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A Blast From The Past

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International   |   Oct. 16, 2001 at 4:45 AM   |   Comments

Today is Oct. 16.


Today's big historical moment is a slice of life: on this date in 1793, as the terror raged in revolutionary France, Queen Marie Antoinette fell victim to the guillotine. Marie Antoinette, by the way, never said, "Let them eat cake." That remark has been attributed to an unidentified female member of French royalty at a time when Marie was too young to have been the one to say it -- or anything else.


The worst mass shooting in U.S. history took place on this date in 1991, when George Hennard drove his pickup truck through the front window of Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, and --- after getting out of the truck -- methodically killed 22 people. He then took his own life.


Do you remember the song "John Brown's body lies a-molderin' in the grave"? It was on this date in 1859 that abolitionist John Brown led an abortive raid on the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Va., which is upstream from Washington, D.C., where the Shenandoah River meets the Potomac River. Brown was later convicted of treason and hanged.


Yale University was founded on this date in 1701 by Congregationalists who didn't like the growing liberalism at Harvard. Originally known as The Collegiate School and located in Branford, Conn., it was moved in 1716 to New Haven, where it was renamed Yale College after Elihu Yale, a governor of the East India Company. Yale became a university in 1887.


Margaret Sanger and two other women, on this date in 1916, opened the nation's first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, N.Y.


"The East Is Red," but on this date in 1964, it was also mushroom-cloud-shaped, as China detonated its first atomic bomb.


On this date in 1995, hundreds of thousands of black men from across the nation gathered at the Mall in Washington, D.C., to take part in the "Million Man March," which had been organized by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Marchers pledged to take responsibility for themselves, their family and their community.


And America's first department store opened in Salt Lake City, Utah, on this date in 1868. ZCMI (Zion's Co-Operative Mercantile Institution) was founded under the direction of Morman leader Brigham Young. The store is still open.


We now return you to the present, already in progress.

© 2001 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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