60 years ago today, in their preparation for newly-declared U.S. statehood, Hawaiians voted to elect the first Asian-American—Hiram L. Fong (R)—to the U.S. Senate, and the first Japanese-American—Daniel K. Inouye (D)—to the House of Representatives. Inouye (pictured, left), a World War II veteran who lost his right arm to a grenade blast, also served as a Senator from Hawaii until his death in 2012, having never lost an election in 58 years. He rose to become President pro tempore—making him the highest-ranking Asian-American politician in US history. (1959)
MORE Good News on this Day:
- Peru declared its independence from Spain (1821)
- The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing due process and equal protection under the law to former slaves, was declared in effect—and the first part, “No State shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person the equal protection of the laws”—formed the basis for landmark legal decisions such as Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, and Obergefell v. Hodges. (1868)
- The city of Miami, Florida was incorporated (1896)
- The first major U.S. city banned sale and possession of handguns, San Francisco (1982)
- Australian Ian Thorpe becomes the first swimmer to win 6 gold medals at a single World Championships (2001)
- Nine coal miners were rescued after 77 hours trapped underground in the flooded Quecreek Mine in Pennsylvania (2002)
- The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) officially ended its 30-year armed campaign to win the independence of Northern Ireland and began the full decommissioning of its weapons under international supervision, saying they would pursue exclusively peaceful means to its ends (2005)
And 90 years ago today, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis was born in Southampton, New York. As First Lady and wife to President Kennedy, she brought babies to the White House for the first time in a half century. She spent a year restoring the White House with historical furnishings that were missing when she arrived and established a culture of elegance in the building, which has lasted to this day. (1929)
Other Notable Birthdays: Jim Davis, 74, the cartoonist whose inspiration for Garfield the sarcastic feline came from growing up on a small farm in Indiana with his parents, brother, and twenty-five cats (2015); Harry Kane, 26, English football superstar of 2018 World Cup (1993)
And, on this day in 1866, Beatrix Potter, the beloved children’s author and illustrator was born. From her first beautifully illustrated book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1902, she went on to create a series of stories based around animal characters including Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and Jemima Puddle-Duck. Not just a humorous storyteller and artist who, as a botanist, could render scientific illustrations, she was also an environmentalist, sheep farmer and businesswoman. With determination, she overcame professional rejection, academic humiliation, and personal heartbreak, to go on to earn a fortune.
And on this day in 1717, King Frederick William I inaugurated a compulsory school system in Prussia, the first national education system in Europe. He ordered all children ages 5-12 to attend state schools, and later financed the construction of hospitals, along with more buildings to educate the youth. His reign was a successful one in so many ways.
After ascending to the throne, the new King sold most of his fathers’ riches, and declined to use the state treasury as his personal source of wealth the way previous German Princes had. By the time his son, Frederick the Great, became king, he had assembled the most efficient and best organized state in Europe, as well as its third best military. Frederick brought nearly a quarter century of peace to a poor country, guiding it into a recovery following war and a devastating plague. He provided for the peasantry a newly improved condition and freed the serfs completely. By the end of his autocratic but thoughtful reign, the king had fashioned the Prussian government into the most honest and efficient in Europe. The observation that “the pen is mightier than the sword” has sometimes been attributed to him.