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USS St. Lo explodes after being hit by a kamikaze aircraft during Battle of Leyte Gulf

Battle of Leyte Gulf

From October 23–26, 1944, the Japanese navy unsuccessfully went up against the U.S. navy off the coast of the Philippines in one of the largest naval battles in history. The Japanese loss at Leyte Gulf would give the Americans unchallenged dominance in the Pacific for the rest of World War II. Background & Objectives The …Read More

The Currier & Ives lithograph showing people fleeing the Great Chicago Fire of 1871

Great Chicago Fire

The Great Chicago Fire burned October 8 to 10, 1871, in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago, with its frequent high winds and countless wooden structures, was prone to fires even before the “Great Fire” tore through the city. However, none was so destructive as this one. It ultimately killed 300 people and destroyed more than 17,000 buildings. …Read More

Jackie Robinson, 1954

Jackie Robinson

Jack Roosevelt Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was born in Cairo, Georgia, but grew up in southern California. He attended UCLA, where he participated in football, basketball, track, and baseball. From 1942 to 1944, during World War II, Robinson served with the U.S. Army. Afterward, he briefly played baseball for the Negro …Read More

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Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells-Barnett (July 16, 1862–March 25, 1931) was an American journalist and activist, particularly known for her anti-lynching work.  Early Life Ida Bell Wells was born in 1862 to enslaved parents in Holly Springs, Mississippi. After emancipation, her family remained in Mississippi; but when Wells was 16, her parents and a younger brother died …Read More

Destroyed buildings after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871

Great Chicago Fire (Chicago Tribune Edition)

The Great Chicago Fire burned October 8 to 10, 1871, in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago, with its frequent high winds and countless wooden structures, was prone to fires even before the “Great Fire” tore through the city. However, none were so destructive as this one. It ultimately killed 300 people and destroyed more than 17,000 buildings.  …Read More

Opening Day of Walt Disney World

Opening Day of Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World Resort, located near Orlando, Florida, opened to the public on October 1, 1971. Background After the success of California’s Disneyland, Walt Disney decided to launch a larger, more ambitious project in the eastern United States and began quietly acquiring roughly 27,000 acres of land in Central Florida. He officially announced the project …Read More

Smithsonian Institution "Castle," circa 1860-1880

Founding of the Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian Institution (a complex of national museums and research centers in the United States) was founded on August 10, 1846, through legislation signed by President James Polk. The cornerstone of the main building was laid in 1847. Smithson Bequest The initial money for the Smithsonian was provided by a bequest in the will of …Read More

Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington

Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856 – November 14, 1915) was an American educator, author, and speaker. One of the most influential Black leaders of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Washington was also a pivotal figure at the Tuskegee Institute. Childhood & Education Booker was born in Virginia in 1856 to an enslaved …Read More

442nd Regimental Combat Team in France in late 1944

442nd Regimental Combat Team

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was a World War II U.S. Army regiment composed almost entirely of second-generation Japanese Americans, known as Nisei. It was the most decorated unit relative to size and service length in U.S. military history. Formation The predecessor of the 442nd was the 100th Infantry Battalion, formed in June 1942 predominantly …Read More

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