Year
1949

Cornerstone laid at Washington’s Islamic Center

On Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C., the cornerstone is laid at the first mosque of note in the United States. Intended to serve as a national mosque for all American Muslims, the Islamic Center was built in a traditional Arabic architectural style, complete with a 160-foot minaret from which prayers were to be announced. A colonnade cloister joined the mosque to two wings containing a library, classrooms, a museum, and administrative offices. In the basement of the mosque was an auditorium built to accommodate several hundred people. The Islamic Center’s first director was Dr. Mahmoud Hoballah.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Van der Sloot admits to Peru murder

On this day in 2012, Joran van der Sloot, a longtime suspect in the unsolved 2005 disappearance of American teen Natalee Holloway in Aruba, pleads guilty to the murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores, in Lima, Peru. Flores was killed on May 30, 2010, exactly five years to the day ...read more

Miep Gies, who hid Anne Frank, dies at 100

On this day in 2010, Miep Gies, the last survivor of a small group of people who helped hide a Jewish girl, Anne Frank, and her family from the Nazis during World War II, dies at age 100 in the Netherlands. After the Franks were discovered in 1944 and sent to concentration camps, ...read more

Stalin banishes Trotsky

Leon Trotsky, a leader of the Bolshevik revolution and early architect of the Soviet state, is deported by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to Alma-Ata in remote Soviet Central Asia. He lived there in internal exile for a year before being banished from the USSR forever by Stalin. ...read more

French forces occupy Corfu

To provide a safe and stable haven for the growing number of refugees pouring out of the devastated Balkan state of Serbia, French forces take formal military control of the Greek island of Corfu on this day in 1916. The northernmost of a string of islands in the Ionian Sea, ...read more

Diem issues Ordinance No. 6

South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem issues Ordinance No. 6, allowing the internment of former Viet Minh members and others “considered as dangerous to national defense and common security.” The Viet Minh was a largely communist organization that overthrew French colonial ...read more

Demonstrations erupt in Saigon and Hue

Major cities–especially Saigon and Hue–and much of central Vietnam are disrupted by demonstrations and strikes led by Buddhists. Refusing to accept any government headed by Tran Van Huong, who they saw as a puppet of the United States, the Buddhists turned against U.S. ...read more

American League adopts designated hitter rule

On January 11, 1973,the owners of America’s 24 major league baseball teams vote to allow teams in theAmerican League (AL) to use a “designated pinch-hitter” that could bat for the pitcher, while still allowing the pitcher to stay in the game. The idea of adding a 10th man to the ...read more

Grand Canyon National Monument is created

Declaring that “The ages had been at work on it, and man can only mar it,” President Theodore Roosevelt designates the mighty Grand Canyon a national monument. Home to Native Americans for centuries, the first European to see the vast brightly colored spectacle of the Grand ...read more

Charlie Chaplin’s assets frozen

On January 11, 1927, Charlie Chaplin’s $16 million estate is frozen by court receivers after his second wife, Lita Grey Chaplin, sues for divorce. Lita was a 16-year-old hopeful actress when the 35-year-old Chaplin married her in 1924. The bitter and prolonged divorce ended a ...read more

Flash flood in Rio

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, more than 10 inches of rain falls in 12 hours on this day in 1966, causing a flash flood. Four hundred people were killed and 50,000 needed to be evacuated due to the sudden influx of water The rains, which were the heaviest to hit the area in more than ...read more

Reagan gives his farewell address

After eight years as president of the United States, Ronald Reagan gives his farewell address to the American people. In his speech, President Reagan spoke with particular enthusiasm about the foreign policy achievements of his administration. In his speech, Reagan declared that ...read more

Violence erupts at GM plant strike

On this day in 1937, nearly two weeks into a sit-down strike by General Motors (GM) auto workers at the Fisher Body Plant No. 2 in Flint, Michigan, a riot breaks out when police try to prevent the strikers from receiving food deliveries from supporters on the outside. Strikers ...read more

Battle of Arkansas Post

On this day in 1863, Union General John McClernand and Admiral David Porter capture Arkansas Post, a Confederate stronghold on the Arkansas River. The victory secured central Arkansas for the Union and lifted Northern morale just three weeks after the disastrous Battle of ...read more