MSNBC's Throwback Thursday

  • This Week in History: On September 25, 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman Supreme Court Justice, after receiving unanimous Senate approval. But before donning the nation’s highest robe, the pioneering O’Connor blazed other trails for women. She graduated third in her 1952 Stanford Law class, when opportunities for female lawyers were scarce, and worked unpaid in California. In her 24 years as Justice, the moderate conservative Republican was called tough but just, often voted in line with the Republican platform, but broke away in some major historical cases. She provided the deciding vote in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), upholding Roe v. Wade, and was the determining judge in Bush v. Gore, ending the recount in the contested presidential race and upholding the election of George W. Bush.   
Here, the newly appointed O’Connor and Chief Justice Warren Burger leave the U.S. Supreme Court building.
  • This Week in History: On Sept. 22, 1862, after the Union victory at the Battle of Antietam—the first major Civil War battle on Union territory, and the bloodiest one-day battle in American history—President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation which presented an ultimatum to rebellious Southern states: rejoin the Union or have their slaves freed on Jan. 1, 1863. It was a pivotal move in the Civil War, shifting the focus from the preservation of the Union to the abolition of slavery. Ultimately, the Proclamation went into effect on its deadline, and is considered to have been the first push toward the abolishment of slavery. 
Here, President Lincoln poses for a portrait—one of many taken by Civil War photographer Matthew Brady. Brady’s photographs of Lincoln still circulate in American society every day, and are featured on the $5 bill and the penny. 
  • This Week in History: Inspired by the “lone U.S. flag” still standing over Maryland’s Fort McHenry at daybreak after British bombardment in the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key wrote: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.” The line was written in a poem, later set to an English drinking tune and known as The Star Spangled Banner, on September 13, 1814. President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 declared it should be played at all official events, though it didn’t become the official American national anthem until 1931. Today, the anthem is still played at all official events, including the start of the school day and sports games. Recently, San Francisco 49ers’s Colin Kaepernick sparked controversy when he protested racial injustice by remaining seated during the anthem.
Here, the flag in downtown Midland, Texas, 2005. 
  • This Week in History: On Sept 9, 1976, after founding the People’s Republic of China, leading a fierce communist revolution,and working to establish the country as an international powerhouse,  China’s leader, Mao Zedong, passed away. He ruled China from 1949 until his death in 1976, becoming one of the most significant and notorious communist figures of the era. While his leadership set the foundation for China’s progression, Mao Zedong’s  policies and tactics such as Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution cost the lives of millions of people. The legacy Mao left behind is a controversial one and while some believe he unified China many people in and outside of China renounce his efforts. Here, Mao Zedong in Shanxi province in China, April 22, 1938. 
  • This Week in History: While the Democratic Party gathered at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, scrambling to come to terms on a platform statement on Vietnam, tens of thousands of anti-war protesters took the streets by storm, battling police with the aim of pushing the presidential nomination of antiwar candidate Eugene McCarthy. Protesters chanted “the whole world is watching,” as police swung their batons and beat protesters and reporters alike. Inside the convention, fights broke out on the floor, with delegates and reporters kicked and punched. The world that night witnessed a fracturing of America’s Cold War, anti-communist sentiment, and a devastating splintering within the Democratic Party. Today, inner-party fissures threaten both Republican and Democratic traditions, as the race for the White House moves into its final three months.  
Here, demonstrators burn draft cards in Grant Park during the DNC, Chicago, 1968. 
  • This Week in History: On Aug. 25, 1916 President Woodrow Wilson established the National Park Service within the Department of the Interior. For 100 years the NPS has been in charge of protecting, preserving, and educating people about the country’s iconic national treasures. Preceding the National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park was established as the first national park in 1872, and today the NPS includes over 400, parks, seashores, monuments, historical sites, scenic rivers and trails to name a few. During his administration President Obama has established and expanded several national monuments, protecting more than 265 million acres of America’s public land- more than any previous president.
Pictured here, ‘Canyon De Chelly’ in Arizona taken in 1942 by Ansel Adams. Adams was hired by the NPS to document the country’s vast landscapes and his black-and-white images have since become some of the most iconic shots of the American West.
  • This Week in History: On August 15, 1969 the Woodstock Music Festival began in Bethel, New York. The event, located on a dairy farm, was to be a place of “peace and music” and attracted over 400,000 people. The festival is a memorable moment in music history and a symbol of the counterculture movement of the 1960’s. Thirty-two acts took the stage including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and The Who. The four day concert was made into a documentary film, “Woodstock,” which won an academy award for best documentary feature. Here, rock music fans sit on a tree sculpture as one leaps mid-air onto a pile of hay during the Woodstock Music and Art Festival held on a cow pasture, Aug. 15,1969 at White Lake in Bethel, New York.
  • This Week in History: On August 12, 1961, East Germany’s Communist leader Walter Ulbricht ordered a barrier that would block passage between Soviet-controlled East Berlin and its democratic counterpart in the western half of the city. Just after midnight, East German soldiers laid more than 100 miles of barbed wire, in what later became the 10 ft. 96-mile-long Berlin Wall. After WWII, Germany was divided into zones of French, American, British and Soviet occupation. By 1961, millions of East German laborers, professionals and intellectuals had headed west in search of better lives. On August 13, 1961, Berliners on either side awoke to find they were cut off from family and friends living across the city. The most iconic symbol of the Cold War stood until 1989, when Berliners from each side united to dismantle it.
Here, East German soldiers erect fencing along sections of the Berlin Wall. 
  • This Week in History: The Summer Olympics opened in Berlin on August 1, 1936. It was these games that started the tradition of the Olympic torch relay with a flame lit on Mount Olympus. This was also a transformative period for Germany, which had just seen Hitler’s swift rise to power following the death of President von Hindenburg in 1934. Leni Riefenstahl, the filmmaker perhaps best known for the 1935 propaganda epic “Triumph of the Will,” shot this photograph in the making of her documentary “Olympia,” often hailed as a monumental film. It was the first feature-length documentary to cover the Olympics and Riefenstahl employed many revolutionary sports filming techniques. However, the film is politically controversial: The Nazi party declared non-Aryans unwelcome participants and barred them from German teams, save Jewish fencing star Helene Mayer. 
Here, a diver leaps from a height of ten meters, in Berlin, 1936.
  • This Week in History: On July 28, 1868, the 14th amendment was officially added to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment was ratified two years after the end of the Civil War and granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” It granted citizenship to African Americans many of whom were former slaves. The amendment also forbid any state from denying a person, “life, liberty or property, without due process of the law,” and no person could be denied, “equal protection of the laws.” Since its inception, the 14th amendment has been cited in many court cases and has been effectively used to shape the civil rights movement of this nation. 
Here, a boy stands near the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Ala. 1995.
  • This Week in History: On July 20, 1969 American astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins made the first historic landing on the moon. The mission began on July 16, 1969 with the world watching in anticipation as Apollo 11 launched from the Kennedy Space Center with the three astronauts aboard. Four days later Armstrong and Aldrin began their descent to the moon’s surface, separating from the command module, into the lunar module named Eagle. Millions were watching as Armstrong descended the ladder and became the first man to step foot on the surface of the moon with the famous remark, “that’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Here, American astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin walks on the moon on July 20, 1969 during the Apollo 11 mission. Neil Armstrong’s reflection is in the visor of the helmet.
  • This Week in History: On July 16, 1945 at the Trinity bombsite in New Mexico, the Manhattan Project officially concluded as the world’s first plutonium bomb was detonated. The explosion formed a 25,000-foot mushroom cloud and a crater 1,200 feet wide, incinerating even its distant surroundings. The following month, the U.S. went on to drop the atomic bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan, killing hundreds of thousands in both the initial blasts and later from radiation sickness. Effects are still felt throughout these regions, although the total number of people affected is impossible to calculate. Today, eight nations have conducted nuclear testing, and nuclear power continues to be a controversial and still emerging technology. Here, stills from a motion picture camera encased in a two-inch-deep lead sheath show a house disintegrating from the atom bomb blast in Yucca Flat, Nevada on March 17, 1952. 
  • This Week in History: Famed painter Frida Kahlo was born in Mexico on July 6, 1907 just before the Mexican Revolution began. Kahlo was a gifted painter known for her impressive, surrealist self-portraiture, which expressed her pains with a passion for honesty, even though she was often confined to a hospital bed and in body casts.  She married Mexican muralist Diego Rivera when she was 21, with whom she had a complex and passionate relationship that lasted for the remainder of her life. They traveled through the United States for Rivera’s mural commissions, during which she suffered a failed pregnancy that almost claimed her life. At her last exhibit—her first in Mexico—she arrived at the opening in an ambulance and was attended while in her bed. She died at the age of 47, a cultural icon and celebrated artist.
  • This Week in History: On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. Such harassment was common in the gay community during that era, but this time, as police attempted to enforce a law that made it illegal to serve alcohol to gay people, patrons resisted. The streets erupted into violent protests that continued for days. The Stonewall Riots are now widely seen as a major turning point in the LGBTQ civil rights movement. This past week President Obama officially designated the Stonewall Inn a national monument, making it the first in the country to honor the LGBTQ movement for equality.The new monument includes nearly 8 acres of land, including the Stonewall Inn, Christopher Park, and the surrounding streets that were the site of the 1969 uprising.
Here, the crowd attempts to impede police arrests outside the Stonewall Inn, June 28, 1969.
  • This Week in History: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg became the first U.S. citizens executed for conspiring to commit espionage by planning to share atomic secrets with the Soviets, June 19, 1953. Julius, an Army engineer met Ethel, a secretary, in the Young Communist League. In 1950, they were arrested when Ethel’s brother, who’d confessed to espionage, implicated them. The world was split—some believed them spies while others called them victims of American anti-communist hysteria. French philosopher Jean Paul-Sartre insisted, “you are afraid of the shadow of your own bomb.” But President Eisenhower denied the couple’s clemency, saying, “The execution of two human beings is a grave matter. But even graver is the thought of the millions of dead whose deaths may be directly attributable to what these spies have done.”

Here, Rosenberg sons, Michael, 10, and Robert, 6, read about their parents’ impending execution.
  • This Week in History: On June 16, 1976, the Soweto Uprising sparked. Soweto, whose name is an abbreviation of South Western Townships, has a fraught history. At first, Soweto grew with those who came to work at nearby gold mines and later with black Africans who were forcibly removed from the city, first to combat plague, later out of apartheid. The Afrikaners in power—descendants of Dutch settlers—implemented a law to enforce education in Afrikaans and English. This prompted a massive uprising of an estimated 20,000 students, as Afrikaans was seen as the “language of the oppressor”. The peaceful protesters were met with a brutal police response, who opened fire at the crowd, killing between 176 and 700. The events struck a chord in international politics and is regarded as the beginning of the end of apartheid.
Here, a student riots in Soweto, June 21, 1976.
  • This Week in History: Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was killed, June 6, 1968. Shortly after winning the California Democratic primary, Kennedy was fatally shot. The year was turbulent: the Vietnam War, protests, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, and the fresh memory of John F. Kennedy’s 1965 assassination. RFK was considered the best hope for uniting the country.Following MLK’s death, Kennedy delivered an impromptu eulogy to a mostly black crowd in Indianapolis, saying, “What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.”
Here, a funeral train carries Kennedy from New York to Arlington National Cemetery.
  • This Week in History: Benjamin Netanyahu became the youngest prime minister in Israeli history. Leader of the Likud Party since 1993, Netanyahu won the 1996 national elections, defeating the Labor Party’s Shimon Peres, in office since Yitzhak Rabin’s 1995 assassination. Netanyahu’s victory was seen as a setback for the Middle East peace process, as he promised to be tough-on-terrorism and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Twenty years later, Netanyahu’s role is still central in the Middle East, and in the U.S. He’s been at the core of tension between American partisan leaders, and has had a rocky relationship with President Obama. Today, the issue is key in the 2016 presidential race, with both parties’ candidates pledging their loyalty to Netanyahu and the state of Israel.
Here, Netanyahu leaves the U.S. House Chamber after speaking against Obama’s Iran deal to a controversial joint meeting of Congress, March 3, 2015. 
  • This Week in History: Today would have been the 90th birthday of legendary jazz trumpeter and bandleader Miles Davis. Born on May 26, 1926 in Illinois, Davis started playing the trumpet at age 13. He briefly attended Juilliard School of Music before dropping out to play professionally with the likes of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. By 1949, during his collaborative Birth of Cool sessions, Davis entered a period of heroin addiction that lasted until 1954. Throughout his career, Davis would produce 48 of the most experimental and pioneering jazz records of all time, such as Miles Ahead, 1957, Kind of Blue, 1959, which is still the best selling jazz album of all time, Sketches of Spain, 1959-60, and Bitches Brew in 1970, and would earn 9 Grammys. Miles Davis died at age 65 on Sept. 28, 1991 of respiratory distress.
Here, Miles Davis plays his trumpet in June, 1956.
  • This Week in History: On May 18, 1980, after revelations from an internal investigation revealed that Arthur Lee McDuffie, a black insurance executive, was brutally beaten by police, Miami became the site of riots. The report uncovered a “frenzied” battering by multiple policemen, pushing each other to get a turn to beat McDuffie, with the hardest blow cracking McDuffie’s skull in two. Examiners found McDuffie was handcuffed throughout the beating, which lasted twenty minutes, and he did not survive the ensuing four-day coma. McDuffie was an ex-Marine police officer, businessman, volunteer worker and father. His infraction was an expired driver’s license. When an all white male jury acquitted the officers, Miami erupted in protest, then riots, lasting days. 18 people died and parts of the city were left smoldering. 
Here, people walk past burned ruins after a night of riots in the Culmer section of Miami, May 19, 1980.
  • This Week in History: On May 11, 1981, Bob Marley, 36, died after a four-year battle with cancer. The reggae legend had become one of the world’s best-selling artists—solidifying his status with the album Exodus (1977)—and was the first to bring the music of the Jamaican Rastafari movement to mass international audiences. There are many other little-known facets of Marley’s life. For instance, few know that his father was of Syrian Jewish descent. The singer also had 11 children, two of which were adopted. And his increasingly political music at one point lead to an attempt on his life (during which he was shot). In the hours leading up to his death, Marley’s last words—spoken to his son Ziggy—later became a sort of mantra for many of his followers: “Money can’t buy life.”
Here, Bob Marley and the Wailers perform in Chicago, Ill, Nov. 13, 1979.
  • This Week in History: On May 4, 1970 National Guardsmen fired into a group of demonstrators at Ohio’s Kent State University. The Kent State Massacre killed four and wounded another nine—all marching against the Vietnam War and American invasion of Cambodia. Guardsmen had on the previous day used tear gas to disperse protestors and, by May 4th, rallies were banned and classes resumed. But 2,000 people gathered in what quickly turned into confrontation. Tear gas and bayonets were met with rocks and verbal taunts, which were met with more than 60 rounds of gunfire. In 1974, all charges were dropped against eight of the Guardsmen involved.In this Pulitzer Prize winning photo taken by John Filo, a 22 year-old student, Mary Ann Vecchio kneels beside a student who’d been shot. Though the photo that first circulated turned out to be manipulated, this is the original, un-doctored version.
  • This Week in History: On April 30, 1939, the New York World’s Fair opened in Flushing Meadows, Queens with the hopeful theme “The World of Tomorrow.” The 1,200-acre fair served as a showcase for new technology and futuristic architecture, symbolizing recovery and possibility after the decade-long Great Depression. The fair featured two main structures, the Trylon and the Perisphere, along with a walk-though waterfall, a building topped by a huge cash register, and a seven-foot-tall robot named Elektro whose talents included smoking, singing, and sweeping a house. The fair lasted for two seasons, representing 60 nations and welcoming 44 million guests. The international theme of the fair was intended as a movement toward world peace, but in September 1939 Britain announced that it had entered war with Germany, and WWII officially began.
Here, visitors at the World’s Fair in New York enter the Perisphere, July 1, 1939. 
  • This Week in History: Earth Day is celebrated for the first time in the United States, on April 22nd, 1970, marking the birth of the modern environmental movement. It was a time when consciousness of the effects of pollution were still just emerging and everyday Americans still thought of fumes as the “smell of prosperity.” Spurred by a Wisconsin Senator who witnessed a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, it was arguably also inspired by satellite images of the globe, which had begun circulating in 1968 thanks to Whole Earth Catalog. It wasn’t until 1972 that the first single image of the globe was photographed and by a human, no less.
Here, Africa and Antarctica are seen fully illuminated in one of the most circulated images of all time, The Blue Marble, shot in 1972 on a custom Hasselblad aboard Apollo 17, the last manned lunar mission.
  • This Week in History: One year ago, the arrest of one man led to a massive uprising which set the city of Baltimore aflame, literally and figuratively. Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man, was arrested on April 12 for allegedly possessing an illegal switchblade. A week later Gray died from injuries that are believed to have been sustained while he was in police custody. As both the legal system and the court of public opinion seeks the truth, the city of Baltimore will never be the same. Hundreds took to the city’s street in the days following Gray’s death to protest police brutality, while in cities across the country people stood up in solidarity with the fallen.
Here, protesters march in support of Maryland state attorney Marilyn Mosby’s announcement that charges would be filed against Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, May 1, 2015 in Baltimore, Md.
  • This Week in History: On April 4, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed while standing outside his room at the Lorraine Motel, in Memphis, Tenn. The 39 year-old civil rights leader had traveled to Memphis to support a sanitation workers’ strike and was leaving his room for dinner when the bullet entered through his jaw and severed his spinal cord. The months leading up to King’s assassination had been turbulent, with tensions around the civil rights movement increasing, and King becoming more and more focused on the problem of economic inequality in America—a struggle that continues today.  As word of his assassination spread, riots erupted across the country and the National Guard troops were deployed to contain the unrest in Washington and Memphis. Pictured here, soldiers attend a memorial service for Martin Luther King Jr. in Danang on April 8, 1968.
  • This Week in History: On March 31, 1889 the Eiffel Tower, named after its engineer Gustave Eiffel, opened to the public for the first time. Built for the 1889 World’s Fair in celebration of the centennial of the French Revolution, the Eiffel Tower was the world’s tallest structure at 984 feet – and 1,710 steps to the top – until the 1,046-foot-tall Chrysler Building went up in 1930. At 127 years old, the Eiffel Tower continues to be the most frequented paid attraction in the world, welcoming over 7 million visitors annually. Tourists come to dine in the tower’s restaurants, to see the views of Paris from its observation decks, or to simply marvel at the monument from below. Pictured here, French civil engineer Gustave Eiffel stands at the base of the Eiffel Tower during its construction in Paris, France on August 21, 1888.
  • This Week in History: We celebrate what would have been the 105th birthday of American playwright Tennessee Williams III, born on March 26, 1911. Though A Streetcar Named Desire, 1947, is the play that catapulted Williams to success, solidifying his position as one of the most important literary figures of the 20th century, it was 1955’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that became his personal favorite, going on to win the 1955 Pulitzer for Drama. Like many of his works, the play was subsequently adapted as film–now considered a classic–starring Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman. Williams, who had a somewhat troubled life–raised by an alcoholic, abusive father, and confronting his own alcoholism after his sister’s diagnoses of schizophrenia–was found dead in Feb. 1983, at the age of 71.
Here, American playwright Tennessee Williams relaxes with his feet up on desk while reading a magazine.
  • This Week in History: Lt. Col. Robert L. Stirm, a released prisoner of war, is greeted by his family at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, Calif., as he returns home from the Vietnam War, March 17, 1973. Stirm was shot down over Hanoi on October 27, 1967, while leading a flight of F-105s on a bombing mission. It was not a happy return for him, however, as he had received a letter from his wife on the day of his release from the Vietnamese prison camp, a mere three days before his return to American soil, telling him their relationship was over. They divorced the following year.
After taking this photograph, Veder quickly developed his negatives in the ladies’ bathroom at the Air Base and sent them out to the wires. This photograph, known as “Burst of Joy”, won Slava “Sal” Veder a Pulitzer Prize.
  • This Week in History: In 1876,Alexander Graham Bell received the patent for the telephone. Scottish-born Bell was interested in moving speech over wires and building an instrument that combined a telegraph and a record player, allowing people to converse from a distance. The first message transmission came three days after the patent, when Bell famously called to his assistant: “Mr. Watson, come here, I need you.” The Bell Company eventually became American Telephone and Telegraph, known as AT&T. It has been 140 years and much has changed. Fewer Americans are using landlines and payphones have become virtually nonexistent. The communications world has moved on to mobile phones, with approximately 64% of American adults owning a smartphone. 
In a photo known as Girl from Mars, a woman wears a plastic globe on her head while holding the receiver of a payphone, 1950s Greenwich Village, New York. 
  • This Week in History: Had it not been for a witness’s videotape, the beating and subsequent arrest of Rodney King 25 years ago might be something no one ever heard about. Instead, the disturbing footage of him being struck repeatedly by the batons of LAPD officers are burned into the memories of a whole generation of Americans. The excessive force of the officers was plain to see and sparked a nationwide conversation about race and police brutality. When the officers who beat King were all acquitted it led to outrage and rioting on the streets of Los Angeles. King, who suffered several injuries during the confrontation, successfully sued the city for millions and his plaintive question during the riots – “Can we all get along?,” remains one of the most memorable quotations of the early 1990s.
Here, Rodney King gives his “can we all get along,” speech in May 1992.
  • This Week in History: On February 25, 1964 Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, defeated world heavyweight boxing champion Sonny Liston and won his first world heavyweight title in a seventh-round technical knockout. The 22-year-old boxer already had over 100 wins in amateur competition, an International Golden Gloves heavyweight title, an Olympic gold medal, and an undefeated streak of 19 professional wins by the time he met Liston in the Miami ring. Surrounded by a crowd of 8,300 spectators, Ali proved that he could “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” as he had boasted in pre-fight talk. Ali celebrated the win with a private party that was also attended by Malcolm X. Two days later Ali announced he was joining the Nation of Islam.
Here, Muhammad Ali stands over a downed Sonny Liston.
  • On February 16, 1923, English archeologist Howard Carter entered the sealed burial chamber of King Tutankhamen, a ruler of ancient Egypt who lived around 1400 B.C. and died before adulthood. With the financial backing of Lord Carnarvon, Carter searched in vain for five years, until he finally discovered steps leading to an undiscovered doorway. The chambers they found were virtually intact and full of treasures. When they finally opened King Tut’s tomb, they found something astounding: a coffin made of solid gold, containing the mummified king — the first mummy ever to be discovered.
Here, in a photograph taken by Lord Carnarvon himself, workers dig through rubble to the tomb’s entrance, c. late 1922. Carnarvon died a month after the discovery of the sarcophagus from an infected mosquito bite.
  • This Week in History: On the night of Feb. 9, 1964 an estimated 73 million Americans watched as the Beatles made their live U.S. television debut on the Ed Sullivan Show.  The historic moment introduced the four young men, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison, from Liverpool, England to America, thereby triggering the true beginning of “Beatlemania” in the U.S. After Ed Sullivan introduced the foursome, they kicked into “All my Loving” to hundreds of screaming fans in the audience. The rest of their set consisted of “Till There was You,” “She Loves You,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”
 Here, in this Feb. 9, 1964 file photo, Paul McCartney, right, shows his guitar to host Ed Sullivan before the Beatles’ live television appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in New York.
  • This Week in History: On February 4, 1974 Patty Hearst, 19-year-old daughter of newspaper publisher Randolph Hearst, was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). The SLA held Hearst as a “prisoner of war,” and demanded her family donate to California’s needy. They donated $2 million, but it wasn’t enough. In April, surveillance photos of Hearst showed Hearst participating in an armed bank robbery. Shortly after, she released a tape to authorities pledging allegiance to the SLA. It was more than a year before Hearst was arrested, on September 18, 1975, and sentenced to seven years in prison, despite claiming to having been brainwashed. She served just 21 months before her sentence was commuted by President Carter. She later appeared in several John Waters films before being pardoned by President Clinton in January 2001.
Here, a photograph of Hearst sent to the Berkeley radio station by the SLA. 
  • Ninety years ago, Scottish inventor John Logie Baird produced the first public demonstration of the mechanical television, broadcasting a three by two inch image of his business partner, Daisy Elizabeth Gandy, in 1926. Baird was an early TV pioneer whose company, the Baird Television Development Company, also realized the first transatlantic TV transmission. By 1928, the first mass-produced TV sets had arrived on the market. The mechanical television had a strong run, used by the BBC until 1937, but was ultimately surpassed in the market by the electronic television in the 1930s.
Here, photographer Martin Parr captures an image of a television in England in 1970.
  • Ten years ago on Jan. 19, 2006 the unmanned NASA spacecraft New Horizons blasted off from Cape Canaveral aboard an Atlas V rocket, beginning its 3 billion-mile journey to Pluto. The probe flew for over nine years before performing a historic flyby of Pluto in July 2015, coming within 8,000 miles of the planet. The pictures and readings of Pluto and its family of small moons recorded by New Horizons are by far the most detailed that scientists have ever had the opportunity to examine. With Pluto now millions of miles behind it, New Horizons is making its way further into the Kuiper Belt, a region full of small and mysterious objects never before closely examined while still sending back data from that July 14 flyby. In this image provided by NASA, Pluto is seen when the spacecraft was 476,000 miles from the surface, July 13, 2015.
  • This Week in History: On Jan. 11, 1964, Dr. Luther L. Terry, released the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking, warning that cigarettes caused lung and laryngeal cancer and chronic bronchitis. In 1962, the report said, over 500,000 people in the U.S. died of arteriosclerotic heart disease, 41,000 of lung cancer and 15,000 of bronchitis and emphysema. As of the writing of the last Surgeon General’s report, in 2014, more than 20 million Americans have died of smoking-related causes since the first report, and, although the country has reduced tobacco use, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. And though cigarette smoking among adults has declined from 42 percent in 1965 to 18 percent in 2012, today’s smoker is at a higher risk of developing lung cancer than that of 50 years ago.
Here, smokers in Japan, 1998.
  • This Week in History: On January 7th, 2015, three Paris attacks —at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, a kosher grocery store, and in Montrouge — left 17 people dead. The magazine has a contentious history, particularly regarding Islam, having previously been attacked in 2011— also in response to controversial Muhammad cartoons it published. Editors like Stephane Charbonnier had received death threats prior to being killed alongside cartoonists Jean Cabut, Georges Wolinski, Bernard Verlhac and Philippe Honore when gunmen overran the office. The world responded with a “Je Suis Charlie” hashtag, which began trending almost immediately in solidarity with the magazine. The phrase became a slogan for national unity when millions of people and more than 40 diplomats came together under its cry in France’s largest rally.
Pictured here, “Je Suis Charlie” is scribbled on a shop window, in Paris, France, Nov. 15, 2015.
  • This Week in History: Happy New Year! The first ever celebration of New Year’s Eve in Times Square took place in 1904, and has only grown since then as one of the most popular places for people from all over the world to ring in the New Year. The inaugural celebration coincided with the official opening of the new headquarters for The New York Times, but it wasn’t until 1907 that the famous New Year’s Eve Ball dropped from the pole high above Times Square.
Pictured here, a couple embraces in Times Square on New Year’s eve in New York, N.Y., 1959.
  • This Week in History: Christmas is upon us! Here at Rockefeller Plaza, the Rockefeller Christmas Tree has become a national symbol, coupled with a popular televised event which occurs at the lighting of the tree every year, which started in 1951. Though it has become a triumphant affair, with Norway Spruces regularly peaking above 70 feet, it wasn’t always so.
Here in 1931, when Rockefeller Center was in construction during the Great Depression, a much simpler, 20 foot tall debut Rockefeller Christmas Tree was erected by a group of workers. There was reason to celebrate: while most of their colleagues were struggling to find income, here they can be seen receiving their due pay. They reportedly decorated the tree with cranberries, paper garlands and a few tin cans. Today’s tree is topped with a magnificent 25 thousand-Swarovski-crystal-studded star that is rumored to be worth $1.5 million, debuted in 2004.
  • This Week in History: On Dec. 17, 1944, the U.S. decided to end the internment of Japanese Americans. The detention, or “relocation,” of Japanese Americans was enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Feb. 19, 1942—10 weeks after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II. With Executive Order 9066, the president authorized the “removal of any or all people from military areas ‘as deemed necessary or desirable.’” The military defined the entire West Coast, home to the largest concentration of Japanese Americans in the country, as a military area, forcibly evacuating more than 110,000 people. They were sent to live, under difficult conditions and mistreatment, in camps built by the military across the country.  The “evacuees,” as they were called, were finally released on Jan. 2, 1945.
Here, evacuees wait for baggage inspection upon arrival at the assembly center during WWII.
  • This Week in History: President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress on Dec. 8, 1941, asking lawmakers to formally declare war on Japan, which would formally plunge the nation into World War II. The day before, Japan had executed a surprise attack on American naval and air facilities in Pearl Harbor Hawaii, killing 2,400 Americans. In what would be widely regarded as one of President Roosevelt’s most memorable speeches, he proclaimed, “yesterday, December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, [the] United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the empire of Japan.” In response to Pearl Harbor, Congress unanimously approved President Roosevelt’s resolution in the Senate, and only one representative dissented in the House on pacifist grounds.
Here, sailors aboard the USS Saratoga scan the horizon in the South Pacific, 1943.
  • This Week in History: Prohibition ends. It started on January 16, 1919, with the installment of the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes.” The subsequent Volstead Act permitted a special brigade to begin destroying thousands of illicit stills, giving ample room for organized crime to flourish in the country. Federal and state costs ran into the billions, sobriety was never conquered, leading to a significant drop in Prohibition’s popularity. On Dec. 5th, 1933, more than three quarters of the country’s states ratified the 21st Amendment, repealing the controversial 18th. There were still some states that defied this change, however, like Mississippi, which ended its Prohibition as late as 1966.
Here, a woman celebrates with a pint of beer in either hand, sitting on barrels of the newly legalized alcoholic beverage.
  • This Week in History: In 1941, President Roosevelt declared the fourth Thursday of November Thanksgiving Day. If that seems recent it’s because Thanksgiving has an unsteady history. The original post-harvest celebrations happened on “Lecture Day”—the midweek day reserved for sermons. Native Americans were not invited to join Pilgrims for a three-day feast until 1621. Continental Congress didn’t declare the first national American Thanksgiving until 1777. George Washington was the first to name it a holiday, on November 26, to give thanks for the Constitution. That date was changed in 1863 by Lincoln, who said it should fall on the last Thursday of November. In 1939 Roosevelt tried for several years, and amid growing controversy, to hold the holiday on November 23. He finally gave into the people and returned Thanksgiving to the last Thursday of the month.
Here, men recover after Thanksgiving dinner in West Hartford, Conn., 1976.
  • This Week in History: Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, N.Y. has earned a reputation for both launching stars and crushing dreams. But one of the world’s most famous stages probably wouldn’t have become such a cultural icon if it weren’t for the singular talents of Ella Fitzgerald. On Nov. 21. 1934 she stepped up to sing and blew away the crowd. Fitzgerald was still a teenager at the time when she won Amateur Night, but she would go on to become one of the most celebrated jazz singers and scatters of all time. Her name still evokes waves of appreciation from modern Apollo Amateur Night audiences, because no matter what stars have graced the stage since her, she was the one who many have credited with making it legendary.
Here, American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald performs in Las Vegas, Nev., in 1958.
  • This Week in History: On November 12, 1954, Ellis Island closed its doors. The island had been the “gateway to America,” having processed 12 million immigrants—the first on January 2, 1892. While some immigrants that arrived via New York did not have to go through Ellis Island, it is estimated that 40 percent of all Americans today can trace their roots back to the island, which was declared the country’s first federal immigration center in 1890. The majority of those who were processed on the island were people traveling in “third class,” who underwent medical and legal inspections to ensure they would not become a burden on the U.S. government. In all its years of operation, only two percent of immigrants processed on Ellis Island were denied entry to the United States. 
Pictured here, women arrive on the last boat of displaced Europeans after WWII, 1950. 
  • This Week in History: On November 4, 1979, hundreds of student supporters of Iranian cleric Ayatollah Khomeini stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking more than 50 hostages and demanding that the deposed Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi return from the United States, where he was receiving cancer treatment, to face trial for crimes he committed during his regime. The American-supported Shah had been overthrown in a January revolution. President Jimmy Carter, already dealing with the effects of an energy crisis that came with the revolution, ordered an Iranian oil embargo. Carter severed diplomatic ties with the country in April 1980, but resumed negotiations after a failed secret rescue mission. Ultimately, the hostages were held for 444 days, until January 20, 1981—minutes after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration.
This photograph taken by one of the hostage-takers shows hostages inside the embassy at the beginning of the crisis. 
  • This Week in History: The last time the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets both won the World Series was on Oct. 27, in 1985 and 1986 respectively. This year the two MLB franchises are competing against each other in the Fall Classic, vying to do something they haven’t done since the Reagan administration. This is also the first time in the history of the sport that two expansion teams have competed for baseball’s biggest prize, but these two pennant winners’ remarkable journey to the seven-game series is really what makes them both special. The Royals jumped to take a 2-0 lead in the series, but Game 3 is set for Friday in New York City. Which team will finally be able to put an end to their decades-long losing drought?
Here, fans celebrate after the New York Mets defeat the Boston Red Sox in the 1986 World Series.
  • This Week in History: Tens of thousands of protesters marched from a rally in front of the Lincoln Memorial to the Pentagon on October 21, 1967, making their voices heard in opposition to the Vietnam War. They surrounded the Pentagon for two nights, at which point hundreds were arrested, including novelist Norman Mailer and two United Press International reporters. It was an event that unified many, from professors to radicals, veterans to women’s groups. It was even echoed across the globe in simultaneous protests in Japan and across Western Europe.
Here, American high school student Jan Rose Kasmir confronts the American National Guard outside the Pentagon during the anti-Vietnam War march. This photograph by Marc Riboud is widely recognized as an iconographic moment in the anti-war movement and has moved millions across the globe, helping to turn the tide against the war. 
  • This Week in History: Albert Einstein arrived in Princeton, New Jersey, as a refugee from Nazi Germany. The German-born physicist renounced his citizenship in March, after Nazis raided his cottage and confiscated his sailboat while he was traveling. After leaving, Einstein worked with Winston Churchill and Turkish Prime Minister Ismet Inonu to help other Jewish scientists escape and find work abroad. Churchill later observed that Germany had only lowered its technical standards and helped to advance the Allies’ technology by driving out scientists. Ultimately, Einstein’s efforts saved 1,000 Jewish scientists who were invited to Turkey, with more going to the U.K. American universities didn’t have many Jewish professors because of a quota that wasn’t lifted until the late 1940s. Einstein became a U.S. Citizen in 1940.
Pictured here, Einstein in his study at Princeton, where he was a professor at the Institute for Advanced Studies, 1951.
  • This Week in History: On Oct. 9, 1967 at age 39, Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara was assassinated by the Bolivian army following his capture the previous day. Guevara, an Argentine-born guerilla leader, joined Fidel Castro in 1954 to lead the Cuban Revolution, succeeding in 1959 to overthrow dictator Fulgencio Batista. He has since become a cultural icon and a symbol of resistance. After his remains were located in an unmarked Bolivian grave in 1997, they were sent back to Cuba for a reburial service led by Castro and attended by thousands of Cubans.
While working in Cuba in 1963, Swiss photographer Rene Burri was able to photograph a lengthy interview with Guevara. Upon Burri’s return, the work was featured in LOOK Magazine and has since become iconic in remembering the life of Guevara.
Here, Che Guevara is photographed by Rene Burri in Cuba in 1963.
  • This Week In History: James Meredith, an African-American student who had previously spent nine years in the Army Air Force, successfully registers for classes at University of Mississippi after four attempts. He had been rejected, denied by courts and even blocked by a riotous crowd. The US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy made a series of phone calls with Governor Barnett, who had been blocking Meredith’s admission. Barnett reluctantly agreed to let Meredith enroll in the university and Kennedy ordered 500 U.S. Marshals to accompany Meredith during his arrival and registration. He became an icon of civil rights, publishing a book on his experiences at the previously all-white school. His son Joseph also graduated from the college in 2003.
Here, U.S. Marshals accompany Meredith during his arrival and registration at the school in Oxford, Miss., Oct. 1, 1962. 
This Week in History: On September 22, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, igniting the longest conventional war of the 20th century. The Iran-Iraq war, or the Gulf War, was a power struggle intensified by Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, which motivated Iraq’s fear of turbulence in its own Shia population. While proxy forces played significant roles, the United States was a late-arriving agent, having no formal relationship with either republic. In Iran, the U.S. held concerns over the revolution and hostage crises, and Iraq’s alliance with the Soviet Union and hostility toward Israel made it difficult to remain friendly. However, the U.S. in 1984 reached out to Iraq, restoring diplomatic relations. A ceasefire agreement was reached four years later.
Pictured here, an Iranian soldier watches smoke rise from burning oil refineries in Abadan, Iran. Abadan contains a high concentration of oil fields and became a front-line city during war.
  • This Week in History: In the fall of 1978 boxing fans had begun to write Muhammad Ali off. After he lost his first bout against the literally toothless Leon Spinks in February, even his most ardent supporters thought it was time for him to throw in the towel. Instead, the champ trained harder than he had on years and told sportswriters ahead of his rematch with Spinks: “Put your money on me. I cannot get no better.” On Sept. 15, 1978 Ali did the impossible, decisively winning the heavyweight title for a historic third time at the age of 36 in a unanimous 15-round decision at the Louisiana Superdome. It would be his last great triumph as a fighter, but far from his final contribution to society as a man.
Here, Muhammad Ali fights Leon Spinks on Sept. 15, 1978 in New Orleans, La.
  • This Week in History: On Sept. 9, 2015, Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning monarch in Britain’s history, topping her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria’s reign of 23,226 days, 16 hours, and almost 30 minutes. The Queen, who succeeded her father at the age 25 following his death in 1952, shied away from celebration, instead spending the day in Scotland restoring the Scottish Borders Railway and performing her duties as usual. Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation was the first in British history to be televised, and her reign has seen 12 British prime ministers, 12 United States presidents, and seven popes, bringing her to 116 countries. During her short speech, the Queen stated, “Inevitably, a long life can pass by many milestones. My own is no exception.”
Pictured here, Queen Elizabeth II dances with Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah during a state visit to Ghana in 1961.
  • This Week in History: On September 3, 2004, a firefight between 32 Chechen hostage-takers and Russian security fighters ended a three-day crisis that killed 331 people, 186 of them children, and wounded 700 more at School No. 1 in Beslan, North Ossetia. The Chechen group surrounded approximately 1,200 students, teachers and parents in the school’s playground and herded them into the school gym, which had already been rigged with explosive devices. Negotiations between the hostage-takers and Russian security forces began that afternoon, with the Chechens demanding that Russian troops withdraw from Chechnya. When negotiations failed two days later, chaos broke out. A bomb detonated in the gym and security forces opened fire on the school. By the end, Russian authorities said, only one of the hostage-takers survived the siege. In 2006 he was sentenced to life in prison.
Pictured here, a woman mourns the deaths of two schoolgirls. 
  • This Week in History: On August 25, 1944, the French 2nd Armored Division freed Paris from German powers, after almost four years of Nazi occupation. Members of the French Forces of Interior began freeing French civilian prisoners a few days prior to the liberation, and German General Dietrich von Choltitz officially surrendered to French General Charles de Gaulle when he disobeyed orders by Hitler to burn down the City of Light. The liberation prompted a mass celebration down Les Champs d’Elysées, with French civilians waving the flag of the Allies, children playing in the streets and women kissing soldiers. German soldiers and officers were captured and paraded as prisoners down the festive streets. More than 500 resistance fighters and 127 civilians died in the fight to liberate Paris.
Pictured here, a French soldier is kissed as they are welcomed to Paris and Les Champs d’Elysées, August 26, 1944.
  • This Week in History: On August 20, 1968, Soviet troops along with those from other Warsaw Pact nations—the Soviet version of NATO—invaded Czechoslovakia with the goal of quelling intensifying anti-Soviet protests and restoring order. More than 200,000 soldiers crossed into Prague and came to occupy the entire country in just over a day. Riots were crushed, and thousands of Czechs fled, while the West looked on in shock at the violent interruption of what had become known as the “Prague Spring.” The move was detrimental to U.S.-Soviet relations.
Pictured here, a Soviet soldier stands in the Czech capital of Prague, surrounded by military tanks, August 1968.
  • This Week in History: On August 15, 1947, what was then known as the British Indian Empire was partitioned into India and Pakistan. The division was not only territorial but also of the military, the civilian bureaucracy, and the treasury. In the run-up to the division of Punjab province, riots and fighting among Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims claimed 200,000 to 500,000 lives and displaced 14 million people, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and is considered the largest migration in human history. The partition was unveiled in what came to be known as the Mountbatten Plan, which granted Muslims the separate state (Pakistan) they had demanded and provided for votes on the issue of partition in the various state legislatures.
Here, a Sikh carries his wife on his shoulders as he walks with others migrating to their new homeland after the Partition of India. 1947.
  • This Week in History: August 6 marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark Voting Rights Act, signed in 1965 by then-President Lyndon Johnson and hailed as one of the most successful civil rights laws in the country’s history. The act, which barred discriminatory voting practices that had been used to deny people—particularly African-Americans—their constitutional right to vote, was no easy feat and came after decades of civil unrest and violence.
Here, African-Americans vote for the first time. Washington, D.C., 1963.
  • This Week in History: A B-25 Mitchell bomber crashed into the Empire State Building on July 28, 1945. William Franklin Smith Jr. encountered thick fog and crashed the plane between the 78th and 80th floors. One of the plane’s engines shot through the building before starting a fire in a neighboring penthouse apartment. The other plunged down the elevator shaft, starting a fire that was extinguished in 40 minutes.The event holds the record for highest building fire ever brought under control. A second record was set when elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver, injured in the crash, survived a 75-story drop that occurred as she was being rescued. Eleven occupants were killed, along with Smith and two crew members. The crash is memorialized by a single missing stone in the façade where the impact occurred.
  • This Week in History: On July 21, 1899 Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois. A writer whose life was as large as his prose was compact, Hemingway had a storied and full life; he drove an ambulance in World War I, covered the Spanish Civil War, and had a front-row seat to the D-Day invasion and the liberation of Paris. After an early childhood in which his mother dressed him in girls’ clothing, Hemingway in adulthood became world-famous for overtly macho pursuits including sport fishing and big game hunting. Hemingway’s sparse prose, first-person journalistic observations, and unrepentant machismo would combine to create a distinctive writing style often satired but rarely equaled. To read Hemingway is to hear the English language boldly and powerfully stripped to its essential elements.
  • This Week in History: Jane Goodall arrived at Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania on July 14, 1960 to closely observe the chimpanzees, who were little-understood at the time.
In her first year of study, Goodall made the astounding discovery that chimpanzee’s had the ability to use and create tools. When famous anthropologist Louis Leakey heard of her discovery he replied: “Now we must redefine ‘tool,’ redefine ‘man’ or accept chimpanzees as humans.” Goodall’s important studies of chimps’ behaviors, personalities, and social structures lead to greater knowledge and understanding about their lives. 
Today, Jane Goodall continues to be an influential advocate for chimpanzees and their habitats.
Here, Jane Goodall poses for a portrait on Lake Tanganyika, offshore from Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania on July 18, 2014.
  • This Week in History: Althea Gibson became the first black person to win Wimbledon, July 6, 1957.
Gibson was born on Aug. 25, 1927 in Silver, S.C., and raised in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. She officially broke the tennis color barrier in 1950 by becoming the first African-American player to compete in the U.S. National Championships.
Gibson’s career took off in 1956 when she became the first black player to win the French Open. The following year, she won Wimbledon and then went on to win the U.S. Nationals. All told, Gibson won 11 major titles in the 1950s.Gibson’s success despite the prejudice and racism she faced is frequently compared to Jackie Robinson’s, and her accomplishments have paved the way for many players to come.
Here, Tennis ace Althea Gibson blows kisses to cheering crowd at the Broadway parade in 1957.
  • This Week in History: Record-setting aviator Amelia Earhart disappeared near Howland Island on July 2, 1937 while attempting to complete the first round-the-world flight at the equator with navigator Fred Noonan.Despite a botched first attempt in March 1937, Earhart and Noonan took off from Miami, Fla., on June 1. After nearly a month of successful stops in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia, Earhart departed from Lae, New Guinea on July 2nd, but never made it to her next destination, Howland Island. The search began shortly after Earhart’s last recorded radio message and lasted until July 19, but yielded no results.
By the time of her disappearance, Earhart had become an international celebrity and feminist icon for being the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic.
Here, Amelia Earhart sits in the cockpit of her plane for a portrait, circa 1925
  • This Week in History: Music icon Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009, stunning the world with the loss of a legend.Despite his ups and downs, it felt impossible to imagine a world without the King of Pop. Ever since he was a young boy, Michael Jackson captivated music fans like no artist before or since. Although he was often a source of controversy and comedy, no one ever questioned his incomparable talent. So when word spread that he had died at age 50, it was simply hard to believe. A spontaneous outpouring of grief occurred. His classic albums stormed back up the charts, and fans rushed to the streets and danced to the beat of his biggest hits. It was an unparalleled, multicultural and multigenerational movement set to songs that had provided a soundtrack to most of our lives. Today, Jackson’s “Thriller” remains the best-selling album of all time.
Here, pop singer Michael Jackson of R&B quintet The Jackson 5 is pictured, circa 1970.
  • Nuclear tests are conducted as part of Operation Castle, a series of American high-energy nuclear tests, at Bikini Atoll (in the Northwest of the Marshall Islands), March 26, 1954. 
  • This Week in History: Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin escape from Alcatraz on June 11, 1962.
The next morning, guards discovered that Morris and the Anglin brothers were missing. The trio built dummy heads fashioned with real hair to evade the nighttime checks and used spoons and a homemade drill to tunnel into a utility corridor behind their cells. After going through the corridor and onto the roof the three slid down a poll along the the walls and then hopped another fence to get to the shoreline. There, they inflated their makeshift raft and disappeared into the night. Aside from some remnants of the raft two miles north on Angel Island and a plastic bag of the Anglins’ personal effects, the three were never heard from again.
Here, a prison guard looks around him in a typical cell block at the Federal Prison on Alcatraz Island.
  • This Week In History: On June 4, 1989, Chinese troops stormed Tiananmen Square, the center of ongoing pro-democracy protests in Beijing, killing and arresting thousands of demonstrators in what became known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre. The young Chinese protesters, who had numbered almost a million, were mostly students who had gathered in the square since May to call for greater democracy and demand the resignations of repressive Chinese Communist Party leaders. On June 4, the troops fired into the crowd creating a frenzy where some thousands tried to flee and others stayed to fight the armed forces. At the time it was estimated that at least 300 and up to thousands of protesters had been killed, with approximately 10,000 having been arrested. Pictured above, a blood-covered protester holds a Chinese soldier’s helmet during the massacre. 
  • This Week in History: On May 25, 1895, Irish playwright and author Oscar Wilde began a two-year stint at HM Prison Reading in London, after being convicted of “indecency”— or, sodomy. Wilde’s homosexuality was thrown into a controversial spotlight when he feuded with Sir John Sholto Douglas, the father of his long-time partner, Lord Alfred Douglas. John Douglas claimed Wilde had solicited 12 boys to commit sodomy in a 12-year span. At the time, homosexuality was criminalized in Britain and Wilde was arrested and denied bail. Deeply Catholic Ireland criminalized homosexuality even after its independence, and it wasn’t until 1993, following a ruling against the Irish government by the European Court of Human Rights, that its LGBT laws were reformed. Last week, the island made history when it became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. Wilde is pictured here in 1882. 
  • This Week in History: If you were born in the last fifty years, chances are Stevie Wonder provided the soundtrack to some major event in your life. It could have been your birth (“Isn’t She Lovely), your wedding day (“I Just Called to Say I Love You”) or a dorm room dance session (“Superstition”). One of the most beloved R&B artists of all time, this Motown icon has been bowling over music fans with his genius ever since he was a little boy jamming on the harmonica. Miraculously, he has been one of the most celebrated composers America’s ever produced despite being born without the ability to see. This week, Wonder was born 64 years ago on May 13, 1950 though his songs remain ageless.  
Here, musician and singer Stevie Wonder is seen at his recording studio Wonderland in Los Angeles, Calif., circa 1980s.
  • This Week in History: Notorious criminal couple Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are shot to death in a police ambush while driving a stolen car in Louisiana on May 23, 1934, ending their two-year crime spree. Although it was initially a trail of abandoned stolen cars that first interested the FBI in Bonnie and Clyde, they were also believed to be suspects in a litany of other crimes such as robbery, burglary, and murder. They were almost caught before while hiding out with Clyde’s brother in Joplin, Mo., during a surprise police raid, but the two evaded capture in a firefight. Bonnie and Clyde met in Texas in 1930 and embarked on a life of crime together in 1932. Their story inspired everything from an groundbreaking 1967 biopic starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty to an early Jay-Z and Beyonce duet.
  • This Week in History: May 8th marks Victory in Europe day, or VE Day, the commemoration of the end of World War II in Europe in 1945. Following Adolf Hitler’s suicide on April 30th as Soviet troops advanced on Berlin, Germany signed an unconditional military surrender on May 7th, thus ending the European theater after nearly 6 years of war. Following Germany’s defeat, massive celebrations broke out in London, Paris, New York and other cities across the world. Pictured here, revelers fill the streets of New York after victory was announced.
  • This Week in History: Forty years ago, on April 30, 1975, Saigon fell to communist North Vietnamese forces. Tanks rolled into the city as bombs poured down and panicked civilians swarmed the streets and scaled the walls of the U.S. Embassy, trying to reach evacuation helicopters on the other side. Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” played on the radio—it was the code for personnel to report to designated landing zones—signaling the beginning of Operation Frequent Wind. Helicopters carried 6,236 people to waiting carriers. In all, approximately 5,000 Americans and more than 130,000 South Vietnamese were evacuated. The last helicopter lifted off the ground at 7:53 a.m. In the photo above, a Roman Catholic priest helps an elderly villager to board a government helicopter west of Tuy Hoa in Vietnam in preparation for the fall of Saigon, on March 27, 1975. 
  • This Week in History: Shortly after 5 a.m. on April 18, 1906, an earthquake struck San Francisco, California, destroying much of the city. The temblor, which was caused by movement along the San Andreas Fault, struck in two shocks that lasted over a minute and is estimated to have had a magnitude of around 8.0 on the Richter scale. The quake set off devastating fires and due to significant ruptures in the city’s water mains firefighters had a hard time containing the flames, which raged through the city. It is now believed that approximately 3,000 people died and it is reported that hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless.
Here, troops walk east along Market Street as the tall Call building burns in the distance after the devastating earthquake of 1906.
  • This Week in History: John Muir, the conservation activist, writer and naturalist was born in Scotland on April 21, 1838. Spending much of his life in the American West, Muir was instrumental in the creation of Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, by lobbying for legislation in Congress in 1890. During an excursion through Yosemite with President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903, Muir convinced Roosevelt to expand the Federal control of the land to help conservation efforts. Muir’s legacy is still very present to this day:  multiple trails and nature preserves (including the John Muir Trail in California’s Sierra Nevada) are named after him; the Sierra Club, the organization he helped form is one of the biggest advocates for environmental protection, and Earth Day falls on the week of his birthday.
  • This Week in History: Jackie Robinson became a civil rights icon for generations when the Brooklyn Dodgers signed him to play on April 10, 1947, breaking a decades-long barrier to people of color in professional baseball.
The Dodgers’ owner Branch Rickey selected Robinson for his clean cut good looks and ability to hold back his rage, as much as his considerable skill on the diamond. When first interviewing Robinson he hurled racial epithets at him as a short preview of what Robinson would eventually encounter in ballparks across the country. Robinson’s resolve impressed Rickey and his trailblazing new recruit quickly became a sensation in the Major Leagues, winning Rookie of the Year and MVP honors over the course of his career as well as a World Series title in 1955.
Here, Brooklyn Dodger’s Jackie Robinson steps up to bat during a game on Aug. 28, 1949.
  • This Week in History: On April 1, 1984, Marvin Gaye was killed by his father, Marvin Gay Sr. Gaye first began singing at the age of four in his church. His father, a minister, often accompanied him on the piano. On April 1st Gaye intervened, on behalf of his mother, in a heated argument between she and his father in their Los Angeles home. Gay Sr. then left the room only to return wielding the gun that Gaye had gifted to him the previous Christmas. The singer was sitting on a bed beside his mother when his father shot him first in the heart, and then again in the shoulder at point-blank range. His father later pleaded no contest to a charge of voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to a period of probation. Pictured above, Marvin Gaye performs at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England, in September 1976.
  • This Week in History: On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground off the coast of Alaska, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into the Prince William Sound. The disaster, second only to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, killed thousands of marine, land and air animals, and led to a massive disruption of the Prince William Sound’s fragile ecosystem. To this day oil remains in the coast’€™s soil. Seen here in 1989, workers hold up dead wildlife while aiding in the clean-up effort along the Alaskan shore.
  • This Week in History: Fifty years ago, on March 18, 1965, Soviet astronaut Alexey Leonov became the first person in history to leave his spacecraft and conduct a “spacewalk.” Leonov was part of a two-man mission, along with Pavel Belyayev, called the Voskhod 2 that was completed in just over a day. Leonov, whose spacewalk lasted 12 minutes, was wearing a specialized suit with a backpack that provided 45 minutes worth of oxygen. In the January 2, 1965 photo above, Belyayev and Leonov undergo physical training for the mission.
  • This Week in History: Rapper Notorious B.I.G, who was 24, was killed on March 9, 1997. Biggie was riding in a car when another vehicle pulled up beside his and opened fire. His murder has never been solved. Biggie’s death came only weeks before his new album, ironically titled Life After Death, was scheduled to be released. It rose to No. 1 on the U.S. charts and was certified Diamond in 2000, one of the few hip hop albums to receive this certification. Born in Brooklyn as Christopher Wallace, Biggie was killed just months after his former friend and West Coast rap rival Tupac Shakur was gunned down in a similar crime. This lead to the rise of many theories that the shootings were tied to the rap war between East and West Coast artists and their record companies.
Notorious B.I.G. pictured, March 1, 1997
  • This Week in History: On March 3, 1991, Rodney King was beaten by Los Angeles police officers following a high speed chase in a grisly scene which was captured on amateur video and broadcast around the world. The incident, which highlighted racial tensions and aggressive policing across the country, resulted in four LAPD officers being charged with use of excessive force. The resulting acquittal of the four officers set off days of rioting in Los Angeles which left over 50 dead. Pictured here, King shows his injuries on March 6, 1991, in a picture supplied by his attorney, that was viewed during the officersÕ trial. Rodney King died in 2012 at the age of 49.
  • This Week in History: On Feb. 23, 1979, Frank E. Peterson, Jr., the Marine Corps first black aviator, was named the first African-American general in the United States Marine Corps. Peterson was nominated by President Carter to be promoted from colonel to brigadier general. 
  • This Week in History: On Feb. 11, 1990, South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela was freed from prison following 27 years behind bars. After leaving Victor Verster Prison, Mandela returned to political activism, and worked to bring an end to South Africa’s racist apartheid system. Following apartheid’s end 4 years later, Mandela was elected President in South Africa’s first multiracial election, a role he served in for five years. Seen here in 1994, Mandela visits his former jail cell on Robben Island, where he was held for 18 years of his captivity.
  • This Week in History: On February 16, 1959, Fidel Castro is sworn in as prime minister of Cuba after leading the resistance against the rule of President Fulgeneio Batista. In nearly 50 years of power, Castro transformed Cuba into the first communist state in the Western Hemisphere, became the target of one of the longest-standing embargoes in history, and metamorphosed into the prevailing symbol of communist revolution across Latin America.
Here, Comandante Fidel Castro, the new leader of Cuba, talks to reporters about his successful Cuban revolution to ouster former President Batista at a press conference in his suite at the Hotel New Yorker on April 22, 1959 in New York, N.Y. (Photo by I.C. Rapoport/Getty)
  • This Week in History: On Feb. 5, 1968, the Vietnam War saw the beginning of the Battle of Khe Sanh, the location of a U.S. Marine garrison. By the end of January, members of the People’s Army of North Vietnam (PAVN) had carried out an operation of artillery bombardment on the Marine garrison, which was located in northwest South Vietnam. Once the battle began, it lasted for over two months and came to be considered one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War. Pictured here on March 8, 1968, near the end of the battle, Dr. Joseph W. Wolfe tends to a wounded soldier at a make shift hospital near the garrison.
  • This Week in History: Holocaust survivors and world leaders gathered on Tuesday at the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland to commemorate its liberation by the Red Army 70 years ago on Jan. 26 1945. Some 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed at Auschwitz, the site of one of the worlds worst atrocities, between 1940 and 1945.
Here, a prisoner identity photo taken by Wilhelm Brasse, a professional Polish photographer and a prisoner in Auschwitz. He was ordered to document the Nazi prisoners in the camp’s “Erkennungsdienst” photographic identification unit. Brasse was ordered to burn all of the pictures but in an act of heroism, he saved tens of thousands as evidence of the horrors of Auschwitz.
  • This Week in History: On Jan. 20, 1981, moments after President Ronald Reagan was sworn in, 52 American diplomats and civilians were freed from 444 days in captivity in the U.S. embassy in Tehran, ending the tense Iran Hostage Crisis. The events, which unfolded after the overthrow of the U.S. backed Shah, strengthened the power of revolutionaries loyal to Ayatollah Khomeini, while badly weakening President Jimmy Carter, who lost his reelection during the crisis. Pictured here, freed hostages arrive at a U.S. Air Force base in Germany on Jan. 21, 1981, one day after their release.
  • This Week in History: On January 16, 1919, the 18th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibited the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes,” took effect. The legislation’s ratification paved the way for the Volstead Act, or the National Prohibition Act, which was passed by Congress nine months later and allowed for the enforcement of the law despite President Woodrow Wilson’s veto. The Volstead Act also saw the creation of a special unit in the Treasury Department to oversee enforcement. The Prohibition ended in 1933 with the ratification of the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Seen here, a barrel of illegal beer is poured into a sewer. 
  • This Week in History: On Jan. 5, 1920 the New York Yankees major league baseball team announced its purchase of outfield slugger George Herman “Babe” Ruth (pictured here in 1921) from the Boston Red Sox. Despite the fact that Ruth led the Red Sox to three World Series victories, set new league pitching records, and broke existing home run records Red Sox owner Harry Frazee made the decision to sell Ruth to the Yankees in a deal that later became known as the “Curse of the Bambino.” 
  • This Week in History: New Year’s eve in Manhattan’s Times Square (pictured here in 1938) is one of the most famous places to ring in the new year and watch the iconic ball drop at midnight.  While there had been many different celebrations in years prior, it wasn’t until New Year’s eve 1907 that an illuminated ball was used, commissioned by the owners of the New York Times, the square’s namesake.
  • This Week in History: On Dec. 24, 1968, the Apollo 8 mission completed the first-ever manned lunar orbit. Astronauts Jim Lovell, Frank Borman and William Anders broadcast their mission live on Christmas Eve, showcasing the famous “Earthrise” for the first time, while reading the first ten verses of Genesis. Williams Anders captured the phenomenon on color film, and the subsequent pictures have been recognized as among the most iconic images in history.
  • This Week in History: Near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first first successfully powered, controlled and sustained flight in history. Pictured here, Orville Wright is at the controls of the Flyer as his brother Wilbur Wright looks on during the plane’s first flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C., Dec. 17, 1903. Orville lies prone on the lower wing with hips in the cradle which operated the wing-warping mechanism. Wilbur who was running alongside to balance the machine, has just released his hold on the forward upright of the right wing. Made of wood, wire and cloth the plane remained aloft 12 seconds and traveled a distance of 120 feet.
  • This Week in History: A Love Supreme by John Coltrane was recorded with his quartet 50 years ago in one session on Dec. 9, 1964. The album was released the following year in February 1965 by Impulse! Records. A Love Supreme’s four phases: “Acknowledgement,” “Resolution,” “Pursuance” and “Psalms” are tied to Coltrane’s spirituality and faith in God. Many regarded the album as one of the most recognizable, most successful jazz albums in history and among Coltrane’s greatest works. Here, jazz saxophonist John Coltrane performs onstage in 1961 in New York City, N.Y.
  • This Week in History: Victims of the Bhopal tragedy wait to be treated on Dec. 4, 1984 at Bhopal’s hospital. The Bhopal disaster occurred when a storage tank at a pesticide plant run by Union Carbide exploded and poured cyanide gas into the air. Thirty years later there is still uncertainty surrounding the death toll. Amnesty International estimates that 22,000 people died following the leak and more than 570,000 were exposed to damaging levels of toxic gas, nevertheless the incident is regarded as the world’s worst industrial disaster.
  • The White House Turkey Presentation is an annual tradition that some claim dates back to the presidency of Harry Truman (pictured here in 1952) while some others attributing its beginning to Abraham Lincoln.  But routinely, since 1947, the president has been presented with a turkey, typically from the Poultry and Egg National Board or the National Turkey Federation.  Since 1989, and occasionally before then, the President has granted a “pardon” to a single turkey, saving them from being eaten on Thanksgiving.  
  • This Week in History:  On Nov. 19, 1969, soccer great Pelé, scored his 1,000th goal at Maracanã stadium in Rio Di Janeiro, a rare milestone in soccer.  Considered one of the greatest soccer players of all time, Pelé scored “the Milésimo” from a penalty kick against soccer club Vasco De Gama, while he was playing for Santos.  In his career, which spanned two decades, Pelé scored more than 1,200 times, earning him the Guinness World Record for Most Career Goals.
  • This Week in History: The United States Marine Corps was formed on Nov. 10, 1775, when a resolution calling for the creation of two battalions was passed by the Continental Congress during the American Revolution thereby establishing the Continental Marines. Pictured here, U.S. Marines kneel behind a smoke screen at an helicopter landing zone in Marja, in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, in March 2010.
  • This Week in History: Never mind the bollocks … here’s the Sex Pistols. The pioneering punk band, pictured here in 1977, had its first show on Nov. 6, 1975 at the Saint Martin’s School of Art in London. In a short career that only produced a single studio album, the Sex Pistols pushed the limits of obscenity and were strident with their political message. Their single “God Save the Queen” which channeled deep anti-monarchist frustrations in the UK, was banned by the BBC, and known as the “most heavily censored record in British history.”  The Sex Pistols broke up in 1978, and bassist Sid Vicious died in New York in 1979. In recent years the surviving members have reunited several times.  
  • This Week In History: Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev ordered the withdrawal of missiles from Cuba, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis on Oct. 28, 1962. Pictured here, a group of customers in a store in California gather in the electronics department to watch President Kennedy as he delivers a televised address to the nation on the subject of the Cuban Missile Crisis on Oct. 22, 1962.
  • This Week In History: Pablo Picasso, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, is born in Malaga, Spain on October 25, 1881. Here, Picasso is photographed watching a bullfight in Nîmes, Languedoc-Roussillon in the south of France in 1957 by legendary Magnum photographer René Burri who passed away on October 20, 2014.
  • This Week In History: On October 16, 1934 China’s Red Army began its “Long March.” The march was itself a retreat, occurring after Communist forces were pushed out of their stronghold in the southeast Jianxi region by Chiang Kai-Shek’s Kuomintang army. After a year-long journey, spanning more than 3,000 miles, the Red Army joined other Communists in the northwest region of Shaanxi. The march allowed Mao Zedong, pictured here in 1934, to consolidate his leadership in the Communist Party of China, which eventually rose to power in Mainland China in 1949 and continues to this day.
  • This Week in History: The German Democratic Republic, more commonly known as East Germany, formally became a state on Oct. 7, 1949. Comprised of territory occupied by Soviet forces following Germany’s defeat in World War II (excluding parts of Berlin) the GDR was ostensibly a Soviet satellite state. Its economy lagged compared to West Germany (which received aid from the US, UK and France) and the mass emigration of citizens resulted in the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, which stood until 1989. Germany was reunified shortly after the Wall’s demolition. Pictured here, East German soldiers in 1959.
  • This Week in History: On Oct. 2, 1869, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born. Gandhi led the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India, and used nonviolent civil disobedience to lead India to independence, while inspiring movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The honorific “Mahatma” (Sanskrit for “high-souled” and “venerable”) was applied to him first in 1914 in South Africa, and is now used worldwide. Pictured here, Gandhi at his spinning wheel aboard a ship enroute to London, in 1935. 
  • This Week In History:  On Sept. 24, 1906, Devil’s Tower, pictured here in 1956, was designated by President Theodore Roosevelt as the nation’s first National Monument.  Jutting more than 1,200 feet from the Black Hills region in Wyoming, the rock formation has held deep importance to Native American tribes in the region for centuries and may also be remembered as a backdrop for the 1977 film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”
  • This Week in History: On Sept. 20, 2011, the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy was repealed. From 1993 until 2011, the policy prohibited military personnel from from disclosing his or her sexual orientation, while barring openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons from military service. Prior to 1993, the United States Military excluded all gay and lesbian persons from military service. Pictured here, photographs of Melvin Dwork, taken in 1943 when he was in the navy, are seen at his home in New York. In 2011, Nearly 70 years after Dwork was expelled from the Navy for being gay, the military changed his discharge from “undesirable” to “honorable,” marking what was believed to be the first time the Pentagon had taken such a step on behalf of a World War II veteran since the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
  • The Week In History: On Sept. 11, 2001, members of the terrorist group al-Qaida carried out the most devastating attack on American soil. Hijacked airliners crashed into locations in New York City, Arlington, Va. and Shanksville, Pa. resulting in nearly 3,000 deaths. Pictured here, firefighters rest during rescue efforts at “Ground Zero”, or the wreckage of the Twin Towers in New York City. More than 300 New York City firefighters and other first responders lost their lives responding to the attacks.
  • This Week in History: “Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go far.” 113 years ago these words were spoken by Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, at the time serving as Vice President, during a famous speech on foreign policy at the Minnesota State Fair on Sept. 2, 1901. Four days later, President William McKinley was shot and mortally wounded by an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz. This event would push Roosevelt into the presidency, a seat he would hold until 1909. Pictured here, Teddy Roosevelt looks out from a balcony, circa 1911.
  • This Week in History: Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana on Aug. 29, 2005.  The Category 3 storm, the worst natural disaster in US history, caused massive destruction across the Gulf Coast, in particular New Orleans, which largely sits below sea level and relies on levees to keep water levels at bay.  Hurricane Katrina claimed more than 1,800 lives, most of them from within New Orleans.  Pictured here, two men inspect a flooded home following the storm in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward.
  • This Week in History: On August 18, 1963, James H. Meredith became the first African-American to graduate from the University of Mississippi. Pictured here, Meredith, center, is escorted by federal marshals as he arrives for registration at the all-white University of Mississippi, in Oxford, Miss., on September 30, 1962.
  • This Week in History:  The legendary Woodstock Music and Arts Fair kicked off 45 years ago on August 15, 1969 in Bethel, New York.  A quintessential moment of the 1960s counterculture, the “3 Days of Peace & Music”, featured acts like Jimi Hendrix, The Band, and Joan Baez performing for roughly 400,000 fans on a dairy farm in upstate New York.  In this photo, concert-goers climb scaffolding for a view of the performances.
  • This Week in History: On August 9th, 1974, Former President Richard Nixon resigned from office following a series of revelations about his administration’s involvement in the Watergate scandal. Pictured here, a contact sheet showing the resignation declaration made by President Nixon as televised from the White House forty years ago. 
  • This Week in History: On August 1, 1944, Anne Frank wrote her last diary entry. On August 4th, 1944, following a tip from an anonymous informer, the German uniformed police stormed the annex where Anne Frank and her family had been hiding for two years. The family was arrested and sent to concentration camps, where Anne, her sister Margot, and their mother died. Their father, Otto, was the only family member to survive the war, and later published her diary. Pictured here, family photo of Anne and Margot Frank at the beach, c. 1935, the family went into hiding in 1942. 
  • This Week in History: On July 25th, 1953, New York City Transit Authority first issued the subway token. The fare for a ride on the subway from it’s inauguration in 1904 until 1948 was a nickel, in 1948 the fare increased to a dime, and has since been steadily rising. When the NYC Transit Authority was created in 1953, the fare was raised to 15 cents; from then until April 2004, riders paid the fair with tokens purchased from a station attendant. The last tokens were phased out in 2003 when the fare rose to $2. A single ride on the subway today costs $2.50. Pictured here, women ride the subway in New York in 1980.
  • This Week in History:  On July 16, 1969 the Apollo 11 crew blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, beginning their historic journey to the Moon.  Crowds gathered near the Florida coast to catch the momentous event in person, many camping overnight to watch liftoff, shortly after 9:30 the morning of the 16th.  4 days later, Americans and people around the world would gather around their television sets to watch astronaut Neil Armstrong, followed by Buzz Aldrin, set foot on the lunar surface. 
  • This Week in History: On July 13, 1977, a series of lightning strikes at a local New York City power plant caused a massive city-wide blackout that lasted for two days. The blackout occurred  during a nationwide economic downturn, and the city was facing a severe financial crisis. Looting and vandalism were widespread; in all, 1,616 stores were damaged in looting and rioting. A total of 1,037 fires were responded to, and 3,776 people were arrested in the largest mass arrest in New York City history. LaGuardia and Kennedy airports were closed down, automobile tunnels were closed because of lack of ventilation, and 4,000 people had to be evacuated from the subway system. A congressional study estimated that the cost of damages amounted to a little over $300 million. Pictured here, pedestrians walk across 34th St. in New York City during the outage. 
  • This Week in History: The Civil Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964. The landmark law, which banned discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender or national origin, was the result of years of organizing and action from countless leaders, politicians and volunteers.  Pictured here are civil rights activists in March of 1964, staging a hunger strike in the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, to implore the state’s legislators to act on the bill.
  • This Week in History: One year ago today, the United States Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a law that allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages. Pictured here, the plaintiff Edith Windsor and her spouse, Thea Spyer, sit together in a café in Holland during the 1970s. Edith and Thea were together for forty years, and married in Ontario in 2007. Spyer died in 2009 after a long battle with MS. After the IRS denied Windsor’s claim as Spyer’s legal spouse, and compelled her to pay over $350,000 in estate taxes, she began pursuing legal action. After a long battle, on June 26, 2013, DOMA was struck down in a landmark decision that continues to be celebrated as a major victory for gay couples. 
  • This Week In History: This week marks the 50th anniversary of the voter registration drive known as the Mississippi Summer Project, or Freedom Summer, in 1964. Hundreds of college students and volunteers, a majority of them white, worked side-by-side with local black activists to register disenfranchised voters, establish community organizing centers and teach political participation for the many who had been left isolated in the Jim Crow South. The campaign, a touchstone of the Civil Rights Movement, was not without opposition; in addition to the several who were tragically murdered, activists were targets of violence, intimidation and arrest. Later this month, leaders and activists will recognize the passing of this anniversary at a conference in Jackson, Mississippi. In this photo, demonstrators rally for voter registration in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in 1964.
  • Today in History: On June 12, 1931 Chicago gangster Al Capone was indicted for income tax evasion and various violations of the Volstead Act (prohibition). Here, he leaves a courtroom in Chicago in the custody of U.S. marshals where he was facing charges on Oct. 24, 1931.
  • This Week in History: A landing craft approaches Omaha Beach on D-Day, the beginning of the Allied invasion of German occupied Normandy, France on June 6, 1944. The invasion, captured here in a hand-colored photo by U.S. Coast Guard photographer Robert F. Sargent, was one of the largest military operations in history and a defining point in World War II.
  • This Week in History: On May 29th, 1953, Sherpa Tenzing Norgay (R) and mountaineer and beekeeper Edmund P. Hillary of New Zealand (L) became the first pair of climbers to reach the 29,035-foot summit of Mount Everest. Here, they show the kit they wore when conquering the world’s highest peak. Norgay remains one of the most famous mountain climbers in history, and went on to receive the George Medal from Queen Elizabeth II for his efforts on the expedition. 
  • This Week in History: Well-wishers surround American aviator Amelia Earhart in Derry, Northern Ireland on May 21, 1932 after she completed the flight that made her the first woman to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic.
  • This Week in History: May 17 marks the 60th anniversary of the landmark Civil Rights lawsuit ‘Brown v. Board of Education,’ that led to the beginning of integration in the US education system. Here, Nathaniel Steward, 17, recites his lesson at the Saint-Dominique school in Washington, where for the first time the Brown v. Board of Education decision, which outlaws segregation in state schools, is applied, May 21, 1954.
  • This Week in History: On May 5, 1961, NASA astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space after piloting the Freedom 7 spacecraft for a 15 minute sub-orbital flight which concluded with a splash landing in the Atlantic Ocean. Shepard would return to space ten years later, at age 47, to pilot the Apollo 14 lunar mission, earning his distinction as the oldest person to walk on the Moon’s surface.
  • This Week in History: On April 26, 1986, the world's worst nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl plant in the Soviet Union. An explosion and fire in the No. 4 reactor released large quantities of radioactive particles into the atmosphere, spreading into much of the western USSR and Europe. The effort to contain the contamination and avoid greater catastrophe ultimately involved over 500,000 workers. During the accident itself at least 31 people were killed immediately, and long-term effects such as cancers and birth defects are still being accounted for.
Pictured here, two young men lie down on a grassy field in Prypiat, Ukraine in the early 1980's. This photo was among a collection of negatives found in an empty apartment within the abandoned city of Prypiat, during the winter of 2006, twenty years after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident. Despite their fragility, they have withstood the elements, which now includes radioactive dust clouds.
  • This Week in History: Cars of the Swiss Sky Ride move high over the New York World's Fair on Thursday, April 24, 1964.  The 1964 World's Fair opened 50 years ago this week and lasted until October 1965.  The fair offered an optimistic look at American life and technology, including visions of space exploration and automobiles of the future.  Over 51 million people visited the fairgrounds in Flushing Meadows, Queens to see the various exhibitions and the fair's centerpiece: the large stainless steel "Unisphere"
  • This Week in History: Fidel Castro on the beach at Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs), the site of the unsuccessful invasion by US-backed forces on April 17, 1961. Approximately 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the disastrous invasion of Cuba in a failed attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro. The invading force was defeated within three days by the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces. The failure strengthened the position of Castro's administration, who then openly proclaimed their plans to adopt socialism and strengthen ties with the Soviet Union, events which led to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
  • This Week in History: The Titanic departs Southampton, England on its maiden Atlantic voyage to New York City on April 10, 1912. The doomed ocean liner sank on April 15, 1912, just five days into maiden voyage, with more than a thousand people losing their lives.
  • This Week in History: U.S. President Ronald Reagan is shoved into the President's limousine by secret service agents after being shot and seriously injured by John Hinckley Jr. outside a Washington hotel on Monday, March 30, 1981. Hinckley shot Reagan in an attempt to impress actress Jodie Foster, with whom he was obsessed. A jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity. Also wounded were White House news secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent and a District of Columbia police officer. James Brady, permanently disabled from his injuries, has since become an ardent supporter of gun control.
  • This Week in History: Martin Luther King Jr. led a march of 25,000 people to the state capitol in Montgomery, Alabama, to protest the denial of voting rights to racial minorities, March 25, 1965. The Voting Rights Act was signed into law later that year by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
  • This Week in History: Smoke rises from the Trade Ministry in Baghdad on March 20, 2003 after it was hit by a missile during the US-led forces attack, marking the start of the invasion of Iraq. In the beginning, it all looked simple: topple Saddam Hussein, destroy his purported weapons of mass destruction and lay the foundation for a pro-Western government in the heart of the Arab world. In the end though nearly 4,500 Americans and an estimated 121,000 Iraqi civilian were killed during the US-led war on Iraq.



Take a look back at moments in history with MSNBC’s “Throwback Thursday.” From politics to pop culture, and everything in between, we’ll share images that tell the story of our times. Every Thursday we’ll add something new, so join us each week as we reflect on some of the key events that have shaped our world. It’s the ultimate photo journey #TBT, MSNBC style.

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