July 21, 1961
JFK WATCHES GRISSOM’S RETURN TO EARTH
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy watched live television coverage today at the White House as Gus Grissom’s sub-orbital space flight ended with splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.
While the flight itself was deemed a success, NASA officials were more than concerned about the sinking of Grissom’s capsule, “Liberty Bell 7”, during the recovery process.
In the afternoon, JFK signed into law “HR 6874” authorizing the establishment of the National Aeronautics & Space Administration.
Astronaut Gus Grissom
Liberty Bell 7
July 21, 1962
JFK ASKS RFK TO INVESTIGATE ALBANY DEMONSTRATION
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy filed a request with the Attorney General, his brother Robert F. Kennedy, today to investigate the civil rights demonstration that took place less than 2 weeks ago in Albany, Georgia.
As a result of the demonstration, civil rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. & Rev. Ralph Abernathy were arrested & put in jail.
July 21, 1955
EISENHOWER PRESENTS “OPEN SKIES”
Geneva, Switzerland (JFK+50) United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower presented his “Open Skies” proposals here today at the Geneva Summit.
The proposals call for both the United States & Soviet Union to exchange maps detailing the exact location of all military installations.
They also provide that once the maps are “in hand” both nations may conduct aerial flights over the installations of each others country to make sure they are in compliance with arms control agreements.
Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, not impressed with the proposals, said they are just an example of American propaganda.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Official White House Portrait
July 21, 1925
SCOPES FOUND GUILTY IN DAYTON,TENNESSEE
Dayton, Tennessee (JFK+50) Rhea County High School science teacher & coach, John Thomas Scopes, was found guilty today of violating Tennessee’s Butler Act.
The Butler Act, passed earlier this year, provides that the teaching of the theory of evolution is illegal in the public schools of the state of Tennessee.
The prosecution of the Scopes case was assisted by 3 time Democratic presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan who is also a religious fundamentalist.
The defense, sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union, was provided by Clarence Darrow.*
*Despite being found guilty, Scopes was fined only $100 & the fine was never paid. Upon appeal, the guilty plea was reversed due to a technicality.
The Butler Act remained on the statute books of Tennessee until 1967.
Darrow & Bryan
Rhea County Court House
July 21, 1861
UNION ARMY IN RETREAT AFTER DEFEAT AT BULL RUN
Manassas Junction, Virginia (JFK+50) The Union Army under General Irwin McDowell was routed today in the 1st major battle of the War Between the States.
The Confederate army under General P.G.T. Beauregard drove the Federals across Bull Run Creek & back to Washington.
The turning point in the battle came on Henry House Hill where the Union attack was suddenly stopped by the Virginia troops led by General Thomas Jonathan Jackson.
Calling out to some of the Rebels who were in retreat, General Bernard Bee said:
“Look, there’s Jackson standing like a stone wall. Rally behind the Virginians.”
From that point on, the Union Army’s advance quickly turned into retreat.*
*Thomas Jonathan Jackson will go on to become General Robert E. Lee’s right hand man & he would forever be known as “Stonewall Jackson”.
Statue of Stonewall Jackson
Manassas National Battlefield Park
Photo by MamaGeek (2009)