NOTE: The above painting is ``Subway Riders” by Francis Louis Mora,which was published in the New York Sun on December 13, 1914.
In a couple of days, many Americans, from sea to shining sea, will be firing up the grills, attending parades and watching a dazzling display of firework shows in celebration of the approval of the Declaration of Independence 234 years ago by the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pa.
It should be pointed out, however, that July 4th has historical significance for other reasons that have nothing to do with gaining freedom from the shackles of Great Britain.
Here, then, is a list of other newsworthy events that took place on July 4th.
July 4, 1826: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams die within two hours of each other; oddly enough on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
July 4, 1863: According to historian James McPherson in his Pulitzer-Prize winning book, ``Battle Cry of Freedom’’, ``Fourth of July,1863, was the most memorable Independence Day in American history since the first one four score and seven years earlier. ’’ It was on that historic day the Confederacy receded from Gettysburg; in Mississippi white flags towered over rebel enclaves; and at the fortress city of Vicksburg, Union forces raised the Stars and Stripes to the top of the old court house after the surrender of 29, 441 Confederate forces to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.
July 4, 1866: In Portland Maine, 1,500 homes burned to the ground after a boy threw a firecracker into a pile of wood shavings.
July 4, 1923, Jack Dempsey beats Tommy Gibbons in a 15-round decision in Shelby, Montana (population 500) to retain his heavyweight title. The New York Times reports Dempsey and his manager fled the town in Wild West style immediately after the fight ``with guns and sheriffs pursing them.’’
July 4, 1933: In India, Mahatma Gandhi is sentenced to one year in prison.
July 4, 1941: In a special holiday broadcast, FDR tells the nation: ``The U.S. can never survive as a happy and fertile oasis of liberty surrounded by a cruel desert of dictatorship.’’
July 4, 1942: Don Budge crushes Bobby Riggs in straight sets (6-2, 6-2, 6-2) at the tennis tournament in Forest Hills, N.Y.
July 4, 1942: U.S. flyers join the Royal Air Force (RAF) for the first time to help bomb Nazi bases in Holland.
July 4, 1944: Blacks are prevented from voting in Georgia’s Democratic primary when many are told by election officials their names couldn’t be found on the registration lists.
July 4, 1948: 50 leaders of the Democratic Party, many of whom have proposed a draft Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower movement, also expressed support for the inclusion of President Truman’s civil rights program in the party’s 1948 platform.
July 4, 1954: Dr. Samuel Sheppard is injured; and his wife, Marilyn, beaten to death in their Bay Village, Ohio home. Sheppard was convicted of her murder five months later.
July 4, 1954: Down by two goals, West Germany storms back to stun Hungary, 3-2, to win the world soccer championship at Wankdorf Stadium in Bern, Switzerland.
July 4, 1956: The motion picture of Herman Melville’s epic classic, ``Moby Dick’’, starring Gregory Peck and Orson Welles premiers at the Sutton and Criterion movie theaters in New York City.
July 4, 1963: Chicago mayor Richard Daley is booed off stage at an outdoor NAACP rally in Grant Park, following a civil rights parade down State Street. The previous week, Daley stated publicly that there were no black ghettos in Chicago, comments which sparked outrage within the black community.
July 4, 1965: The Rev. Martin Luther King calls for the end of the war in South Vietnam.
July 4, 1966: Farm workers begin to fan across Texas to protest the low minimum wage. The National Farm Workers Association (a California union) claimed Mexican-Americans, who comprise 90 percent of farm workers, are paid less than 80 cents an hour and are seeking a $1.25 minimum wage.
July 4, 1968: Speaking to a crowd gathered for an Independence Day celebration in Columbia, Calif., Gov. Ronald Reagan says that many U.S. citizens carry guns because ``they have lost faith in government’s ability to protect them.’’
July 4, 1969: Israel Galili, Israel’s Information Minister, speaking on the army radio station, expresses Israel’s intention to keep the Gaza Strip permanently. ``I believe it can said definitely that the Gaza region will not again be separated from the state of Israel.’’
July 4, 1970: Five civilians are killed, 200 injured, and more than 300 arrested after a riot breaks out between British soldiers and Roman Catholics in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
July 4, 1975: Billie Jean King disposes of Evonne Goolagong Cawley (6-0, 6-1) in 39 minutes, winning her sixth Wimbledon singles title. The Wimbledon champ announced she was retiring from major singles competition. ``What a way to end my career’’, King told the press after the match.
July 4, 1977: A Ku Klux Klan rally in Columbus, Ohio turned into a brawl, when over 100 ``fist-swinging protestors’’ charged Klan members. Three of the protestors were arrested.
July 4, 1983: Dave Righettti pitches The New York Yankees first no-hitter since September 28, 1951 in a 4-0 win over the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.
July 4, 1987: In Lyons, France, former Gestapo Chief Klaus Barbie is sentenced to life in prison for deporting hundreds of Jews and Resistance members to Nazi death camps.
July 4, 1988: The U.S. is chosen as host for the 15th World Soccer Tournament in 1994; marking the first time the World Cup will be played on American soil.
July 4, 2002: The New York Times learns of a military planning document, which calls for a U.S. attack on Iraq in order to oust Saddam Hussein involving air, land, and sea-based forces.
Source: The New York Times’ Historical Archives; ``Facts on File’’; ``20th Century: Day by Day’’ (DK Publishing Co.)