Little Bits of History

Under the Lights

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 21, 2015
1902 Athletics football team*

1902 Philadelphia Athletics football team*

November 21, 1902: The Kanaweola Athletic Club loses to the Philadelphia Athletics 39-0. Kanaweola Athletic Club began as a bicycling club and was based in Elmira, New York. They boasted an indoor bicycling track located within the Steele Memorial Library building. They were also able to pull together a football team. On this date, a game began at 8 PM at the Maple Avenue Driving Park in Elmira. The locale is today known as Dunn Field. They met their superior opponents and failed miserably. The next day, the local newspaper simply printed the score. What was not touted then, and wasn’t realized for quite some time, was the significance of the game rather than just the score. It was the first pro football game to be played at night.

The Philadelphia Athletics were a member of the National Football League which is totally different from the NFL today. The earlier league was a mixture of both professional baseball and football and was only in existence for a year. The football team was formed as part of the baseball wars between the National League and the American League which began the year before. Teams from one side or the other attempted to lure players away from opposing teams. The Philadelphia Phillies owner decided to start a football team and so the Philadelphia Athletics owner decided to go along. Both teams used many of their baseball players on their football teams. In order to be a World Champion football team, they would need to play a team from Pittsburgh where football was king.

The Philadelphia Athletics had a great left-handed pitcher – when he was in the mood. But he had mood swings. The papers of the day noted his erratic behavior. The coaches felt that including Rube Waddell in their football lineup would give them a few more months of trying to control his performance and he was signed as an extra lineman. They failed miserably at trying to control their star baseball player who had no interest in football. The team lost their first championship game and out of defeat scheduled a second. They won that and then called the first a Stars Game to explain how their loss could turn into a win. The team had a second season in 1903 before collapsing.

A night game played outdoors after sunset. While technically true to call any sporting event after sunset a night game, it is realized that sports played indoors are always played with artificial lighting. The significance of a night game is that it is played “under the lights”. The lights can be floodlights or low-light conditions, depending on the sport. Baseball was first played under the lights back in the 1880s but it was thought of as a gimmick and not appreciated. Their first big game under the lights came in 1935 when the Philadelphia Phillies played the Cincinnati Reds on May 24. Cricket was late to the night game party with the first lighted game in 1952. The idea finally really took off in 1977 and international interest in the sport increased dramatically. Motorsports come with their own lights since endurance races can continue after sunset. But it is also possible to light the track for races. This innovation was brought to the public in 1992 when Charlotte Motor Speedway lit their 1 mile track.

 All sports are time control demonstrations. – Buckminster Fuller

In the field of sports you are more-or-less accepted for what you do rather than what you are. – Althea Gibson

As best as I can tell, God was undefeated in all sports last year. Anybody who won thanked Him, and I never heard a single loser blame Him. – Lewis Grizzard

Unlike any other business in the United States, sports must preserve an illusion of perfect innocence. – Lewis H. Lapham

Also on this day: Missing Link – In 1953, the Piltdown Man was declared a hoax.
North, to Alaska – In 1942, the Alaskan Highway’s completion was celebrated.
Senator Rebecca – In 1922, the first female US Senator took her seat.
Revolting – In 1910, the Revolt of the Lash took place.
Terrorism – In 1974, two Birmingham, England pubs were bombed.

* “1902 Athletics Football” by Unknown – Licensed under PD-US via Wikipedia –


Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 21, 2014
Mulberry Pub after the bombing

Mulberry Pub after the bombing

November 21, 1974: Two Birmingham, England pubs are bombed. Both bars were located in central Birmingham with the Mulberry Bush near the Rotunda and the Tavern in the Town on New Street. The explosions went off at 8.25 and 8.27 PM. Ten people were killed at the Mulberry Bush and eleven at the Tavern in the Town. Another 182 people were injured in the blasts. A third bomb was placed outside a bank on Hagley Road but did not detonate. It was the most serious incident in Great Britain since World War II and had the most people injured since the war.

The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) was immediately blamed. They denied responsibility for the bombings. A small militant group called Red Flag 74 took credit for the violence but their claim was not given credence. Five Belfast born Roman Catholics and a sixth man born in Derry were arrested. Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Joseph Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power, and John Walker were brought in. All but Callaghan had been traveling toward Belfast to attend the funeral of James McDade, an IRA member. They left from the New Street Station shortly before the explosions went off. Callaghan had seen them off. They were detained at Heysham where Special Branch had set up a stop and search team.

On the morning of November 22, the Birmingham Criminal Investigation Department took the men from Morecambe where forensic tests had been run. The men were deprived of food and sleep and were beaten. Four of them confessed to the bombings under duress while Hill and Hunter never signed documents. Their trial began on June 9, 1975 and they were charged with murder and conspiracy to cause explosions. Three others were charged with conspiracy. Forensics were inconclusive. Legal arguments were presented to Mr Justice Bridge about the unreliability of the confessions, but they were deemed admissible. The six men were found guilty and sentences to 21 life sentences.

After a number or appeals, the Court of Appeal overturned the convictions as unsafe and unsatisfactory on March 14, 1991. The six men were later awarded compensation ranging from £840,000 to £1.2 million. The IRA has maintained they were not involved. Thirty years after the events, Joe Cahill, a former IRA chief, said the IRA played some role and Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Fein, said he had regrets about the killings. Patrick Hill, in April 2012, said the Six knew the names of the real bombers and claimed it was common knowledge among the upper ranks of the IRA and the British government.

This atrocity was one of the terrible horrors of the troubles stemming from Northern Ireland and those who caused It merit the most severe condemnation.

We believe that the six Irishmen condemned to life Imprisonment for the bombings are innocent. Their lives and the lives of their families can be added to the long list of Innocent victims of those diabolic explosions.

Power alleges that he was interviewed by Birmingham police between 7.a.m. and 9.a.m. Friday morning. He describes the beating, punching, kicking, vocal abuse he received.

The trial then. really rested on the admissibility of the police evidence, verbal statements and the “confessions.” – all from The Birmingham Framework by Fr. Denis Faul and Fr. Raymond Murray

Also on this day: Missing Link – In 1953, the Piltdown Man was declared a hoax.
North, to Alaska – In 1942, the Alaskan Highway’s completion was celebrated.
Senator Rebecca – In 1922, the first female US Senator took her seat.
Revolting – In 1910, the Revolt of the Lash took place.

North, to Alaska

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 21, 2013
21 Alaska Highway's construction

Alaska Highway’s construction

November 21, 1942: The Alaska Highway’s completion is celebrated at Soldier’s Summit. On February 6, 1942, the threat of invasion of the US was a real and present danger so construction of a highway connecting Alaska to the US mainland was finally approved. Proposals for a highway connecting the territory to the Lower 48 were first proposed in the 1920s. Since most of the roadway was through Canada, their approval was paramount. However, the only Canadians likely to benefit were a few thousand residents of the sparsely populated Yukon Territory. Canada did not immediately give approval.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, priorities for both the US and Canada changed. Actual construction on the highway began on March 8, 1942. The 95th Engineer Regiment, comprised of 10,607 men built the 1,522 mile road in only 8 months. The road was completed on October 28 and the celebration on this date was broadcast via radio – although the temperature was bleeped out due to security issues. The road was rugged and impassible for most civilian cars until 1943. Even then, steep grades and uneven surfaces especially on tight switchbacks made the drive treacherous. Pontoon bridges were replaced with log bridges and eventually steel bridges were built.

The 95th Engineer Regiment was understaffed, like many during this harried time. General Simon Bolivar Buckner, son of a Confederate general, was faced with this shortage and the unique way it was filled. He needed troops and so was sent 3,695 men to swell the ranks to build the road. Black men. The general’s dislike of these troops was legendary. They were ill-clothed and lived in tents while the temperatures were -40º F and a record low of -79º F was established. These men, mostly from the South, did a remarkable job and many were decorated for their efforts. As a result of the work by these men, integrated troops became the standard.

The Alaska Highway is also called the Alaskan-Canadian Highway or ALCAN Highway. It runs from Dawson Creek, British Columbia through Whitehorse, Yukon and stops at Delta Junction, Alaska. The historic end of the highway is around milepost 1,422 where it meets Richardson Highway. Mileposts on Richardson are numbered from Valdez, Alaska. ALCAN is not officially part of the Pan-American Highway, but the road is commonly considered part of the vast network reaching all the way to Argentina.

“Strike while the iron is hot.” – James Howell

“That policy that can strike only while the iron is hot will be overcome by that perseverance, which like Cromwell’s, can make the iron hot by striking: and he that can only rule the storm must yield to him who can both raise and rule it.” – C.C. Colton

“We cannot afford to miss an advantage. Never was any man too strong for his proper work.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“When war begins, then hell openeth.” – George Herbert

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: Although built by the US, the agreement between the US and Canada stated that the Canadian portion of the road would be turned over to Canada six months after the end of the war. This took place on April 1, 1946 when the US Army gave control over to the Canadian Army, Northwest Highway System. The Alaskan portion of the road was completely paved in the 1960s. As late as 1981, most of the Canadian portion was still gravel. Today, the entire roadway is paved. British Columbia’s government owns the first 82.6 miles of the road and this portion was the only part paved during the late 1960s and early 1970s. From mile marker 82.6 to Historic Mile 630 is owned and operated by Public Works Canada. From Historic Mile 630 to Historic Mile 1016 is owned by the Yukon government and they also oversee the road up to the US border at Historic Mile 1221. At this point, jurisdiction moves back to the US and from there to Mile 1422 it is owned by the State of Alaska.

Also on this day: Missing Link – In 1953, the Piltdown Man was declared a hoax.
Senator Rebecca – In 1922, the first female US Senator took her seat.
Revolting – In 1910, the Revolt of the Lash took place.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 21, 2012

Revolt of the Lash

November 21, 1910: The Revolt of the Lash takes place. The Brazilian Navy had recentrly acquired a new battleship, Minas Geraes. The ship arrived four years after it was commissioned. It was expensive, costing a reported $8,863,842 and built in England. Soon after the ship arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the country was hit by an economic depression. Secondary to the economy, racism was prevalent within all the armed forces. However, the Brazilian naval discipline was even more egregious. The sailors revolted against the constant use of the lash.

Many of the black sailors aboard the Minas Geraes were freed slaves. They were forced to enter the Navy and there faced horrific discrimination. As part of their “freedom,” they were forced to serve in the Navy for 15 years. Since they could not escape, officers often directed “racial abuse and physical violence” against the not-quite-free men. Even minor offenses could be punished using “leather whips tipped with metal balls”. As even more indignities were heaped upon them, an experienced sailor, Joäo Cândido Felisberto became their leader. He was affectionately known as the “Black Admiral”.

The practice of lashing the sailors was banned by law, but regardless of the fact, in mid-November a sailor was whipped 250 times in front of his peers. The punishment continued even after the man fainted. This stirred the men to even more fury and on the night of November 21-22, they rebelled. During the mutiny which burst forth earlier than planned, several officers (including the captain) were killed. Other officers were forced off the ship. British engineers still aboard were held as hostages.

The revolt soon spread to other Brazilian ships, however torpedo boat crews remained loyal to the government. Armies along the coast were also loyal, but even combined, they could not take back the ships. The rebels were asking for a cessation of flogging, improved living conditions, and amnesty for all mutineers. The rebellion ended on November 26 but the men were not granted the amnesty promised. On November 28, the Navy was given permission to expel malcontents. Many of the men were jailed and tortured and Felisberto was held at the Hospital for the Insane. The men were finally granted pardon on July 24, 2008. Today, a statue of Felisberto overlooks the Ilha Das Cobras in Rio.

I’m interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos, especially activity that appears to have no meaning. It seems to me to be the road toward freedom. – Jim Morrison

Inferiors revolt in order that they may be equal, and equals that they may be superior. Such is the state of mind which creates revolutions. – Aristotle

To revolt is a natural tendency of life. Even a worm turns against the foot that crushes it. In general, the vitality and relative dignity of an animal can be measured by the intensity of its instinct to revolt. – Mikhail Bakunin

Why do people in ship mutinies always ask for “better treatment”? I’d ask for a pinball machine, because with all that rocking back and forth you’d probably be able to get a lot of free games. – Jack Handy

Also on this day:

Missing Link – In 1953, the Piltdown Man was declared a hoax.
North, to Alaska – In 1942, the Alaskan Highway’s completion was celebrated.
Senator Rebecca – In 1922, the first female US Senator took her seat.

Senator Rebecca

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 21, 2011

Rebecca Latimer Felton

November 21, 1922: Rebecca Latimer Felton becomes the first female United States Senator. The Honorable Senator Thomas E. Watson from Georgia died and his seat was vacant. The governor of Georgia wished to run for the vacated seat. Thomas W. Hardwick had voted against the 19th Amendment (women’s suffrage) and needed to placate the newly minted women voters. He nominated Rebecca Felton to take the vacated seat, knowing that there would be no sessions before the elections. Instead, Walter F. George won the elections and graciously permitted Ms Felton to take the oath of office for one day before assuming his seat.

Rebecca Latimer was a writer, teacher, and activist. She was a graduate of Madison Female College in 1852. She was a reformer concerned with agriculture, women’s suffrage, temperance, and segregation. She married William Harrell Felton, a Methodist minister and politician. She served as his secretary when he served in the US House of Representatives from 1875-1881 and the Georgia House of Representatives from 1886-1892. She was 87-years-old when she served in the Senate for a day, the oldest freshman Senator. She was the first woman and the only woman from Georgia.

In 2011, there are 17 women serving in the Senate with a total of 38 women having seats since Ms Felton first took office. The next woman to grace the Senate was Hattie Wyatt Caraway who was a Senator from 1931-1945. Twenty-five of the women in the Senate have been elected rather than appointed. The longest term for a woman was Margaret Chase Smith’s 24 years from 1949-1973. There have been 13 Republican and 25 Democrat female Senators.

The Senate is one of two chambers of the bicameral US Congress. There are two members from each state serving six-year terms. The elections are staggered so that one-third of the body is elected every two years. The Vice President of the US is the President of the Senate. He sits in only on important debates and only votes on issues to break a tie. To be a Senator, one must be at least 30 years old, have been a US citizen for at least nine years, and reside in the state from which one is running.

“When the women of the country come in and sit with you, though there may be but very few in the next few years, I pledge you that you will get ability, you will get integrity of purpose, you will get exalted patriotism, and you will get unstinted usefulness.” – Rebecca Latimer Felton in Address to the Senate

“If you are going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy. God will forgive you but the bureaucracy won’t.” – Admiral Hyman G. Rickover

“It is not who governs, but what government is entitled to do, that is the essential problem.” – Charles G. Bragg

“What we anticipate seldom occurs, what we least expected generally happens.” – Benjamin Disraeli

Also on this day:
Missing Link – In 1953, the Piltdown Man was declared a hoax.
North, to Alaska – In 1942, the Alaskan Highway’s completion was celebrated.

Missing Link

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 21, 2010

Piltdown Man rendering

November 21, 1953: A skull fragment, portion of jawbone, and a few teeth that had been discovered in 1912-15 are declared to be a hoax. Throughout the last half of the 19th century there were many discoveries of ancient bones that spoke to the history of the evolution of mankind. The Origin of Species was also published by Charles Darwin.

Many discoveries were made in continental Europe and Asia, but nothing was found in England until 1912. At that time, Charles Dawson found the above mentioned bones and brought them to the attention of the Geological Society of London in December. Arthur Smith Woodward went to the Piltdown quarries in Sussex, England along with Dawson and discovered even more bone fragments. The finds were called Piltdown Man due to the location of the site. The skull fragments were similar to man but much smaller while the jaw and teeth were indistinguishable from modern chimpanzees. Even at the time, there was some doubt as to the efficacy of the find.

Woodward and Martin A. C. Hinton, both officials in museums, found parts of bone at digs conducted with Dawson. The “missing link” between man and monkey was called Eoanthropus dawsoni for Dawson. Piltdown Man was memorialized in 1938 with a marker erected at the site. Dawson claimed to find Piltdown II at a site a couple of miles from the original, but no details remain and the site was never quite found.

Who was the perpetrator of the hoax? Why do this? It is theorized that it may have been a practical joke that spun out of control. Was Dawson working alone? Did Woodward, Hinton, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin [who also found a tooth at the first site] know what they were doing? Were the grounds salted or did these men plan the hoax? Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is named as a possible perpetrator. We don’t know who or why, but it is the perfect working of science after all. Even though at the beginning the “truth” was in error or misrepresented, due to diligent testing, study, and improved technologies, the hoax was eventually brought to light.

“It’s a hoax. Somebody got this started and it has gone all over the place.” – Gary Gibson

“Most people are genuinely wanting to see their work published in the best way possible. Very few people are trying to hoax the system, but you have to be aware of those who are.” – Vicky Taylor

“The testing confirmed it was a hoax.” – Michael Potter

“Under a forehead roughly comparable to that of Javanese and Piltdown man are visible a pair of tiny pig eyes, lit up alternately by greed and concupiscence.” – S. J. Perelman

Also on this day, in 1942 the opening of the Alaska Highway was celebrated at Soldier Station.

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