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This Day in History: February 8


1693 – The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, is granted a charter by King William III and Queen Mary II.

1837 – Richard Johnson becomes the first Vice President of the United States chosen by the United States Senate.

1865 – In the United States, Delaware voters reject the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and vote to continue the practice of slavery. (Delaware finally ratifies the amendment on February 12, 1901.)

1887 – The Dawes Act authorizes the President of the United States to survey Native American tribal land and divide it into individual allotments.

1910 – The Boy Scouts of America is incorporated by William D. Boyce.

1915 – D. W. Griffith's controversial film The Birth of a Nation premieres in Los Angeles.

1922 – United States President Warren G. Harding introduces the first radio set in the White House.

1924 – Capital punishment: The first state execution in the United States by gas chamber takes place in Nevada.

1942 – World War II: Japan invades Singapore.

1960 – The first eight brass star plaques are installed in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1963 – Travel, financial and commercial transactions by United States citizens to Cuba are made illegal by the John F. Kennedy administration.

1968 – American civil rights movement: The Orangeburg massacre: An attack on black students from South Carolina State University who are protesting racial segregation at the town's only bowling alley, leaves three or four dead in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

1971 – The NASDAQ stock market index opens for the first time.

1971 – South Vietnamese ground troops launch an incursion into Laos to try to cut off the Ho Chi Minh trail and stop communist infiltration.

1974 – After 84 days in space, the crew of Skylab 4, the last crew to visit American space station Skylab, returns to Earth.

1978 – Proceedings of the United States Senate are broadcast on radio for the first time.

1993 – General Motors sues NBC after Dateline NBC allegedly rigs two crashes intended to demonstrate that some GM pickups can easily catch fire if hit in certain places. NBC settles the lawsuit the next day.

1996 – The U.S. Congress passes the Communications Decency Act.

1996 – The massive Internet collaboration 24 Hours in Cyberspace takes place.

2013 – A blizzard disrupts transportation and leaves hundreds of thousands of people without electricity in the Northeastern United States and parts of Canada.


1817 – Richard S. Ewell, American general (d. 1872)

1820 – William Tecumseh Sherman, American general (d. 1891)

1914 – Bill Finger, American author and screenwriter, co-created Batman (d. 1974)

1930 – Arlan Stangeland, American farmer and politician (d. 2013)

1931 – James Dean, American actor (d. 1955)

1932 – John Williams, American pianist, composer, and conductor

1940 – Ted Koppel, English-American journalist

1961 – Bruce Timm, American animator and producer

1968 – Gary Coleman, American actor (d. 2010)


1936 – Charles Curtis, American lawyer and politician, 31st Vice President of the United States (b. 1860)

1956 – Connie Mack, American baseball player and manager (b. 1862)

1990 – Del Shannon, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1934)

2004 – Julius Schwartz, American journalist and author (b. 1915)