Year
1952

Amy Tan’s birthday

Novelist Amy Tan is born on this day in 1952 to Chinese immigrants who came to Oakland in 1949.

Tan studied English at San Jose State and Berkeley. Although she planned an academic career, she grew bored with university life and turned to technical writing, business writing, and publishing. At age 26, she learned that her mother had three daughters from a previous marriage and journeyed to China to meet them. The experience helped inspire her first novel, The Joy Luck Club (1989), a collection of stories about three generations of Chinese and Chinese-American women. The book became a bestseller and was made into a movie in 1993.

Tan’s second novel, The Kitchen God’s Wife (1991), was followed in 1995 by The Hundred Secret Senses, which explored ghosts, past lives, and Asian vs. American values. She also wrote two children’s books and played in a band called the Rock Bottom Remainders with fellow writers Stephen King and Dave Barry.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Tiger Woods apologizes for extramarital affairs

On this day in 2010, professional golfer Tiger Woods gives a televised news conference in which he apologizes for his marital infidelities and admits to “selfish” and “foolish” behavior. The 34-year-old Woods, one of the greatest players in the history of golf as well as one of ...read more

Solzhenitsyn reunited with family

Alexander Solzhenitsyn awaits reunion with his family after exile from Russia. Publication of The Gulag Archipelago, a detailed history of the Soviet prison system, prompted Russia to exile the 55 year-old author. One of Russia’s most visible and vocal dissidents, Solzhenitsyn ...read more

Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066

Ten weeks after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066, authorizing the removal of any or all people from military areas “as deemed necessary or desirable.” The military in turn defined the entire West Coast, home to the ...read more

Copernicus born

On February 19, 1473, Nicolaus Copernicus is born in Torun, a city in north-central Poland on the Vistula River. The father of modern astronomy, he was the first modern European scientist to propose that Earth and other planets revolve around the sun. Copernicus was born into a ...read more

Aaron Burr arrested for treason

Aaron Burr, a former U.S. vice president, is arrested in Alabama on charges of plotting to annex Spanish territory in Louisiana and Mexico to be used toward the establishment of an independent republic. In November 1800, in an election conducted before presidential and ...read more

Yarborough wins fourth Daytona 500

Driver Cale Yarborough wins his fourth Daytona 500 on this day in 1984. In the history of the 200-lap, 500-mile race, which was first run at Florida’s Daytona International Speedway in 1959 and is considered one of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR)’s ...read more

Donner Party rescued

On this day in 1847, the first rescuers reach surviving members of the Donner Party, a group of California-bound emigrants stranded by snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In the summer of 1846, in the midst of a Western-bound fever sweeping the United States, 89 people–including ...read more

Marines invade Iwo Jima

On this day, Operation Detachment, the U.S. Marines’ invasion of Iwo Jima, is launched. Iwo Jima was a barren Pacific island guarded by Japanese artillery, but to American military minds, it was prime real estate on which to build airfields to launch bombing raids against Japan, ...read more

South Vietnamese coup unsuccessful

Dissident officers move several battalions of troops into Saigon on this day with the intention of ousting Gen. Nguyen Khanh from leadership. General Khanh escaped to Dalat with the aid of Air Vice Marshal Nguyen Cao Ky, commander of the South Vietnamese Air Force, who then ...read more

Chicago Seven sentenced

The Chicago Seven (formerly the Chicago Eight–one defendant, Bobby Seale, was being tried separately) are acquitted of riot conspiracy charges, but found guilty of inciting riot. The eight antiwar activists were charged with the responsibility for the violent demonstrations at ...read more

Patrick Roy gets 300th win as NHL goalie

On this day in 1996, Colorado Avalanche goaltender Patrick Roy earns his 300th win in the National Hockey League. Roy retired from hockey in 2003 with 551 career wins, a record that still stands. Patrick Roy, a native of Quebec City, Canada, was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens ...read more

FDR signs Executive Order 9066

On this day in 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066, initiating a controversial World War II policy with lasting consequences for Japanese Americans. The document ordered the removal of resident enemy aliens from parts of the West vaguely identified as ...read more

Rescuers reach Donner Party

The first rescuers from Sutter’s Fort reach the surviving remnants of the Donner emigrant party at their snowbound camp in the high Sierra Nevada Mountains. The events leading up to the Donner party tragedy began the summer before, when 89 emigrants from Springfield, Illinois, ...read more

Tornadoes strike the Southeast

On this day in 1884, an astonishing series of 37 tornadoes sweeps across the Southeast United States. The twisters, which came at a time in which there was no warning system in place to alert area residents, killed 167 people and injured another 1,000. The tornadoes began early ...read more

Francis Preston Blair, Jr., born

On this day in 1821, Union General Francis Preston Blair Jr. is born in Lexington, Kentucky. The colorful Blair was instrumental in keeping Missouri part of the Union during the early stages of the Civil War. Blair’s father served as an advisor to several presidents. His namesake ...read more