This Day in History – July 20th – Hijinx, Humor, and Insight

***

NewsWhistle is pleased to feature Gary Jenneke’s “This Day In History” column.

You can read the original at Gary’s THIS DAY IN HISTORY blog — or scroll down to enjoy Gary’s unique look at life’s comings and goings.

***

THIS DAY IN HISTORY… JULY 20

***

1881 – Sitting Bull surrenders.

Five years after Little Big Horn the famous Sioux chief and his followers returned from Canada and surrendered to U.S. authorities. Sitting Bull had been a spiritual influence at the battle that wiped out Custer’s 7th Cavalry and had been pursued by the U.S. Army since. He was held as a prisoner for two years, then allowed to live on the Standing Rock reservation. He traveled for one year with Buffalo Bill’s wild west show before returning to Standing Rock. There he became influential in the rise of the “Ghost Dance,” a spiritual Native American movement that unnerved whites. In an attempt to take him into custody, Native American police shot and killed Sitting Bull on December 15th, 1890. There is uncertainty what took place at the arrest. By some accounts Sitting Bull’s warriors started it by shooting a policeman. Others suggest the Army director of Standing Rock reservation had given orders to shoot to kill at the slightest provocation.

I sincerely doubt it could be the latter given the U.S. government’s history of noble, forthright and honest dealings with its Native American population.

***

1934 – Minneapolis Truckers Strike.

July 20th would become known as Bloody Friday. The strike had begun on May 16th and was effective in shutting down all commercial trucking in Minneapolis. No goods or products were being moved or delivered. The only exception was produce, as farmers were allowed to deliver directly to grocers. The strike centered around an area filled with warehouses, warehouses that now have been turned into condos or artist studios. Employees of the businesses hurt most by the strike were organized into the Citizens Alliance. They were deputized to bolster the ranks of police in trying to break the strike. Right from the start, the strike was marked by violent street clashes, with the strikers mostly getting the upper hand. Fighting was with with clubs and bats as two of the deputized police were killed and dozens on both sides injured. Other unions joined the truckers in sympathy and all commerce in Minneapolis was shut down. The national offices of the AFL and CIO sent money in support of the strike.

Bloody Friday erupted when one single truck, guarded by fifty policemen, drove into the warehouse district to make a delivery. Blocked by a truckload of strikers, the police opened fire. When the shooting was over two strikers were dead and sixty-seven wounded. Governor Floyd Olsen, although his sympathies were with the strikers, had to send in the National Guard to maintain peace. Although goods began moving again, the Citizens Alliance iron grip on the city was broken and Minneapolis became a union town. 100,000 people showed up for the funeral of Henry Ness, one of the slain strikers. Here is part of what Meridel LeSueur wrote about that experience. “We passed through six blocks of tenements, through a sea of grim faces, and there was not a sound. There was a curious shuffle of thousands of feet, without drum or bugle, in ominous silence, not heavy as the military, but very light, exactly with the heart beat.”

In my February 22nd post I recounted being on a picnic with Meridel and her telling us about the Minneapolis Truckers Strike. There is also a good book about it, “Teamsters Rebellion” by Farrell Dobbs.

***

1969 – Moon landing.

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” were the words Neil Armstrong spoke as he became the first person to step foot on the moon. The whole world was watching as less than a decade after JFK’s challenge in his inaugural address, the United States landed a man on the moon.

I was in my final quarter of college that summer before receiving my B.A. degree. A number of us had gathered at my apartment to watch the moon landing. Babe, Zerk, Rodney, Baby Doug and myself, AKA Bunk. Apparently we were into nicknames. After witnessing the landing we decided to head downtown to the Press Bar to properly celebrate such an epic moment in history. As we stepped from the apartment the moon hung huge in the sky. We all looked up and Babe said, “Just think, Armstrong just planted the flag there.” Still looking up, Rodney said, “Good thing he didn’t drop it.”

***

Birthdays:

1919 – Edmund Hillary.

Mountaineer, humanitarian. Along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, they were the first two people to stand on the roof of the world, Mt. Everest. By mutual consent they never revealed which, if either, was the first man to reach the peak. A New Zealander, Hillary gained instant worldwide fame. He is still known as the most famous Kiwi to have ever lived. Hillary spent much of the rest of his life working to improve the living conditions of the Sherpas of the Himalayas. He raised funds to build schools and hospitals in the mountains. Hillary continued to explore and reached both the South and North Poles. A humble man, he was also a beekeeper in New Zealand. Hillary died in Auckland, NZ in 2008.

Norgay and Hillary might have been the 3rd and 4th to summit the famous peak. In 1924 Englishmen George Mallory and Andrew Irvine were last seen 800 feet from the peak. There is some speculation they made it to the top and died on their descent. Research continues on this theory.

***

1940 – Tony Oliva.

Baseball player. From Cuba, Tony played fifteen seasons in the major leagues, all with the Minnesota Twins. He was Rookie of the Year in 1964 and won the American League batting championship three times. Severe knee injuries forced him into the role of designated hitter in the latter stages of his career. Some consider Oliva the best player in baseball not in the Hall of Fame.

In 2019 I’m at Target Field watching the Twins with my friend Stan. We see Tony sitting a couple of rows behind us. Stan asks if we can have our picture taken with him. Tony graciously poses with us. We go back to watching the game and a couple of innings later a woman comes down the steps carrying a full cup of beer. She is a bit tipsy and somehow manages to spill more than a little beer on me. She doesn’t even realize it as she returns to her seat. An usher approaches and asks if I want any action taken against the woman. I decline, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. About a minute later somebody touches my arm. I turn, it is Tony. He smiles and says, “Now everybody’s gonna think you’re the one who’s drunk.” Besides being a nice man, he remains one of my favorite Twins player.

***

ABOUT GARY JENNEKE

At various junctures of his life, Gary has been an indifferent grade school student, poor high school student, good Navy radioman, one-time hippie, passable college student, inveterate traveler, dedicated writer, miscast accountant (except for one interesting stint at a Communist café), part-time screenwriting teacher, semi-proud veteran, unsuccessful retiree and new blogger.

You can reach him at gary@newswhistle.com.

***

CREDITS

The above information was sourced from the following sites and newspapers.

Sources:

OnThisDay.com

History.com

MinnPost.com

Meridel LeSueur

NZHistory.govt.nz

***

We’d also like to thank the following photographers and videographers for the use of their images:

* Lead-In Image (Moon Landing) – Photo by History in HD on Unsplash – ” Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin walks on the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969, in a photograph taken by Neil Armstrong.”

history-in-hd-e5eDHbmHprg-unsplash-embed

* Sitting Bull Relative (video) – Buffalo Bill Center of the West / YouTube.com

* Moon Landing (footage) – NASA / YouTube.com

* Sir Edmund Hillary (video) – CBC / YouTube.com

* Tony Oliva (video) – HiawathaBroadband / YouTube.com

* Outro (Man-In-Museum Cartoon) – SkyPics Studio / Shutterstock.com

***

OTHER DAYS IN HISTORY …

December 2

December 3

December 5

December 8

* December 9

December 11

December 12

* December 13

* December 15

December 16

December 18

* December 19

December 22

December 23

December 24

December 25

December 28

January 1

January 3

* January 4

January 6

January 7

January 8

January 11

* January 12

* January 14

January 15

January 17

January 19

January 22

January 23

January 24

January 28

January 29

February 1

February 2

February 3

February 5

* February 9

February 10

* February 12

February 14

February 15

February 20

February 21

February 22

February 25

February 28

February 29

March 2

March 4

March 6

* March 9

March 11

March 12

March 14

March 15

March 17

March 19

March 21

March 22

March 23

March 27

March 28

March 29

April 2

April 3

April 4

April 6

April 9

* April 11

April 13

April 16

April 18

April 21

April 22

April 23

April 26

April 28

April 29

May 1

May 2

* May 3

May 5

May 6

May 9

May 10

May 11

* May 13

May 16

May 17

* May 22

May 24

May 26

May 27

* May 28

May 29

May 31

June 1

June 3

June 4

June 8

June 10

June 11

June 13

June 16

June 17

June 18

June 21

June 22

June 24

June 27

June 28

June 29

July 2

July 3

* July 4

July 9

July 10

July 13

July 14

July 15

* July 19

July 23

July 25

July 30

July 31

* August 3

August 7

August 10

August 11

August 16

August 17

August 21

August 24

August 25

* August 28

August 31

September 2

September 5

September 6

September 8

September 11

September 12

September 15

September 16 

September 17

September 21

September 23

September 25

September 26

September 27

September 30

October 1

October 3

October 4

October 5

October 7

October 10

October 11

* October 12

October 14

October 15

October 16

October 18

October 20

October 24

October 25

October 26

October 27

October 30

October 31

November 1

November 3

* November 4

November 5

November 6

November 8

November 9

November 10

November 11

November 13

November 14

November 15

November 16

* November 17

November 18

* November 19

November 20

November 23

November 24

November 26

November 28

November 29

November 30

* Stay tuned for more!

this-day-in-history-outro