The Charleston Earthquake – Today In Southern History

31 August 1886  

On this date in 1886…

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck Charleston, South Carolinacausing severe damage and killing more than 100 people. Damage was reported as far away as Washington D.C. The quake was also was reported to have extinguished the “Wakulla Volcano,” a bright natural gas flare that served sailors as a navigational landmark along the Florida panhandle.

Other Years:
  • 1864 – The Battle of Jonesboro, Georgia during the Atlanta Campaign caused more than 2,000 casualties.
  • 1935 – Baseball great Frank Robinson was born in Beaumont, Texas.
  • 1991 – In a “Solidarity Day” protest hundreds of thousands of union members marched in Washington, DC.
  • 1997 – South Carolina performer James Brown became the first American artist to appear in Lebanon following the lift of the U.S. travel ban to the country.
  • 2005 – Toby Keith announced that he was starting his own label named Show Dog Nashville Records.

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The Fort Mims Massacre – Today In Southern History

30 August 1813  

On this date in 1813…

At the start of the Creek Civil War, the Red Stick faction of Creek Indians having been armed by the British at Pensacola, massacred 517American settlers and mixed-blood Creeks in the stockade of Fort Mimsnorth of Mobile, Alabama.

Other Years:
  • 1690 – A force of British militia, Yamassee and Yuchi Indians attacked the Timucua Indians and Spanish at the Franciscan mission of San Juan de Guacara in northern Florida, killing all the Timucua Indians.
  • 1800 – Gabriel Prosser led a slave rebellion in Richmond, Virginia.
  • 1861 – Federal General John C. Fremont exceeded his authority and issued a proclamation freeing slaves in Missouri. His superiors soon repudiated the order and relieved him of command.
  • 1862 – Confederates again routed federal troops at the Second Battle of Manassas, Virginia.
  • 1862 – The Battle of Richmond, KY
  • 1893 – “The Kingfish,” Huey Pierce Long, Jr. was born in Winnfield, Louisiana.
  • 1956 – White protestors prevented enrollment of black students at Mansfield High School, Mansfield, Texas.
  • 1969 – More than 120,000 attended the Texas International Pop Festival rock concerts.
  • 1969 – Blacks rioted in Fort Lauderdale Florida.
  • 1979 – Hurricane David first made landfall, it would kill 1,200 people in Florida, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

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Hurricane Katrina – Today In Southern History

29 August 2005  

On this date in 2005…

After causing heavy damage in Southern Florida, Hurricane Katrinamade its second landfall on the Gulf Coast as a category 3 hurricane. Katrina left a swath of devastation from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle. The rainfall and storm surge overloaded the pumping stations in New Orleans and breached the levee, flooding much of the city.

Accustomed to hurricanes, many of the city’s residents failed to evacuate prior to the storm and died or later had to be rescued. Katrina killed more than 1,836 people and caused more than $115 billion in damage. The federal response to the storm was delayed largely because Louisiana Governor Mary Landrieu failed or refused to request the aid from Republican President George W. Bush. In consequence, assistance from the Dutch Navy and the Mexican Army arrived in New Orleans before the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The news media blamed Bush for the bungled response and published embellished tales of the suffering and devastation, which needed little exaggeration had they simply told the truth. For some reason, the news media relished publishing false reports that Southern landmarks such as the Louisiana Confederate Museum and Jefferson Davis’s home, Beauvoir had been destroyed, when more tragic and necessary stories went unreported.
When the federal government finally did respond, it compounded the chaos by confiscating guns from citizens and leaving them helpless to defend themselves from gangs of predators and looters that swept the city.

Other Years:
  • 1957 – Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina set a filibuster record in the U.S. when ended a marathon speech of 24 hours and 18 minutes.
  • 1971 – Alabama native Hank Aaron became the first baseball player in the National League to hit 100 or more runs in each of 11 seasons.
  • 1977 – Lou Brock of Arkansas beat Ty Cobb’s 49 year-old record
  • of 892 stolen bases while playing for the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • 1983 – The anchor of the USS Monitor was retrieved by divers off the coast of North Carolina.
  • 2007 – Six U.S. cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads were illegally flown without proper authorization from Minot Air Force Base to Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, Louisiana.

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Comrades of the Southern Cross – Today In Southern History

28 August 1863  

On this date in 1863…

Generals Patrick Cleburne and Leonidas Polk organized the Comrades of the Southern Cross as a fraternal and benevolent order in the Army of Tennessee. The organization was loosely patterned after Freemasonry of which Cleburne was a member and designed to boost morale and help discipline in the Army. After the war, the organization experienced a revival and became the foundation for the United Confederate Veterans.

Other Years:
  • 1565 – A Spanish expedition of 1,500 soldiers and colonists, led by Pedro Menendez de Aviles landed on the coast of Florida with the goal of securing the land for Spain. The settlers would soon establish St. Augustine.
  • 1830 – The first passenger-carrying train of its kind to be built in America, “The Tom Thumb” was demonstrated in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • 1861 – Federal forces unsuccessfully attacked Confederate batteries at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina in the Battle of Hatteras Inlet.
  • 1957 – South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond began a filibuster to prevent the Senate from voting on Civil Rights Act of 1957. He stopped speaking 24 hours and 18 minutes later, the longest filibuster ever conducted by a single Senator.
  • 1963 – More than 250,000 people joined the March on Washington and listened as Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

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The Comair Crash – Today In Southern History

27 August 2006 

On this date in 2006…

Comair Flight 5191 crashed on takeoff from Blue Grass International Airport in Lexington, Kentucky bound for Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia. Of the passengers and crew, 49 of 50 were confirmed dead from the crash. Only the flight’s first officer survived. 

Other Years:
  • 1667 – The earliest recorded hurricane in North America struck Jamestown, Virginia.
  • 1861 – The Battle of Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina began.
  • 1862 – The Battle of Second Manassas, Virginia began.
  • 1881 – A hurricane struck Florida and the Carolinas. It is estimated that more than 700 people were killed.
  • 1955 – While visiting family in Mississippi, fourteen-year-old Chicago resident Emmett Till was beaten, shot, and dumped in the Tallahatchie River for alleged lewd behavior.
  • 1986 – Texas baseball legend Nolan Ryan, while playing for the Houston Astros, earned his 250th career win against the Chicago Cubs.

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