This Day in History

1868: Congress (almost) Becomes More Diverse: The Civil War is won, and African Americans are enjoying freedoms previously denied to them, such as running for office. Enter John Willis Menard, a government employee and newspaper employee, the first African American to win an election to the U.S. House of Representatives. It was a special election, as the previous holder of Louisiana’s second congressional district died five weeks into his term. Menard was elected in his place, but the loser issued a challenge that went before the House to determine who the seat would go to, and neither man was seated.

1911: Here’s Chevy: In 1911, Ford’s Model T was the car of the masses, and rightly so. It was mass produced and affordable to the American public. Not only that, it reflected American love of free choice, as consumers had their choice of color, black or black. On this day in 1911, a Swiss-born auto engineer, Louis Chevrolet, founded the company with William Durant in Detroit. It would be another two years before Chevy introduced its first vehicle, the Series C Classic Six, which was too expensive to be an adequate competitor for the Model T.

1957: Dog in Space: The Soviet Space Program is giving Americans pause. A month prior, the Soviets launched the Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to go into orbit. On November 3, they launched Sputnik 2, which carried a small canine passenger named Laika. A stray found on the streets of Moscow, Laika was the first living creature from Earth to go into space. Her flight was not long, as she died within hours from overheating, due to torn insulation in the satellite.

1986: Iran Contra Affair Leaked: Iran had been on the American consciousness as an enemy to the U.S. ever since revolutionaries took American Hostages during the tensions of the Islamic Revolution. Still, in the 80s, Communism was seen as the greater international threat. The Reagan administration backed the Contras, a right wing paramilitary group that opposed Nicaragua’s Sandinista Regime. To aid the Contras, the U.S. Government sold arms to Iran, an enemy nation. The Lebanese magazine “Ash Shiraa” leaked this information on November 3, 1986.

2014: One World Trade Center Opens: The world was devastated by the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11, 2001. People began proposing reconstruction projects immediately, with the final design being chosen in December 2002. The cornerstone was laid in 2004, and by 2012, still under construction, the One World Trade Center surpassed the Empire State Building in height. By the time it opened on this day in 2014, it was second tallest freestanding structure in the Western Hemisphere, behind Toronto’s CN tower.

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