Good News in History, January 13

55 years ago today, Robert Clifton Weaver, a career civil servant with a doctorate from Harvard, became the first African-American to be appointed to a US cabinet-level position.

He became the first ever Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—a new agency established in 1965 under President Johnson. (1966)

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • The Church of England embraced the theory of evolution (1938)
  • The Wham-O Company produced the first Frisbee, a flying disc that went on to become one of the most popular and enduring toys in history (1957)
  • After kicking heroin addiction, Eric Clapton made his stage comeback at London’s Rainbow Theatre — and it was recorded for an LP — thanks to Pete Townsend of The Who, who had organized the concert to help Clapton move forward (1973)
  • Orlando Bloom, best known for playing Legolas in the Lord of the Rings films and Will Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, was born (1977)
  • Douglas Wilder became the first elected Black governor in Virginia (1990)

And, Happy 55th Birthday to Patrick Dempsey, the actor who became popular for his role as Dr. “McDreamy,” on Grey’s Anatomy. He raises millions for cancer patients with his annual 50-mile bike ride, The Dempsey Challenge in Maine, to honor his mother, who died of the disease. His Dempsey Center for Cancer, Hope and Healing provides free support, education and wellness services to cancer patients, survivors and caregivers. (1966)

Patrick Dempsey-CC-startinghere71-cropped
By startinghere71, CC license

111 years ago today, public radio broadcasting was born in the United States when American inventor Lee de Forest used his new vacuum tubes to receive the transmission of a live Metropolitan Opera House performance in New York City, starring the famed singer Enrico Caruso. He was afterward dubbed The Father of Radio.

Owner of 180 patents, de Forest’s most famous invention was the three-element “Audion” (triode) vacuum tube, the first practical amplification device. It was the foundation of the field of electronics, making possible not only radio broadcasting, but long distance telephone lines, and talking motion pictures. (1910)

And, on this day in 1968, Johnny Cash recorded his landmark album At Folsom Prison, playing before 2,000 inmates in California. For 13 years, since recording his song Folsom Prison Blues (which was inspired by a film’s depiction of incarceration), Cash had been interested in performing behind bars.

His drug abuse problems were under control and he was looking to turn his career around, so, backed by June Carter, Carl Perkins and the Tennessee Three, he recorded the first of several shows inside prisons. The LP was a huge success—achieving platinum status and reaching number 15 on the national album charts. HEAR a song LIVE…

SHARE the Milestones, Memories, and Music…

Leave a Comment