Today in 1980, the U.S. men’s hockey team pulled off one of the biggest upsets in sports history with a 4-3 victory over the heavily favored Soviet Union at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Two days later, the Americans went on to beat Finland and take home the gold medal.
The Soviet team had captured the previous four Olympic hockey golds, going back to 1964, and had not lost an Olympic hockey game since 1968. Three days before the Lake Placid Games began, the Soviets routed the U.S. team 10-3 in an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden, New York City.
The Soviets led 3-2 in the third period, when Mark Johnson scored to tie the game. With 10 minutes left in the game, U.S. team captain Mike Eruzione scored what would become the winning goal. As a flag-waving American crowd counted down the final seconds of the game to victory, broadcaster Al Michaels famously explained, “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” The Soviets took home the silver medal, while the Swedes received the bronze.
Following the Olympics, many members of the U.S. team went on to pro careers in the NHL. Herb Brooks coached several NHL teams after the “Miracle on Ice,” before dying in a 2003 car accident.
Today in 1956 at Montgomery, Alabama, 80 participants in the three-month-old bus boycott voluntarily gave themselves up for arrest after an ultimatum from white city leaders. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks were among those arrested. Later in 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court mandated desegregation of the buses.
Today in 1819 Spanish minister Do Luis de Onis and U.S. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams signed the Florida Purchase Treaty (also known as the Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819 and the Transcontinental Treaty ), in which Spain agreed to cede the remainder its province of Florida to the United States.
Spanish colonization of the Florida peninsula began at St. Augustine in 1565. Spain’s last-minute entry into the French and Indian War on the side of France cost it Florida, which the British acquired through the first Treaty of Paris in 1763. After 20 years of British rule, Florida was returned to Spain as part of the second Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolution in 1783.
Florida had become a burden to Spain, which could not afford to send settlers or garrisons. Madrid therefore decided to cede the territory to the United States. The signing of the Florida Purchase Treaty officially put Florida into U.S. hands at no cost beyond the U.S. assumption of some $5 million of claims by U.S. citizens against Spain. Formal U.S. occupation began in 1821, and General Andrew Jackson was appointed military governor. Florida was organized as a U.S. territory in 1822 and was admitted into the Union as a slave state in 1845.
Spain recognized the independence of Mexico in 1821.
Today in 1918 the Montana legislature passed its Sedition Law that restricted freedom of speech and assembly. Three months later, Congress adopted a federal Sedition Act modeled on the Montana law.
Viewed as the most sweeping violation of civil liberties in modern American history, the federal Sedition Law led to the arrests of 1,500 American citizens. Crimes included denouncing the draft, criticizing the Red Cross, and complaining about wartime taxes. One man went to prison for calling food rationing a joke, while others were targeted because they refused to physically kiss a U.S. flag or to buy Liberty Bonds. Most were pardoned when the war ended and cooler heads prevailed, but the state and federal Sedition Laws proved highly effective in destroying labor groups that had long attacked the federal government as the tool of big business.
On May 3, 2006, Governor Brian Schweitzer granted posthumous pardons to 78 persons convicted of sedition during World War I for making comments that were critical of the war. These were the first posthumous pardons in Montana history.
The Sedition Act of 1918, enacted by congress May 16, 1918, forbade the use of “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” about the United States government, its flag, or its armed forces or that caused others to view the American government or its institutions with contempt, was repealed on December 13, 1920.
“Sedition” is a term usually applied to acts or speech related to insurrection. Montana is not the only state to pass sedition laws, nor is the Sedition Act of 1918 the first sedition law passed by the federal government. The first federal Alien and Sedition Acts were four bills passed in 1798. They were signed into law by President John Adams.
Happy birthday Drew Blyth Barrymore, actress, film director, screenwriter, producer, and model, born today in 1975 at Los Angeles, California (another source says Culver City, California).
Barrymore is part of a famous family of American actors that includes her grandfather John Barrymore and great-uncle Lionel Barrymore. She is a goddaughter of director Steven Spielberg. She first appeared in an advertisement when she was 11 months old. Barrymore made her film debut in Altered States (1980) and starred in her breakout role in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). She quickly became one of Hollywood’s most recognized child actresses, going on to establish herself in mainly comic roles.
Her “bad girl” image began as early as age 10 when she began drug and alcohol abuse; she reportedly attempted suicide at age 14; and became an emancipated minor at age 15.
Barrymore has won numerous awards and nominations in her career, many of them Teen Choice Awards; none from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
On February 3, 2004, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In March 2008, as a UN Ambassador against Hunger, Barrymore donated $1 million to the World Food Programme on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”.
Happy birthday Edna St. Vincent Millay, poet, playwright and feminist, born today in 1892 at Rockland, Maine.
Millay’s fame began in 1912 when she entered her poem “Renascence.” She wrote the anti-war play Aria da Capo (1919). Millay won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923 for “The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver”; she was the third woman to win the poetry prize, after Sara Teasdale (1918) and Margaret Widdemer (1919). Her collection A Few Figs From Thistles (1920) drew controversy for its novel exploration of female sexuality and feminism.
Millay’s reputation was damaged by the poetry she wrote about the Allied war effort during World War II. Merle Rubin noted: “She seems to have caught more flak from the literary critics for supporting democracy than Ezra Pound did for championing fascism.
In 1943 Millay was awarded the Frost Medal for her lifetime contribution to American poetry.
Millay died at her estate home Steepletop on October 19, 1950. She was 58 years old. In 2006, the state of New York acquired 230 acres of Steepletop to add a nearby state forest preserve. The Edna St. Vincent Millay Society restored the farmhouse and grounds to a museum. Parts of the grounds of Steepletop, including the Millay Poetry Trail that leads to her grave, are now open to the public year-round.
Happy birthday George Washington, commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution and first U.S. President, born today in 1732 at Westmoreland County, Virginia.
Washington died at his home, Mount Vernon, Virginia December 14, 1799 where he is interned in a family vault. He was age 67. His granddaughter remembered him as a prisoner of his own celebrity. Abigail Adams described Washington as” having a dignity which forbids familiarity mixed with an easy affability which creates love and reverence.”