21 years ago today, the partial skull of a 2.5 million year old human ancestor was confirmed and established as the new species Australopithecus garhi, after being discovered by paleontologists Berhane Asfaw and Tim White in Bouri, Middle Awash, Ethiopia. Crucial to the new species discovery were a few primitive shaped stone tool artifacts found with the A. garhi fossils, dating back roughly 2.5 and 2.6 million years. (1997)
MORE Good News on this Date:
- 2 journalists (Henri Desgrange and Géo Lefèvre) dreamed up the idea of the Tour de France over lunch at the Café de Madrid in Paris (1902)
- Britain’s future queen, Princess Elizabeth, married Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, in Westminster Abbey (1947)
- The Cuban Missile Crisis ended in response to the Soviet Union agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba, while President John F. Kennedy halted the U.S. quarantine of the island (1962)
- DDT was banned for residential use by President Nixon as part of a total phase-out in the U.S. (1969)
- Hopes for democracy ran high with the death of General Francisco Franco who ruled Spain with an authoritarian hand for 39 years (1975)
- Protestors assembled in Prague, Czechoslovakia grew from 200,000 to an estimated half-million in one day – the Velvet Revolution (1989)
And, Happy 71st Birthday to guitarist, singer, and record producer Joe Walsh, who was a member of the James Gang (Funk #49; Walk Away), Barnstorm (Rocky Mountain Way), and the Eagles (Life in the Fast Lane). Born in Kansas to a pianist mom, Walsh also had a successful solo career, with such hits as Life’s Been Good, and A Life of Illusion. (1947)
Also, Happy 76th Birthday to former U.S. Senator and Vice President Joe Biden. The Democrat served Delaware constituents for 36 years and is best known for riding the AmTrak train so he could rub elbows with the common people, and his willingness to say exactly what’s on his mind. (1942)
And on this day in 1925, Robert F. Kennedy was born. The U.S. Senator from New York, and Attorney General during his brother John’s years in the White House, was assassinated in 1968 at age 42 while campaigning for the Presidency.
Many of the civil rights initiatives championed by the Kennedy Administration and its successor were spearheaded by RFK, also known as “Bobby”. On the night that Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed, Robert F Kennedy delivered the news to the people of Indianapolis, IN. Local police warned him that a riot could break out there in the heart of an African-American ghetto. He wrote his notes on the ride over and started his speech without any drafts, delivering it on the back of a Flatbed truck. Although all major US cities experienced riots, Indianapolis remained calm, thanks to RFK’s speech. 63 days after that night, RFK was assassinated. His wife Ethel raised their 11 children and never remarried. She still oversees the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights.