This Week in History 10.30-11.2

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Oct. 30

On this date in 1938, Orson Welles became famous for his CBS broadcast of the famous H.G. Wells novel The War of the Worlds. As listeners tuned in to the broadcast, chaos erupted because the people believed that the events that Welles was reading were actually taking place.

Since it was around the time of Halloween, the basis of the radio drama was to inform the listeners that an actual alien invasion by Martians was currently happening. When the listeners discovered that the broadcast was fictional, several complaints were made, articles were published, and people demanded Welles to make numerous copies of that actual script for them to read.

The broadcast lasted for 62 minutes, 12,500 articles were published by several newspapers within the month following the broadcast, and CBS received 2,000 letters and telegrams where they received a high amount of praise for the quality of the program.

Orson Welles died in Los Angeles on Oct. 10, 1985 at the age of 70. On Jan. 18, 2003, 18 years after Welles’ death, The War of the Worlds was made part of the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. It was the only award that the broadcast would receive.

Oct. 31

On this date in 1864, Nevada was admitted to the Union as the 36th U.S. State, eight days prior to the presidential election which took place between Abraham Lincoln and George B. McLellan. Nevada was the first of two states to be admitted during the Civil War, with the other being West Virginia.

As of today, Nevada’s overall population consists of 2,758,931 people and the state has the seventh largest area in the United States with a total of 110,622 square miles. It also has a width of 322 miles and a length of 492 miles. The state is bordered by California, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Arizona.

Nevada is well known for its legalized gambling along with its legalization for lenient marriage and divorce policies. The capital of Nevada is Carson City and the largest city in the state is Las Vegas, which is a prominent attraction for tourists to go on vacation due to its wide variety of casinos, theatres, restaurants, and stores.

The state’s highest point is Boundary Peak, a mountain which is 13,147 feet tall and the lowest point is the Colorado River at the California border, which is 481 feet. Nevada’s official nickname is the Silver State and the name was selected because of the significance of silver to the state’s history and economy.

Nov. 1

On this date in 1959, Jacques Plante became the first goaltender in NHL history to wear a goalie mask in an NHL game. At that time, Plante was in his eighth season with the Montreal Canadiens, where he played until 1963.

Jacques Plante unveiled the mask in a game against the New York Rangers. During the game, Andy Bathgate ripped a shot that hit Plante right in the face, breaking his nose. From that point, he wore his mask to protect the injury and he allowed a single goal in the 3-1 victory.

During the 1959-60 season, Plante continued to wear the mask and he continued to be the backbone for the Canadiens. He won 40 of the 69 games that he started in net, allowing an average of 2.54 goals per game and recording three shutouts while winning the Vezina Trophy as the best goaltender in the league.

Montreal tallied 92 points that season, which were the most in the NHL. In the first round of the playoffs, the Canadiens swept the Chicago Blackhawks, a team that featured the high scoring Bobby Hull and goaltender Glenn Hall. Montreal then went on to sweep the Toronto Maple Leafs to capture their 12th Stanley Cup title.

Altogether, the Montreal Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup 24 times, with their most recent championship coming in 1993. The franchise still holds the record for the most championships out of any team in the NHL and they have the most championships of any Canadian professional sports team.

Plante left the Canadiens in 1963 as a six time Stanley Cup Champion. He then went on to play for the New York Rangers, the St. Louis Blues, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Boston Bruins before leaving the NHL in 1973. He played one season for the Edmonton Oilers of the World Hockey Association before retiring from the sport for good and he was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 1978.

Nov. 2

On this date in 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill to create Martin Luther King, Day. The holiday was designed in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., who was a leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement and it is celebrated every year on his birthday, which is Jan. 15.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on Jan. 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Ga. All throughout his childhood; King battled through the racisms and stereotypes that people of different backgrounds had to endure, but he would not view other people’s words as an excuse to fall short of success.

King attended Booker T. Washington High School, which is located in Atlanta. During his high school years, he skipped both ninth and twelfth grade and entered Morehouse College when he was only 15 years old, never officially graduating.

At Morehouse, King earned a B.A. in Sociology in 1948 and soon after, he enrolled in the Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pa., where he graduated in 1951 with a Bachelor of Divinity Degree. He received his first job as a pastor at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala.

As the leader of the Civil Rights Movement, King led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, which featured the prominent story of Rosa Parks getting arrested after refusing to give up her seat to a white man especially after the driver instructed her to. King also led a campaign to ban segregation in 1962 and in the 1963 March on Washington, he gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. For his efforts, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 because of his resiliency to endure racial inequality in a peaceful manner.

On April 4, 1968 during a trip to Memphis, Tenn. to support the black sanitary public works committee who was on strike due to lack of pay and treatment, King was assassinated by James Earl Ray at 6:01 p.m. on the second-floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel. The bullet went through his right cheek, smashing his jaw and traveling down his spinal cord before it got lodged in his shoulder, King was only 39 years old.

Martin Luther King, Jr. lived a short life, but there are a lot of Americans who believe that the impact he left on this country provided the turning point for many integrated communities. King left a legacy on the people that no matter who you are, where you come from, or what your identity is, that we can all come together as a nation and be friendly with each other no matter what we think or what we believe in.

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