Good News in History, March 19

80 years ago today, the Tuskegee Airmen, an elite African American unit of the U.S. Army, was activated—the first military branch to welcome Black pilots.

After two years of training, the Tuskegee Airmen, dubbed the ‘Red-Tail Angels’, were sent to Europe and proved their mettle as accomplished battle pilots in World War II.

The group also included the navigators, bombardiers, mechanics, instructors, and support personnel for the top-notch pilots. WATCH an inspiring clip—and see books, DVDs and memorabilia on Amazon… (1941)

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • The Supreme Court upheld the eight-hour work day for railroads (1917)
  • Bob Dylan’s debut album was released – Bob Dylan (1962)
  • India and Bangladesh signed a friendship treaty (1972)
  • Crowds cheered as the leaders of West and East Germany met for the first time since their country was divided – Willy Brandt and Willi Stoph (1970)
  • US House of Representatives began daily broadcasts via C-SPAN (1979)
  • The first free elections in 50 years lifted Latvia‘s political opposition (1990)
  • The World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace convened for the second time [see below] (2006)

15 years ago today, the Second World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace took place with 150 Jewish Rabbis and Muslim Imams aiming for Islam and Judaism to become instruments of peace.

peace-arabic-sculpture-nightThe goals of the first meeting in 2005 included 1) condemning violence perpetrated in the name of religion 2) creation of a dialog and partnership between the two religions 3) facilitate development of peaceful solutions to conflict by influential religious leaders 4) gather these leaders before the media to promote a message of peace. The second meeting, on this date, was focused on building trust and confidence necessary for joint projects, creating a forum for religious leaders to use their influence in conflict resolution, help religious leaders to challenge the misuse of religion in fanaticism, and to create structures to facilitate practical day to day work in prioritized areas. (2006)

Also, 42 years ago today, C-SPAN debuted as its own cable channel as a public service providing unfiltered, gavel-to-gavel coverage of the United States House of Representatives on Capitol Hill.

The channel also included nonpartisan coverage of Congressional hearings, White House press conferences and other news events—all supported and paid for by the U.S. cable and satellite TV industry. Brian Lamb, C-SPAN’s chairman and former chief executive officer, first conceived the concept of C-SPAN (which stands for Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network) in 1975, while working as the Washington, D.C. bureau chief of the cable industry trade magazine Cablevision. (1979)

Happy Birthday to Bruce Willis who turns 66 today. He overcame a stuttering issue by joining the drama club in a New Jersey high school, and eventually became its student council president. While attending Montclair State University, he worked as a private investigator and security guard—but Willis returned to acting, before quitting college and moving to New York.

2018 photo by Gage Skidmore, CC license

His big break came after he auditioned for a television series, beating out 3,000 actors to end up in the starring role as a charming detective, opposite Cybill Shepherd, in the comedy-drama Moonlighting. It ran for five seasons and won him the first of two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor.

It also earned him a role in the 1988 film Die Hard as John McClane, which catapulted him to Hollywood star and action hero status. He performed most of his own stunts in the film that grossed $138 million worldwide—and led to a 5-film series that smashed box office records earning a combined $1.4 billion worldwide.

After Armageddon in 1998, Willis showed his softer side starring in the hugely successful M. Night Shyamalan film, The Sixth Sense. Other memorable Willis films in recent years include RED, and Moonrise Kingdom. In 2003, Willis visited Iraq as part of the USO tour, singing to the troops with his band, The Accelerators, and he made his Broadway debut in 2015 in Misery. WATCH the top 10 Willis clips… (1955)

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