This Day In History
Thursday, November 15, 2018
On This Day

1968

Events

February 16, 1968

In Haleyville, Alabama, the first 911 emergency telephone system goes into service. The first-ever 9-1-1 call was placed by Alabama Speaker of the House Rankin Fite, from Haleyville City Hall, to U.S. Rep. Tom Bevill, at the city's police station. Bevill reportedly answered the phone with "Hello". At the City Hall with Fite was Haleyville mayor James Whitt; at the police station with Bevill were Gallagher and Alabama Public Service Commission director Eugene "Bull" Connor. Fitzgerald was at the ATC central office serving Haleyville, and actually observed the call pass through the switching gear as the mechanical equipment clunked out "9-1-1". The phone used to answer the first 9-1-1 call, a bright red model, is now in a museum in Haleyville, while a duplicate phone is still in use at the police station.
911, Haleyville, Alabama

March 16, 1968

In the My Lai...
In the My Lai massacre, between 350 and 500 Vietnamese villagers (men, women, and children) are killed by American troops. The My Lai Massacre was the Vietnam War mass murder of between 347 and 504 unarmed civilians in South Vietnam on March 16, 1968, by United States Army soldiers of "Charlie" Company of 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Brigade of the Americal Division. Most of the victims were women, children (including babies), and elderly people. Some of the bodies were later found to be mutilated. While 26 US soldiers were initially charged with criminal offenses for their actions at Mỹ Lai, only Second Lieutenant William Calley, a platoon leader in Charlie Company, was convicted. Found guilty of killing 22 villagers, he was originally given a life sentence, but only served three and a half years under house arrest.
Vietnam War, My Lai Massacre

March 21, 1968

Battle of Karameh in...
Battle of Karameh in Jordan between Israeli Defense Forces and Fatah. The Battle of Karameh was fought on March 21, 1968 in the town of Karameh, Jordan, between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and combined forces of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Jordanian Army. It was planned by Israel as two concurrent raids on PLO camps, one in Karameh and one in the distant village of Safi — codenamed Operation Inferno and Operation Asuta, respectively — but the former turned into a full-scale battle, when the Jordanian Army engaged the invaders.
battle, Karameh

April 3, 1968

Martin Luther King, Jr....
Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech. "I've Been to the Mountaintop" is the popular name of the last speech delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr. King spoke on April 3, 1968, at the Mason Temple (Church of God in Christ Headquarters) in Memphis, Tennessee. The next day, King was assassinated. The speech primarily concerns the Memphis Sanitation Strike. King calls for unity, economic actions, boycotts, and nonviolent protest, and challenges the United States to live up to its ideals. At the end of the speech, he discusses the possibility of an untimely death.
Martin Luther King, mountaintop





Births

March 30, 1968
Celine Dion

Céline Marie Claudette Dion is a Canadian singer. Born to a large family from Charlemagne, Quebec, Dion emerged as a teen star in the French-speaking world after her manager and future husband René Angélil mortgaged his home to finance her first record. In 1990, she released the English-language album Unison, establishing herself as a viable pop artist in North America and other English-speaking areas of the world.
October 12, 1968
Hugh Jackman

Hugh Michael Jackman is an Australian actor and producer who is involved in film, musical theatre, and television.

Deaths

March 27, 1968
Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He was the first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961. Gagarin became an international celebrity, and was awarded many medals and honours, including Hero of the Soviet Union, the nation's highest honour. Vostok 1 marked his only spaceflight, but he served as backup crew to the Soyuz 1 mission (which ended in a fatal crash). Gagarin later became deputy training director of the Cosmonaut Training Centre outside Moscow, which was later named after him. Gagarin died in 1968 when a MiG 15 training jet he was piloting crashed.
April 1, 1968
Lev Landau

Lev Davidovich Landau was a prominent Soviet physicist who made fundamental contributions to many areas of theoretical physics. His accomplishments include the independent co-discovery of the density matrix method in quantum mechanics (alongside John von Neumann), the quantum mechanical theory of diamagnetism, the theory of superfluidity, the theory of second-order phase transitions, the Ginzburg–Landau theory of superconductivity, the theory of Fermi liquid, the explanation of Landau damping in plasma physics, the Landau pole in quantum electrodynamics, and the two-component theory of neutrinos. He received the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physics for his development of a mathematical theory of superfluidity that accounts for the properties of liquid helium II at a temperature below 2.17 K (−270.98 °C).
April 4, 1968
Martin Luther King, Jr

Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. King has become a national icon in the history of modern American liberalism.
July 18, 1968
Corneille Heymans

Corneille Jean François Heymans was a Flemish physiologist. He studied at the prestigious Jesuit College of Sainte Barbe after which he proceeded to Ghent University, where he obtained a doctor's degree in 1920.
October 27, 1968
Lise Meitner

Lise Meitner was an Austrian-born, later Swedish, physicist who worked on radioactivity and nuclear physics. Meitner was part of the team that discovered nuclear fission, an achievement for which her colleague Otto Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize. Meitner is often mentioned as one of the most glaring examples of women's scientific achievement overlooked by the Nobel committee. A 1997 Physics Today study concluded that Meitner's omission was "a rare instance in which personal negative opinions apparently led to the exclusion of a deserving scientist" from the Nobel. Element 109, Meitnerium, is named in her honor.
November 25, 1968
Upton Sinclair

Upton Beall Sinclair Jr. (September 20, 1878 – November 25, 1968), was an American author who wrote close to 100 books in many genres.
December 20, 1968
John Steinbeck

John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was an American writer. He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939) and East of Eden (1952) and the novella Of Mice and Men (1937). He was an author of twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and five collections of short stories; Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.
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