This Day In History – May 25th
JOHN T. SCOPES INDICTED FOR TEACHING EVOLUTION – MAY 25, 1925
Formally known as The State of Tennessee v. Scopes and informally known as the Scopes Monkey Trial, it was a landmark American legal case in 1925 in which high school biology teacher, John Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee’s Butler Act which made it unlawful to teach evolution.
Scopes was found guilty, but the verdict was overturned on a technicality and he was never brought back to trial. The trial drew intense national publicity, as national reporters flocked to the small town of Dayton, to cover the big-name lawyers representing each side. William Jennings Bryan, three time presidential candidate for the Democrats, argued for the prosecution, while Clarence Darrow, the famed defense attorney, spoke for Scopes.
The trial was covered by more than 200 newspaper reporters from all parts of the country and two from London. It was the first United States trial to be broadcast on national radio. Edward J. Larson, a historian, won the Pulitzer Prize for History for his book Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America’s Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion. Twenty-two telegraphers sent out 165,000 words per day on the trial over thousands of miles of telegraph wires hung for the purpose; more words were transmitted to Britain about the Scopes trial than for any previous American event. [Source: Wikipedia]
The famous lawyers Clarence Darrow (left) and William Jennings Bryan (right) during the Scopes Trial in 1925.
Photograph by Watson Davis
Photograph of John Scopes taken one month before the Tennessee v. John T. Scopes Trial
JESSE OWNES SETS 3 WORLD RECORDS IN 45 MINUTES – MAY 25, 1935
James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens (September 12, 1913 – March 31, 1980) was an American track and field athlete who specialized in the sprints and the long jump. He participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, where he achieved international fame by winning four gold medals: one each in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the long jump, and as part of the 4×100 meter relay team. He was the most successful athlete at the 1936 Summer Olympics. Just before the competitions, Owens was visited in the Olympic village by Adi Dassler, the founder of the Adidas athletic shoe company. He persuaded Owens to use Adidas shoes, the first sponsorship for a male African-American athlete.
One of Owens’s greatest achievement came in a span of 45 minutes on May 25, 1935 at the Big Ten meet in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he set three world records and tied a fourth. He equaled the world record for the 100-yard (91 m) sprint (9.4 seconds); and set world records in the long jump (26 feet 8¼ inches (8.13 m), a world record that would last 25 years); 220-yard (201.2 m) sprint (20.3 seconds); and 220-yard (201.2m) low hurdles (22.6 seconds, becoming the first to break 23 seconds). In 2005, NBC sports announcer Bob Costas and University of Central Florida professor of sports history Richard C. Crepeau both chose these wins on one day as the most impressive athletic achievement since 1850. [Source: Wikipedia]
Photograph by Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-G00630 / CC-BY-SA
Jesse Owens on the podium after winning the long jump at the 1936 Summer Olympics. L-R, on podium, Naoto Tajima, Owens, Luz Long.
FIRST ASCENT OF KANGCHENJUNGA – MAY 25, 1955
Photograph by Tom Barker
Kangchenjunga, in the Himalayan Range, is the third highest mountain in the world after Mount Everest and K2, with an elevation of 8,586 m (28,169 ft). Kangchenjunga means “The Five Treasures of Snows”, as it contains five peaks, four of them over 8,450 m (27,720 ft). The treasures represent the five repositories of God, which are gold, silver, gems, grain, and holy books.
Until 1852, Kangchenjunga was assumed to be the highest mountain in the world, but calculations made by the British Great Trigonometric Survey in 1849 came to the conclusion that Mount Everest (known as Peak XV at the time) was the highest and Kangchenjunga the third-highest. Kangchenjunga was first climbed on May 25, 1955 by Joe Brown and George Band, who were part of a British expedition. The British expedition honoured the beliefs of the Sikkimese, who hold the summit sacred, by stopping a few feet short of the actual summit. Most successful summit parties since then have followed this tradition. [Source: Wikipedia]
Photograph by Aaron Ostrovsky
PRESIDENT KENNEDY ADDRESSES CONGRESS TO PUT A MAN ON THE MOON – MAY 25, 1961
Photograph by NASA
The Apollo program was the United States spaceflight effort which landed the first humans on Earth’s Moon. Conceived during the Eisenhower administration and conducted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Apollo began in earnest after President John F. Kennedy’s May 25, 1961 address to Congress declaring his belief in a national goal of “landing a man on the Moon” by the end of the decade in a competition with the Soviet Union for supremacy in space.
“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important in the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.” —John F. Kennedy
This goal was first accomplished during the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969 when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed, while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit. Five subsequent Apollo missions also landed astronauts on the Moon, the last in December 1972. In these six Apollo spaceflights, 12 men walked on the Moon. These are the only times humans have landed on another celestial body. [Source: Wikipedia]
Photograph by NASA
STAR WARS OPENING DAY – MAY 25, 1977
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released as Star Wars, is a 1977 American film, written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga. Produced with a budget of $11 million and released on May 25, 1977, the film went on to earn $460 million in the United States and $337 million overseas, surpassing Jaws as the ‘highest-grossing film of all time’ at the time. Among the many awards the film received, it gained ten Academy Award nominations, winning six; the nominations included Best Supporting Actor for Alec Guinness and Best Picture. [Source: Wikipedia]
AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHT 191 CRASHES – MAY 25, 1979
American Airlines Flight 191 was a regularly-scheduled passenger flight from O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, to Los Angeles International Airport. On May 25, 1979, the McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 operating the route crashed moments after takeoff from Chicago. All 258 passengers and 13 crew on board were killed, along with two persons on the ground. The accident remains the deadliest airliner accident to occur on United States soil.
Investigators found that as the jet was beginning its takeoff rotation, engine number one on the left (port) wing separated and flipped over the top of the wing. As the engine separated from the aircraft, it severed hydraulic fluid lines and damaged the left wing, resulting in a retraction of the slats. As the jet attempted to climb, the left wing aerodynamically stalled while the right wing, with its slats still deployed, continued to produce lift. The jetliner subsequently rolled to the left and reached a bank angle of 112 degrees (partially inverted), before impacting in an open field near a trailer park located near the end of the runway. The engine separation was attributed to damage to the pylon rigging structure holding the engine to the wing caused by inadequate maintenance procedures at American Airlines. Other contributing factors were the vulnerability of the design of the pylon attach points to damage during maintenance and the fact the FAA failed to identify these faults in maintenance procedures.
While maintenance issues and not the actual design of the aircraft would ultimately be found responsible for the crash, the accident and subsequent grounding of all DC-10s by the Federal Aviation Administration added to an already negative perception of the jet in the eyes of the public caused by other unrelated accidents. [Source: Wikipedia]