kardashian and others pitted against the prosecutors and the L.A. Police Department, which had gathered enough evidence, including the now famous glove set, to charge him with the murders. Although it did not help Simpson that he lacked an alibi and that DNA from forensic blood samples matched, the Dream Team nevertheless won the case. While a majority of African Americans polled on the case thought Simpson was innocent while whites believed him guilty, the jury of nine African Americans, two whites and one Hispanic American needed only four hours to return their verdict: not guilty in both murders.
About 140 million Americans listened on radio or watched on television as the verdict was delivered.
MORE THAN QUADRUPLED TAXES — CONGRESS PASSED THE WAR REVENUE ACT on Oct. 3, 1917, just six months after entering World War I. The new law increased income taxes to unprecedented levels in order to raise more money for the war effort. While the 16th Amendment, giving Congress the power to levy an income tax, took effect in 1913, with a clause mandating income tax return confidentiality, the War Revenue Act decreased the number of exemptions and increased tax rates.
Even though only 5% of the U.S. population was required to pay taxes, the Congressional action increased U.S. tax revenue from $809 million in 1917 to $3.6 billion the following year. By the time World War I ended in 1918, income tax revenue had funded one-third of the U.S. war effort.
IRAQ GAINS INDEPENDENCE — IRAQ GAINED INDEPENDENCE FROM GREAT BRITAIN on Oct. 3, 1932, when it joined the League of Nations and England terminated its mandate over the Gulf Coast nation. Iraq, which had been under Ottoman Empire rule for centuries, continued to retain close military and economic ties with Great Britain, but that angered some Iraqis, who organized anti-British revolts. The British intervened, and the Iraqi government supported the Allied war efforts.
Iraq’s monarchy was overthrown in 1958 and then underwent a string of military and civilian governments. General Saddam Hussein seized power in 1979.
LONGEST RUNNING UNTIL “SESAME STREET” — THE CHILDREN’S TV SHOW “CAPTAIN KANGAROO” MADE ITS TV PREMIERE on Oct. 3, 1955, and ran until 1985, making it the longest-running children’s program until “Sesame Street” finally surpassed it. Bob Keeshan, who starred in the title role, was very active in the programming, even down to the commercials that would be permitted to air. “Captain Kangaroo’s” fellow show characters included Mr. Green Jeans, Grandfather Clock, Bunny Rabbit, Mr. Moose and Dancing Bear.
Twelve years after the original program concluded, “The All New Captain Kangaroo” debuted in 1997 starring John McDonough.
See previous milestones, here.
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