Hoosier History: On This Day, February 2


American singer and actor Frank Sinatra (1915 – 1998) (2nd from L) laughs during a performance with musician and bandleader Tommy Dorsey (1905 -1956) (L), the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and a group of backup singers, c. 1941. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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Today is Saturday, Feb. 2, the 33rd day of 2019. There are 332 days left in the year.

Today’s Hoosier Highlights in History:

On Feb. 2, 1940, Frank Sinatra’s singing debut with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra takes place at the Lyric Theater in Indianapolis.

Jack Dillon. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

On Feb. 2, 1891, boxer Ernes Cutler Price, aka Jack Dillon, is born in Frankfurt, Indiana. He would be the Light Heavyweight Champion of the World from 1914-1916. Dillon was often referred to as “Jack the Giant Killer” for his ability to handle the most dangerous heavyweights of his era. Ring Magazine ranked Dillon as the #3 Light Heavyweight of all-time and he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1995.

Pacers players Mike Flynn (44) and Billy Knight (25) look to rebound the basketball during a game against the San Diego Sails in the last season of the American Basketball Association (ABA). (Photo: Indiana Historical Society)

On Feb. 2, 1967, “the American Basketball Association formed to rival the National Basketball Association. The Indiana Pacers were an inaugural franchise and played in the league for its entire nine years of operation. The Pacers won three league championships while in the ABA. The ABA Pacers featured several Naismith Hall of Famers, including Coach Bobby “Slick” Leonard, two-time league MVP Mel Daniels, Indianapolis Washington High School and IU product George McGinnis, and playoff MVP Roger Brown. The ABA dissolved in 1976 and the NBA absorbed four ABA teams, including the Pacers, New Jersey Nets, Denver Nuggets, and San Antonio Spurs,” according to the Indiana Historical Bureau.

Self portrait of Henry Jackson Lewis. (Photo: Library of Congress)

On Feb. 2, 1889, “an issue of African American newspaper the Indianapolis Freeman contained its earliest known work of political cartoonist Henry Jackson Lewis. The partially-blind former slave from Mississippi is considered the first African-American political cartoonist. After sketching prehistoric Native American mounds for the Smithsonian Institute, he moved to Indianapolis, where he utilized woodblocks and chalk-plates to create political cartoons for the Freeman. Many of Lewis’s works illuminated the failure of politicians to provide African Americans with job opportunities, particularly Hoosier President Benjamin Harrison,” according to the Indiana Historical Bureau.

On this date elsewhere:

In 1653, New Amsterdam _ now New York City _ was incorporated.

In 1887, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, held its first Groundhog Day festival.

In 1914, Charles Chaplin made his movie debut as the comedy short “Making a Living” was released by Keystone Film Co. The musical “Shameen Dhu,” featuring the song “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral,” opened on Broadway.

In 1925, the legendary Alaska Serum Run ended as the last of a series of dog mushers brought a life-saving treatment to Nome, the scene of a diphtheria epidemic, six days after the drug left Nenana.

In 1932, Duke Ellington and His Orchestra recorded “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” for Brunswick Records.

In 1942, a Los Angeles Times column by W.H. Anderson urged security measures against Japanese-Americans, arguing that a Japanese-American “almost inevitably … grows up to be a Japanese, not an American.”

In 1943, the remainder of Nazi forces from the Battle of Stalingrad surrendered in a major victory for the Soviets in World War II.

In 1948, President Harry S. Truman sent a 10-point civil rights program to Congress, where the proposals ran into fierce opposition from southern lawmakers.

In 1964, Ranger 6, a lunar probe launched by NASA, crashed onto the surface of the moon as planned, but failed to send back any TV images.

In 1971, Idi Amin, having seized power in Uganda, proclaimed himself president.

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan pressed his case for additional aid to the Nicaraguan Contras a day ahead of a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives. (The three major broadcast TV networks declined to carry the speech, which was covered by CNN; a divided House voted to reject Reagan’s request for $36.2 million in new aid.)

In 1990, in a dramatic concession to South Africa’s black majority, President F.W. de Klerk lifted a ban on the African National Congress and promised to free Nelson Mandela.

In 2002, inside the World Economic Forum in New York, foreign economic leaders criticized the United States for protectionist policies while outside, thousands of protesters demonstrated against global capitalism.

Ten years ago: Hillary Rodham Clinton was sworn in as U.S. secretary of state. The Senate confirmed Eric Holder, 75-21, to be attorney general. President Barack Obama’s choice for health secretary, Tom Daschle, apologized for failing to pay more than $120,000 in taxes. (Daschle ended up withdrawing his nomination.) Gunmen abducted American U.N. worker John Solecki in Quetta, Pakistan, killing his driver. (Solecki was released unharmed two months later.) Moammar Gadhafi of Libya was elected leader of the African Union. Iran sent its first domestically made satellite, Omid (”hope”), into orbit.

Five years ago: Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46, was found dead in his New York apartment from a combination of heroin, cocaine and other drugs. The Seattle Seahawks won their first Super Bowl title, crushing the favored Denver Broncos 43-8.

One year ago: At the sentencing hearing in Michigan for former sports doctor Larry Nassar, a distraught father of three girls who’d been sexually abused tried to attack Nassar before being tackled by sheriff’s deputies and hauled out of court. (Randall Margraves later apologized; the judge said there was “no way” she would fine him or send him to jail for trying to attack Nassar.) The Dow industrials fell more than 650 points as the stock market completed its worst week in two years amid fears of inflation and disappointing quarterly results from technology and energy giants.

Today’s Birthdays: Former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing (val-eh-REE’ ZHEES’-kahr deh-STANG’) is 93. Comedian Tom Smothers is 82. Rock singer-guitarist Graham Nash is 77. Television executive Barry Diller is 77. Actor Bo Hopkins is 75. Country singer Howard Bellamy (The Bellamy Brothers) is 73. TV chef Ina (EE’-nuh) Garten is 71. Actor Jack McGee is 70. Actor Brent Spiner (SPY’-nur) is 70. Rock musician Ross Valory (Journey) is 70. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is 67. The former president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye (goon-hay), is 67. Model Christie Brinkley is 65. Actor Michael Talbott is 64. Actress Kim Zimmer is 64. Actor Michael T. Weiss is 57. Actor-comedian Adam Ferrara is 53. Rock musician Robert DeLeo (Army of Anyone; Stone Temple Pilots) is 53. Actress Jennifer Westfeldt is 49. Rock musician Ben Mize is 48. Rapper T-Mo is 47. Actress Marissa Jaret Winokur is 46. Actress Lori Beth Denberg is 43. Rock musician Jesse Siebenberg (Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real) is 43. Singer Shakira is 42. Actor Rich Sommer is 41. Country singer Blaine Larsen is 33. Actress Zosia (ZAH’-shuh) Mamet is 31.

(The Indiana State Museum, the Indiana Historical Bureau and the Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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