Martin Van Buren, December 5, 1782
The eighth president of the US (term of office: Mar 4, 1837-Mar 3, 1841) was the first to have been born a citizen of the US. He was a widower for nearly two decades before he entered the White House. His daughter-in-law, Angelica, served as White House hostess during an administration troubled by bank and business failures, depression and unemployment. Van Buren was born at Kinderhook, NY, and died there July 24, 1862.
Strom Thurmond, December 5, 1902
One of the longest-serving senators in American history, James Strom Thurmond was born at Edgefield, SC. The only senator ever elected by a write-in vote, he joined the US Senate in 1954. He was elected as both a Democrat and a Republican and is remembered for his record-breaking filibuster protesting pending civil rights legislation. He did not yield the floor for 24 hours, 18 minutes over Aug 28-29, 1957, although the legislation did pass less than two hours later. He served in the Senate until Nov 19, 2002, just a few weeks shy of his 100th birthday. He died at Edgefield on June 26, 2003.
Willa Cather - December 67, 1873
American author born at Winchester, VA. Died at New York, NY, Apr 24, 1947. Best known for her novels about the development of early 20th-century American life, such aOs Pioneers! and My Ántonia. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 1922 for her book One of Ours. One of her many famous quotes, this one from 'O Pioneers!' : "There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before."
December 3, 1967 - First Heart Transplant
Dr. Christiaan Barnard, a South African surgeon, performed the world's first successful heart transplantation at Cape Town, South Africa.
December 5, 1955 - Montgomery Bus Boycott Begins
Rosa Parks was arrested at Montgomery, AL, for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. Insupport of Parks, and to protest the arrest, the black community of Montgomery organized a boycott of the bus system. The boycott lasted from Dec 5, 1955, to Dec 20, 1956, when a US Supreme Court ruling was implemented at Montgomery,integrating the public transportation system.
December 6, 1865 - Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution
The 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, abolishing slavery in the US. "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, save as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." This amendment was proclaimed Dec 18, 1865. The 13th, 14th and 15th amendments are considered the Civil War Amendments.
December 7, 1941 - Pearl Harbor Anniversary
At 7:55 AM (local time) Dec 7, 1941, "a date that will live in infamy," nearly 200 Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, long considered the US "Gibraltar of the Pacific." The raid, which lasted little more than one hour, left nearly 3,000 dead. Nearly the entire US Pacific Fleet was at anchor there and few ships escaped damage. Several were sunk or disabled, while 200 US aircraft on the ground were destroyed. The attack on Pearl Harbor brought about immediate US entry into WWII, a declaration of war being requested by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and approved by the
Congress Dec 8, 1941.
December 8, 1990 - John Lennon Killed
On this date deranged gunman Mark David Chapman shot and killed rock star John Lennon outside his apartment building as he returned from a recording session. The death of the former Beatle, who was an international peace activist, shocked the world.
December 8, 1991 - Soviet Union Dissolved
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) ceased to exist, as the republics of Russia, Byelorussia and Ukraine signed an agreement at Minsk, Byelorussia, creating the Commonwealth of Independent States. The remaining republics, with the exception of Georgia, joined in the new commonwealth as it began the slow and arduous process of removing the yoke of Communism and dealing with strong separatist and nationalistic movements within the various republics.