This Day in History
1888 — Jack the Ripper commits two more murders. The bodies of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes are found in the early morning hours of the 30th. From April, 1888 to February 1891, there were 11 murders in the Whitechapel district of East London. This was an area that had scores of brothels and 1,200 prostitutes. Perhaps not all of the murders were related but at least five, including Stride and Eddowes, were linked to one serial killer. The name “Jack the Ripper” was coined by the press and a letter purportedly written by him is widely considered to be a hoax generated by that press to increase newspaper circulation. The crimes were never solved nor the identity of Jack the Ripper ever known.
This was back when the sun still never set on the British Empire. When there was still a great in Great Britain. Yet prostitution was a desperate necessity for so many. That should be viewed as much a crime as some evil serial killer.
1919 — Elaine, Arkansas race riot begins. AKA Elaine Massacre. Black sharecroppers had gathered to form a union in order to demand better payments for cotton from white plantation owners. Some white men showed up to monitor the event. Who fired first is uncertain but gunfire erupted and one white man was killed. An armed white mob of 500–1000 retaliated. An army unit was sent in but instead of dispersing the mob, aided them. In the ensuing three days five white men were killed and the estimate for black victims was anywhere from 100 to 250. Over 100 black men were brought before the court with 73 being charged with murder. There were no indictments against any whites.
It was reported that there was violence committed on many sides…many sides.
1981 — Last baseball game at Metropolitan Stadium. The stadium was home to the Minneapolis Millers before the arrival of the Twins. The last game was played before 17,000 fans on a cold, rainy afternoon. The Twins lost 5–2 to Kansas City.
As a boy I first went to Met Stadium with my father to watch minor league baseball. Then I spent many a game there watching and cheering for the Twins. So I had to be there that last day to bid a reluctant farewell. At the top of the ninth all the fans spontaneously stood and clapped, yelled, whistled and stomped their feet. Bewildered players emerged from the dugouts to see what was going on. It was the only time in my life I witnessed a standing ovation for a stadium.
1631 — William Stoughton. Judge at the Salem Witch Trials. He not only acted as Chief Justice but was also the prosecutor. (Talk about a stacked deck.) Stoughton’s claim to fame was that he allowed Spectral Evidence to be used against the accused. Spectral evidence being a witness could testify that the accused shape appeared to her or him in a dream at the time the accused body was somewhere else.
That just about out-Kafka’s Kafka.
1921 — Deborah Kerr. Scottish born stage and film actress. Kerr was nominated six times for the Academy Award as best actress but never won.
Kerr starred in two of my favorite films, “From Here to Eternity” and “Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison.”
1931 — Angie Dickinson. Hollywood actress born in Kulm, North Dakota. Her family moved from Kulm to Burbank, California when she was 10 years old. In addition to numerous Hollywood movies, Dickinson starred in the very successful TV series “Police Woman”. That series was said to have been responsible for many women entering the law-enforcement field.
Of Dickinson’s many movies, the one that stands out the most for me is “Captain Newman, MD.”