Today in History: TWA begins commercial service in 1934

Today in History: TWA begins commercial service in 1934

On May 18, 1934, TWA (Trans World Airlines) officially launched its commercial service on the Columbus-Pittsburgh-Newark route with the Douglas DC-2. The aircraft’s success quickly led to its introduction on most TWA routes, and the growth of others. The most prominent of these was the Sun Racer, also known as TWA Flight 1, which promised to deliver passengers from coast to coast in a single day.

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Today in History: Kentucky Derby

Today in History: Kentucky Derby

144 years ago today, on May 17, 1875, a cheering crowd of 10,000 people watched the horse, Aristides, a Thoroughbred named after an ancient Greek general, and his rider, Oliver Lewis, cross the finish line to win the first ever Kentucky Derby. The first derby was a 1.5 mile race (the traditional 1.25 mile distance was not established until 1896). Thirteen of the fifteen jockeys in the race, including Oliver Lewis, were African-American.

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Today in History: First Academy Awards in 1927

Today in History: First Academy Awards in 1927

90 years ago today, the first ever Academy Awards of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards were handed out at a banquet held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Some 270 people attended, and tickets cost $5 each. After a long dinner, complete with numerous speeches, Douglas Fairbanks, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which had been formed in 1927, handed out 15 awards in a five-minute ceremony. The awards presentation was somewhat anticlimactic compared to today’s Academy Award ceremonies, as the winners had already been announced in February. Starting with the following year’s awards, the Academy began releasing the names of the winners to the press on the night of the awards ceremony to preserve some suspense. That practice ended in 1940, after the Los Angeles Times published the results in its evening edition, which meant they were revealed before the ceremony. The Academy then instituted a system of sealed envelopes, which remains in use today. Source: history.com.

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Today in History: Hindenburg Zeppelin Disaster in 1937

Today in History: Hindenburg Zeppelin Disaster in 1937

82 years ago today, the Hindenburg zeppelin passenger airship went up in flames when attempting to land at Lakehurst, New Jersey. The footage of the colossal fireball engulfing the German airship marked the abrupt end of the zeppelin era. 36 people – 13 passengers, 22 crewmen, and one ground worker – lost their lives in the crash.

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Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Originating in the 1860′s with Mexican-American communities in the American West, Southwest and Northwest, the American Cinco de Mayo began as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War. Today, in the United States, Cinco de Mayo is observed annually on May 5 as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. According to José Alamillo, professor of ethnic studies at Washington State University in Pullman, a 2006 study found there are more than 150 official Cinco de Mayo events across the country. Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the United States have taken on a significance beyond that in Mexico. They include displaying of banners and events highlighting Mexican culture, music, and regional dancing, as well as school districts holding special events to educate students about its historical significance.  In the U.S., commercial interests have capitalized on the celebration by advertising Mexican products and services with an emphasis on beverages, food, and music. (Source: http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com)

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Today in History: James Brown born in 1933

86 years ago today, James Joseph Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006), was born in Barnwell, South Carolina. The singer and songwriter was a major musical figure of 20th-century music and dance. Brown is often referred to as the “Godfather of Soul,” “Soul Brother #1, “Mr. Dynamite,” or “Sex Machine.” His career lasted over 50 years.

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Today in History: First World’s Fair opens in London in 1851

Today in History: First World’s Fair opens in London

On May 1, 1851, Great Britain’s Prince Albert opened the first World’s Fair – then referred to as the Great Exhibition – in Hyde Park, London. The idea for an international fair was advanced by Sir Henry Cole who was so impressed by his visit to the French National Exhibition of 1849 that he wanted to raise the idea to a large scale fair with global participation. Industrial fairs in France had been a strong French national tradition since 1798 and gave an important impulse to the industrial progress. At the center of the 1851 Expo was a giant glass-and-iron hall designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, the Crystal Palace. Inside, more than 10,000 exhibitors set up 12 kilometers / eight miles of tables presenting goods from around the world, incl. the latest kitchen appliances, silks, and machinery. Originally constructed to be a temporary structure, the Chrystal Palace was dismantled in 1854 and then resurrected in an area of South London. The Palace survived until 1936 when it was destroyed in a fire. The London Fair welcomed 6 million visitors between May and October and was a huge success.

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