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In This Issue
WELCOME TO AwesomeStories!
FROM THE EDITOR
October is a month to remember many important world events. We have profiled more stories than usual, in this month's newsletter, because there is so much to talk about!
"Conversations with Myself," a new book based on the letters and diaries of Nelson Mandela, is being released on October 12. For the first time, people throughout the world will have access to previously unreleased materials written by South Africa's former President. Our story about Mandela provides primary-source background about his prison years and his efforts to heal his country.
A new film about the champion racehorse, Secretariat, features a story about his owner (Penny Chenery), his trainer (Lucien Laurin), his jockey (Ron Turcotte) and his groom (Eddie Sweat). View a series of videos, featuring the real people profiled in the movie.
In case you missed it ... Awesome Stories, and the site's editor, were featured in a major news profile. Take a look at the story and its pictures. ¡¡
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QUICK CLIPS from the VIDEO ARCHIVES
Henry Ford introduced his Model T on the 1st of October, 1908. More than 15 million of those cars - all of them black - were eventually sold before the model was no longer made. This video, of Ford's assembly line in 1919, shows how it was that so many Model Ts were ultimately produced.
On the 1st of October, 1946, eleven high-ranking Nazis were sentenced to hang, in Nuremberg, for their various crimes. This clip, from Universal Newsreels, portrays the actual moment when those sentences were passed.
Judgment at Nuremberg, a film about the Nuremberg war-crime trials, reenacts delivery of the verdict in the "Justice Trial." Spencer Tracy (in the role of Chief Judge) recounts what can happen when otherwise intelligent men succumb to the influence of a madman.
Mahatma Gandhi was born on the 2nd of October, in 1869. Learn more about him from this video biography.
Gandhi opposed racially motivated laws. This video clip dramatizes one of his most famous speeches advocating non-violent resistance.
On the 2nd of October, 1967, Thurgood Marshall became an Associate Justice of America's Supreme Court. This clip features highlights of his life before he served on the high court.
After Hitler's troops invaded Poland in September of 1939, the Poles lived under Nazi tyranny. In 1944, people in Warsaw - the country's capital city - staged an uprising against the occupation. By the 2nd of October, however, the Nazis had totally crushed the rebellion. It is estimated that approximately 250,000 people were killed as a direct result.
Seamus Heaney won the Nobel Prize in Literature on the 5th of October, 1995. Known for many great works, including his translation of Beowulf, the Nobel Laureate here reads one of his most-loved, short poems. It is called Scaffolding.
The era of "talking motion pictures" began on the 6th of October, 1927, when The Jazz Singer opened. The film actually has very little audible dialogue, but it transitions from silent-to-talking age when the movie's star, Al Jolson, says (rather prophetically): "Wait a minute! Wait a minute! ... You ain't heard nothin' yet!"
At the same time as Chicago burned - during the Great Fire of 1871 - Peshtigo, Wisconsin was also decimated by a raging inferno. This clip shows what happened to the town, and its people, on October 8-9, 1871. It remains America's deadliest fire.
Annoyed that he was apparently being ignored during a session of the United Nations General Assembly, the leader of the Soviet delegation - Nikita Khrushchev - famously banged his shoe on the table, to make a point. This video's description includes a reference to the incident - which occurred on October 12, 1960 - quoted from Khrushchev's memoirs.
Nine months after her husband (King Louis XVI) was executed, Marie Antoinette followed him to the guillotine. She was publicly beheaded - on the 16th of October, 1793 - following a trial in which false evidence was presented against her.
Thousands of soldiers died in the longest battle of medieval history, fought near Hastings, in 1066. Why did it take place - in October of that year - and what caused Harold II, the last Anglo-Saxon King of England, to lose his throne to a Norman from France?
Harpers Ferry (formerly in Virginia, now part of West Virginia) had a federal arsenal in 1859. John Brown, an abolitionist, planned a raid on that armory so he would have the weapons he needed to achieve his goal. What was his plan? To free some of Virginia's slaves, by force. In this clip, learn about the town of Harpers Ferry and John Brown's raid.
Long before arriving at Cape Trafalgar, Admiral Horatio Nelson had planned his attack on Napoleon's fleet. When the great naval battle began - on the 21st of October, 1805 - Nelson's unconventional tactics led to Britain's victory. At battle's end, Nelson was dying aboard his ship, HMS Victory. Was Nelson killed by a skilled marksman's shot - or - was he felled by chance in the chaos of battle?
On the 23rd of October, 1929, share prices on the New York Stock exchange started to plunge. No one knew why. There were lots of sellers but very few buyers. Within seven days, the market crashed. Why? Are there lessons from that disaster which still apply?
On the 25th of October, 1415 - during the Hundred Years' War, between England and France - Henry V of Britain led his forces to victory at the Battle of Agincourt. The battle remains famous to this day.
Orson Welles, and his colleagues at Mercury Theatre on the Air, decided to pull a prank on America. On the 30th of October, 1938 - the night before Halloween - Welles broadcasted an adapted version of The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells. People throughout the country believed the play was real.
Orson Welles, and his team, presented such a compelling radio program on Sunday evening - the 30th of October, 1938 - that many people throughout the country panicked. Worried students from New Jersey, attending various colleges, lined-up to call their parents. They wanted to know whether "the Martians" - who'd apparently landed in their home state - had attacked their families. In this clip, Welles tells what he was up to, and now-grown students explain how they, and their families, reacted.
Attempting to capture officials of a Somali warlord, U.S. troops were ferried into the center of Mogadishu, Somalia aboard Black Hawk helicopters. On the 3rd of October, 1993, things went wrong when two Black Hawks were shot down with rocket-propelled grenades. The situation, and its aftermath, was depicted in the film "Black Hawk Down."
On the 4th of October, 1997 - during a New York City auction - representatives from Chicago's Field Museum placed the winning bid ($7.6 million plus commission) for a one-of-a-kind item. The largest, best-preserved and most-intact fossil of a T. rex - named Sue in honor of its finder, Sue Hendrickson - would soon make its way to Chicago. Less than three years later, Sue was unveiled for all the world to see. Take a virtual trip to the Field Museum, meet Sue, learn about the battle for her remains (after they were discovered) and examine how the T. rex compares to other dinosaurs.
The Soviet Union shocked the world when it launched its first satellite - called Sputnik - on October 4, 1957. People in the United States were especially upset when America lost the "first round" of the space race.
Learn what happened, see a picture of the satellite, hear its transmitted sound and examine the first "spy photo" ever taken by the U.S.
From the very beginning, Catherine O'Leary and Daisy, her cow, were blamed for starting Chicago's Great Fire of 1871. Did they really do it? If so, how do we explain America's deadliest fire which started in Peshtigo, Wisconsin at the same time? If Daisy kicked over the lantern in the O'Leary barn, producing enormous losses in Chicago, what caused the raging fire which devastated Holland, Michigan at the same time?
It was dry - very dry - that October 8th evening. Did the Midwest drought have something to do with the fires' intensity? It was windy - cyclonically so - that Sunday night. Did the wind have something to do with the fires' uncontrollable spread? Rain finally came on Tuesday. Did the rain extinguish the flames?
At the time, Chicago was America's "second city," and national publicity about the devastation was intense. Is that why so many people have never heard about the Peshtigo and Holland fires? Insured losses, in Chicago, were staggering. Is that why there were insufficient funds to cover the losses elsewhere? Check out this story. You may learn some important things you never knew before.
During the Korean War, UN troops expanded the conflict - which had been confined inside South Korea - into North Korean territory. Crossing the 38th parallel, on 9 October 1950, UN forces began their attacks as they moved toward the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. In response, China joined the fray as thousands of Chinese soldiers - unseen by UN forces - slipped into North Korea.
What caused this war? Why did it result in a stalemate, still unresolved today? And what caused the Koreans, who had been politically unified for two millennia, to split their peninsula and then fight each other?
On the 11th of October, 1689, Peter the Great became Tsar of Russia. Who was this man who built the beautiful Russian city of St. Petersburg in the most unlikely of places?
It is said that the 14th of October, 1066, changed the course of British history. On that day, exhausted British troops under the command of their king, Harold II, tried to rebuff an invasion by William, Duke of Normandy. The battle of Senlac Hill, near the town of Hastings, was ferocious. It resulted in Harold's death (by an arrow) and a new king (the Norman, William the Conqueror).
The Bayeux Tapestry, perhaps commissioned by William's half-brother in the 1070s, artistically tells the story of the Norman victory. Included in its panels is a mysterious star (later determined to be Halley's Comet) which many people, at the time, believed to be a bad omen. In this story, you will see the Bayeux Tapestry, in animation, together with links which explain both the comet and the famous battle.
On the 14th of October, 1947, an American pilot by the name of Chuck Yeager flew an experimental plane - the X-1 - to test whether there was a sound barrier. His achievement, on that day, ushered in the era of supersonic flight.
A marriage intended to form more healthy relations between France and its former enemies resulted in disaster for a princess named Marie Antoinette. Bad publicity contributed to her ultimate demise. She was guillotined, in Paris, on the 16th of October, 1793.
Who was this girl-turned-queen? Did she deserve all the negative press? What kind of mother was she? What happened to her husband? Her children? With links to primary sources, including the memoir of her chief assistant, gain a better understanding of Marie Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI.
For six years, revolutionary forces battled the British Army as His Majesty's colonies in America asserted their independence. While progress was made, many historians believe a colonial victory would not have happened without France's help.
In October of 1781, combined French and American forces laid siege to Lord Cornwallis and his troops at Yorktown, Virginia. On the 17th, a British drummer - followed by a white-flag-carrying officer - approached the enemy. Cornwallis wanted to discuss a cease fire. Washington thought surrender terms would be more appropriate.
The next day, four officers - an American, a Frenchman and two Brits - met at the Moore House, a mile outside Yorktown. On the 19th, British soldiers laid down their arms. The war, although not technically over, had come to a surprising and dramatic end.
For the first time in weeks, the clouds over Cuba gave way to clear skies. It was October 14, 1962. Major Richard Heyser was about to fly his U-2 on a spy mission over the Caribbean island. What he found brought the world as close as it's ever come to the brink of nuclear war.
As the crisis intensified, UN efforts to ameliorate the problem seemed to go nowhere. Letters between the Soviet leader (Nikita Khrushchev) and the American president (John F. Kennedy) seemed to offer little hope of resolution. Then ... at the behest of the president ... Robert Kennedy brokered a deal which was kept secret for decades. With links to numerous pictures, telegrams and documents, learn how the crisis began and ended.
On the 20th of October, 1924, baseball's first "Colored World Series" was held in Kansas City, Missouri. Why did "the boys of summer" have separate championships?
In 1883, the Toledo Blue Stockings were about to begin a game against the Chicago White Stockings. Then a problem surfaced. One of Toledo's star players was African-American. One of Chicago's players refused to take the field against a man of color.
As more and more people agreed with the Chicago player, baseball's "color line" developed. It wasn't broken until Jackie Robinson stepped onto Ebbets Field - in Brooklyn - on the 15th of April, 1947.
No longer Deputy Marshall of Dodge City, Wyatt Earp still recognized a crime-in-the-making. At least ... that's what he thought.
In October of 1881, the former lawman reportedly told Ike Clanton, a Tombstone cowboy: "... if you are anxious to make a fight, I will go anywhere on earth to make a fight with you." Later, after thirty shots rang out in thirty seconds, Wyatt found himself on the other side of the law. He didn't have to "go anywhere on earth to make a fight." He just had to go to the O.K. Corral.
William Penn - an Englishman who landed on the river bank of what is now Chester, Pennsylvania in late October, 1682 - knew what it was like to be charged with an unfair law. His jurors knew what could happen if their verdict went against the government's wishes.
Wanting to make sure that his colony became a model of religious toleration, and freedom under law, Penn was guided by a London trial which had nearly cost him his life. He kept those events in mind as he drafted laws which were later used by America's founders.
Thomas Jefferson called Penn "the greatest law-giver the world has produced." Find out why in this story about Penn's sedition trial.
It was a time of utter despair, nearly unimaginable today. On the 28th and 29th of October, 1929, the U.S. stock market crashed, ushering in "The Great Depression." It wasn't just stock investors who lost fortunes. Bank depositors also lost their savings since so many banks had invested their holdings in stocks. A domino effect caused businesses to close and people to lose their jobs and homes.
He was a well-known math professor, at the University of Padua, when Galileo learned about an interesting discovery. In 1608, someone in the Netherlands had invented "an instrument for looking into the distance." Galileo made his own telescope and, turning it toward the sky, saw things which caused him to question commonly held beliefs about the solar system. What he observed led him to conclude that Copernicus had been right: The earth moves - and - revolves around the sun, not the other way around.
The Catholic Church decided that such ideas were heresy. Undaunted, Galileo continued to make his observations. Ordered to keep silent, and not teach the Copernican theory, Galileo couldn't help himself. When the inquisitors required him to recant his beliefs (about the earth's movement), he did so. Immediately thereafter, it is said he muttered the legendary words: "And yet, it moves."
Galileo, of course, was right. Unafraid to challenge existing beliefs, he paid the price by living the rest of his life under house arrest. On October 31, 1992, Pope John Paul II expressed regret for the way the church had dealt with the famous scientist. In this story, you can see Galileo's telescope, examine how it functioned, take a virtual trip to the History of Science Museum (in Florence, Italy) and watch some of the museum's most interesting Galileo videos.
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