this day in history

October 21

In 1938 Los Angeles, Cliff Secord, a local racing pilot and barnstormer, discovers a mysterious package hidden by two gangsters, who were fleeing the police. In that package, Cliff finds a stolen rocket backpack prototype. The Rocketeer first appeared in cameo in Starslayer #1 (October 21, 1982) but his first adventure appeared as a backup feature in issues #2 and #3. His adventures are set in Los Angeles and New York in 1938, and often have a retro, nostalgic feel. From murderous treasure-hunters and marauding sky-pirates to ancient Egyptian magicians and haunted mad scientists, the Rocketeer solves crimes and fights evil in these unique and exciting tales of jet-pack action and pin-up romance.


March 7th 1965: Bloody Sunday in Selma

On this day in 1965, a civil rights march took place from Selma to Birmingham, Alabama; it became known as ‘Bloody Sunday’. At this stage, the Civil Rights Movement had been in motion for over a decade and already achieved legislative success with the Civil Rights Act. However the focus of the movement now became making the promise of equal franchise guaranteed in the Fifteenth Amendment a reality. While African-Americans exercised the right to vote in the years after the amendment’s passage in 1870, discriminatory measures like literacy tests, poll taxes, and grandfather clauses were soon implemented across the country to deprive them of the vote. Thus in 1965 civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. made voter registration the core of their efforts, centering the campaign on the particularly discriminatory Selma, AL. On March 7th - 'Bloody Sunday’ - as the six hundred unarmed marchers were crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were descended upon by state troopers who viciously beat the protestors. The violence encountered by these peaceful marchers, which was captured on television and broadcast around the world, led to national outcry and caused President Johnson to publicly call for the passage of his administration’s proposed voting rights bill. After securing the support of federal troops, another march was held on March 21st, and with the protection of soldiers the marchers managed to arrive in Montgomery after three days. The marchers were met in Montgomery - the epicentre of the movement and the site of the 1954 bus boycott - by 50,000 supporters, who were addressed by King. Their efforts were rewarded when, in August of that year, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act that ensured all Americans could vote. This was one of the crowning achievements of the Civil Rights Movement, and the Selma to Montgomery march is commemorated as one of the most important moments of the struggle.

“We are on the move and no wave of racism can stop us. The burning of our churches will not deter us. The bombing of our homes will not dissuade us. We are on the move now…not even the marching of mighty armies can halt us. We are moving to the land of freedom
- King’s 'Address at the Conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March’ - 25th March, 1965

50 years ago today


1970 Chicano Moratorium

44 years ago today, 30,000 marched in East LA in the Chicano Moratorium in protest of the Vietnam War, and in an act of self-determination for Chicanos. Historians believe the Chicano Moratorium was one of the largest anti-war protests of its day and the first to call attention to the number of Chicanos disproportionately represented in Vietnam.

Thousands who gathered at Laguna Park after the march to listen to speakers and performers were forced to run for cover after deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department began brutally attacking march-goers with night sticks. Reporter Rubén Salazar was one of them.

Salazar, who was a well-known journalist, was killed later that evening at the Silver Dollar Bar on Whittier Boulevard when sheriff’s deputies shot a tear gas canister into the bar. The canister hit Salazar in the head and killed him instantly. Salazar had clashed with local police in the months before his death, reports the LA Times. Ángel Díaz and Lynn Ward also died that day.

See documentary on the Chicano Moratorium. More stories here.

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June 6th 1944: D-Day

On this day in 1944, the D-Day landings began on the beaches of Normandy as part of the Allied ‘Operation Overlord’. The largest amphibious military operation in history, the operation involved thousands of Allied troops landing in France. For those landing on the beaches of Normandy, they faced heavy fire, mines and other obstacles on the beach, but managed to push inland. In charge of the operation was future US President General Dwight Eisenhower and leading the ground forces was British General Bernard Montgomery. The landings proved a decisive Allied victory, as they secured a foothold in France which had been defeated by Nazi Germany in 1940. D-Day was a key moment in the Second World War and helped turn the tide of the war in favour of the Allies. 70 years on, we remember not just the strategic victory that was D-Day but also the ultimate sacrifice paid by thousands of soldiers on both sides of the fighting.

“You are about to embark upon the great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months.”
- Eisenhower’s message to the Allied Expeditionary Force

70 years ago today


this day in horrible history 

↳ 29 May 1660 AD ‘Oak Apple Day’ - Restoration of the monarchy in England. From Pepys diary “Parliament had ordered the 29th May, the King’s birthday, to be for ever kept as a day of thanksgiving for our redemption from tyranny and the King’s return to his Government, he entering London that day.”


100 Years Ago Today: Zapata and Villa Take Mexico City

On December 6, 1914, a hundred years ago today, the revolutionary forces of Emiliano Zapata and Francisco “Pancho” Villa took Mexico City. In the top image, Villa, Commander of the División del Norte, and Zapata, Commander of the Ejército Libertador del Sur, pose for a now famous photo inside the National Palace along with their generals and others. It is said, Zapata insisted that Villa sit in the presidential throne.

A hundred years later, the struggle for a truly liberated Mexico continues.


On this day in History → Anne Boleyn, the Queen of England, is executed (d. 19 May, 1536)

Anne Boleyn was Henry VIII’s second wife, who is known for being one of the reasons Henry annulled his first marriage with Catherine of Aragon and broke with Papal authority to lead the Church of England, making her a key figure in the English reformation. Anne was charged with adultery, incest and high treason - charges that are now considered unjust and ‘unconvincing’ - and was sentenced to death on the 15th of May. Four days later, Anne was executed by a French swordsman. It only took a single stroke, and Anne was dead. Her body was buried in an old elm wood arrow chest in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula. Her grave was unmarked until 1876. 

Anne was Queen for three years, bearing one daughter. That daughter, who was declared illegitimate while Anne was awaiting execution, would become Elizabeth I. 


November 23rd 1963: Doctor Who debuts

On this day in 1963, the first episode of Doctor Who was broadcast by the BBC. The original series starred William Hartnell as the protagonist known only as ‘the Doctor’, a Time Lord who travels through time in his blue police telephone box called the TARDIS with his companions. Since Hartnell, there have been 10 other actors who have played the iconic role, the current being Matt Smith. Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction drama in the world. It remains an immensely popular show, and an integral part of British culture. Today at 7.50pm on BBC One a 50th anniversary special will air.

50 years ago today

Britain Declares War on Germany

4 August 1914

Britain made its formal declaration of war against Germany on this day in British history, 4 August 1914. After Germany’s invasion of Belgium, British PM Herbert Asquith had given an ultimatum that Germany withdraw by midnight of 3 August. A large part of this defence of Belgium stemmed from the 1839 Treaty of London, but Asquith still had the option of ignoring Germany’s advances on the continent. After the ultimatum expired and Germany remained in Belgium, Asquith declared that Britain was formally at war with Germany.

Sir Winston Churchill described the scene in London as the ultimatum expired and Britain entered into the Great War: “It was eleven o’clock at night – twelve by German time – when the ultimatum expired. The windows of the Admiralty were thrown wide open in the warm night air. Under the roof from which Nelson had received his orders were gathered a small group of admirals and captains and a cluster of clerks, pencils in hand, waiting. Along the Mall from the direction of the Palace the sound of an immense concourse singing ‘God save the King’ flouted in. On this deep wave there broke the chimes of Big Ben; and, as the first stroke of the hour boomed out, a rustle of movement swept across the room. The war telegram, which meant, “Commence hostilities against Germany”, was flashed to the ships and establishments under the White Ensign all over the world. I walked across the Horse Guards Parade to the Cabinet room and reported to the Prime Minister and the Ministers who were assembled there that the deed was done.”


Today marks the anniversary of the first Earth-born creature circling our planet from Space. None of these creatures chose to go on such voyages, and while there is something somber in that lack of consent, these brave creatures are also representative of the expansion of possibility in space exploration.

Check out Atlas Obscura for some of these incredible astro-beasts.