THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBER ESCAPES FROM PRISON

57 years ago today, Charlie Wilson, part of the gang who pulled off the 1963 Great Train Robbery, one of the biggest heists of its kind, escapes from Winson Green Prison in Birmingham, England, in under three minutes.

BUGSY GOT MURDERED

74 years ago today, Bugsy Siegel, is shot and killed at his mistress Virginia Hill’s home in Beverly Hills, California. Siegel had been talking to his associate Allen Smiley when three bullets were fired through the window and into his head, killing him instantly.

IRENA SENDLER: HEROINE OF THE HOLOCAUST

Irena Sendler, a Polish social worker and nurse who smuggled approximately 2,500 Jewish children out of Nazi-occupied Warsaw, passed away on this date in 2008.

THE MURDER OF MALCOLM X

56 years ago today, Malcolm X is assassinated by rival Black Muslims while addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity in Washington Heights.

HUCK FINN, RACISM, RELIGION

136 years ago today, Mark Twain publishes his famous—and famously controversial—novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (US version).

THE KILLING OF STEVE BIKO

24 years ago today, in South Africa, four apartheid-era police officers, appearing before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, admit to the 1977 killing of Bantu Stephen Biko, a leader of grassroots anti-apartheid campaign known as the Black Consciousness Movement.

THE BIRTH OF FRISBEES

64 years ago today, machines at the Wham-O toy company roll out the first batch of their aerodynamic plastic discs—now known to millions of fans all over the world as Frisbees.

101 YEARS AGO, DRINKING BECAME ILLEGAL

101 years ago today, after it was ratified a year earlier on 16 January 1919, prohibition officially goes into effect, with the passage of the Volstead Act (also known as National Prohibition Act).

CHIEF JOSEPH SURRENDERS

Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce peoples surrenders to U.S. General Nelson A. Miles in the Bear Paw mountains of Montana, declaring “Hear me, my chiefs: My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”

WEST SIDE STORY OPENS ON BROADWAY

63 years ago today, the most acclaimed musical of all time, West Side Story, opens at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway.

SIOUX’S CRAZY HORSE IS KILLED

143 years ago today, one of the most notable and iconic of Native American warriors, Oglala Sioux leader Crazy Horse is fatally bayoneted by a U.S. soldier after resisting confinement in a guardhouse at Fort Robinson, Nebraska.

THE LAST NATIVE AMERICAN WARRIOR, GERONIMO, SURRENDERS

On this date in 1886, the last Native American warrior, Apache leader Geronimo, surrenders to U.S. government troops. For 30 years, the Native American warrior had battled to protect his tribe’s homeland; however, by 1886 the Apaches were exhausted and hopelessly outnumbered.

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