History Podcasts

March 30, 2017 Day 70 of the First Year - History

March 30, 2017 Day 70 of the First Year - History

10:30AM THE PRESIDENT receives his daily intelligence briefing

Oval Office

11:00AM THE PRESIDENT meets with Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin

Oval Office

12:00PM THE PRESIDENT hosts a legislative affairs lunch on opioid and drug abuse

Roosevelt Room

3:00PM THE PRESIDENT welcomes Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen of Denmark

Stakeout

3:10PM THE PRESIDENT meets with Prime Minister Rasmussen

Oval Office

3:25PM THE PRESIDENT leads an expanded bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Rasmussen

Cabinet Room


Mortgage Rates History 1980 through 2017

The National Average Contract Mortgage Rate is derived from the Federal Housing Finance Board's Monthly Interest Rate Survey (MIRS). Prior to October 1989, this survey was conducted for many years by the former Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB). The series is the average contract rate reported by a sample of mortgage lenders -- savings and loan associations, savings banks, commercial banks, and mortgage companies -- for loans closed during the first 5 working days of the month up through October 1991 and for the last 5 working days of the month since November 1991. The rate is based on conventional fixed- and adjustable-rate loans on previously occupied nonfarm single-family homes. The series trails interest-rate trends both because of the processing time and the fact that the rate on a loan closed often reflects a rate commitment made two or three months earlier.

Up-to-date information on this series is available on a recorded message on
(202) 408-2940.


Timeline: Key Moments in Black History

By Borgna Brunner and Infoplease Staff

Photograph of newspaper
advertisement from the 1780s

The first African slaves arrive in Virginia.

Lucy Terry, an enslaved person in 1746, becomes the earliest known black American poet when she writes about the last American Indian attack on her village of Deerfield, Massachusetts. Her poem, Bar's Fight, is not published until 1855.

An illustration of Wheatley
from her book

Phillis Wheatley's book Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral is published, making her the first African American to do so.

Slavery is made illegal in the Northwest Territory. The U.S Constitution states that Congress may not ban the slave trade until 1808.

Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin greatly increases the demand for slave labor.

Poster advertising $100 reward
for runaway slaves from 1860

A federal fugitive slave law is enacted, providing for the return slaves who had escaped and crossed state lines.

Gabriel Prosser, an enslaved African-American blacksmith, organizes a slave revolt intending to march on Richmond, Virginia. The conspiracy is uncovered, and Prosser and a number of the rebels are hanged. Virginia's slave laws are consequently tightened.

Congress bans the importation of slaves from Africa.

The Missouri Compromise bans slavery north of the southern boundary of Missouri.

Denmark Vesey, an enslaved African-American carpenter who had purchased his freedom, plans a slave revolt with the intent to lay siege on Charleston, South Carolina. The plot is discovered, and Vesey and 34 coconspirators are hanged.

The American Colonization Society, founded by Presbyterian minister Robert Finley, establishes the colony of Monrovia (which would eventually become the country of Liberia) in western Africa. The society contends that the immigration of blacks to Africa is an answer to the problem of slavery as well as to what it feels is the incompatibility of the races. Over the course of the next forty years, about 12,000 slaves are voluntarily relocated.

Nat Turner, an enslaved African-American preacher, leads the most significant slave uprising in American history. He and his band of followers launch a short, bloody, rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia. The militia quells the rebellion, and Turner is eventually hanged. As a consequence, Virginia institutes much stricter slave laws.

William Lloyd Garrison begins publishing the Liberator, a weekly paper that advocates the complete abolition of slavery. He becomes one of the most famous figures in the abolitionist movement.

On July 2, 1839, 53 African slaves on board the slave ship the Amistad revolted against their captors, killing all but the ship's navigator, who sailed them to Long Island, N.Y., instead of their intended destination, Africa. Joseph Cinqu was the group's leader. The slaves aboard the ship became unwitting symbols for the antislavery movement in pre-Civil War United States. After several trials in which local and federal courts argued that the slaves were taken as kidnap victims rather than merchandise, the slaves were acquitted. The former slaves aboard the Spanish vessel Amistad secured passage home to Africa with the help of sympathetic missionary societies in 1842.

The Wilmot Proviso, introduced by Democratic representative David Wilmot of Pennsylvania, attempts to ban slavery in territory gained in the Mexican War. The proviso is blocked by Southerners, but continues to enflame the debate over slavery.

Frederick Douglass launches his abolitionist newspaper.

Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery and becomes one of the most effective and celebrated leaders of the Underground Railroad.

The continuing debate whether territory gained in the Mexican War should be open to slavery is decided in the Compromise of 1850: California is admitted as a free state, Utah and New Mexico territories are left to be decided by popular sovereignty, and the slave trade in Washington, DC, is prohibited. It also establishes a much stricter fugitive slave law than the original, passed in 1793.

Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin is published. It becomes one of the most influential works to stir anti-slavery sentiments.

Congress passes the Kansas-Nebraska Act, establishing the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. The legislation repeals the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and renews tensions between anti- and proslavery factions.

The Dred Scott case holds that Congress does not have the right to ban slavery in states and, furthermore, that slaves are not citizens.

John Brown and 21 followers capture the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Va. (now W. Va.), in an attempt to launch a slave revolt.

The Confederacy is founded when the deep South secedes, and the Civil War begins.

President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring "that all persons held as slaves" within the Confederate states "are, and henceforward shall be free."

Congress establishes the Freedmen's Bureau to protect the rights of newly emancipated blacks (March).

The Ku Klux Klan is formed in Tennessee by ex-Confederates (May).

Slavery in the United States is effectively ended when 250,000 slaves in Texas finally receive the news that the Civil War had ended two months earlier (June 19).

Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, prohibiting slavery (Dec. 6).

Black codes are passed by Southern states, drastically restricting the rights of newly freed slaves.

A series of Reconstruction acts are passed, carving the former Confederacy into five military districts and guaranteeing the civil rights of freed slaves.

Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, defining citizenship. Individuals born or naturalized in the United States are American citizens, including those born as slaves. This nullifies the Dred Scott Case (1857), which had ruled that blacks were not citizens.

Howard University's law school becomes the country's first black law school.

Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, giving blacks the right to vote.

Hiram Revels of Mississippi is elected the country's first African-American senator. During Reconstruction, sixteen blacks served in Congress and about 600 served in states legislatures.

Reconstruction ends in the South. Federal attempts to provide some basic civil rights for African Americans quickly erode.

The Black Exodus takes place, in which tens of thousands of African Americans migrated from southern states to Kansas.

Spelman College, the first college for black women in the U.S., is founded by Sophia B. Packard and Harriet E. Giles.

Booker T. Washington founds the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama. The school becomes one of the leading schools of higher learning for African Americans, and stresses the practical application of knowledge. In 1896, George Washington Carver begins teaching there as director of the department of agricultural research, gaining an international reputation for his agricultural advances.

Plessy v. Ferguson: This landmark Supreme Court decision holds that racial segregation is constitutional, paving the way for the repressive Jim Crow laws in the South.

W.E.B. DuBois founds the Niagara movement, a forerunner to the NAACP. The movement is formed in part as a protest to Booker T. Washington's policy of accommodation to white society the Niagara movement embraces a more radical approach, calling for immediate equality in all areas of American life.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is founded in New York by prominent black and white intellectuals and led by W.E.B. Du Bois. For the next half century, it would serve as the country's most influential African-American civil rights organization, dedicated to political equality and social justice In 1910, its journal, The Crisis, was launched. Among its well known leaders were James Weldon Johnson, Ella Baker, Moorfield Storey, Walter White, Roy Wilkins, Benjamin Hooks, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Julian Bond, and Kwesi Mfume.

Marcus Garvey establishes the Universal Negro Improvement Association, an influential black nationalist organization "to promote the spirit of race pride" and create a sense of worldwide unity among blacks.

The Harlem Renaissance flourishes in the 1920s and 1930s. This literary, artistic, and intellectual movement fosters a new black cultural identity.

Nine black youths are indicted in Scottsboro, Ala., on charges of having raped two white women. Although the evidence was slim, the southern jury sentenced them to death. The Supreme Court overturns their convictions twice each time Alabama retries them, finding them guilty. In a third trial, four of the Scottsboro boys are freed but five are sentenced to long prison terms.

Jackie Robinson breaks Major League Baseball's color barrier when he is signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers by Branch Rickey.

Although African Americans had participated in every major U.S. war, it was not until after World War II that President Harry S. Truman issues an executive order integrating the U.S. armed forces.

Malcolm X becomes a minister of the Nation of Islam. Over the next several years his influence increases until he is one of the two most powerful members of the Black Muslims (the other was its leader, Elijah Muhammad). A black nationalist and separatist movement, the Nation of Islam contends that only blacks can resolve the problems of blacks.

Pictured from left to right:
George E.C. Hayes,
Thurgood Marshall,
and James Nabrit

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kans. declares that racial segregation in schools is unconstitutional (May 17).

A young black boy, Emmett Till, is brutally murdered for allegedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. Two white men charged with the crime are acquitted by an all-white jury. They later boast about committing the murder. The public outrage generated by the case helps spur the civil rights movement (Aug.).

Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat at the front of the "colored section" of a bus to a white passenger (Dec.1). In response to her arrest Montgomery's black community launch a successful year-long bus boycott. Montgomery's buses are desegregated on Dec. 21, 1956.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), a civil rights group, is established by Martin Luther King, Charles K. Steele, and Fred L. Shuttlesworth (Jan.-Feb.)

Nine black students are blocked from entering the school on the orders of Governor Orval Faubus. (Sept. 24). Federal troops and the National Guard are called to intervene on behalf of the students, who become known as the "Little Rock Nine." Despite a year of violent threats, several of the "Little Rock Nine" manage to graduate from Central High.

Four black students in Greensboro, North Carolina, begin a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter (Feb. 1). Six months later the "Greensboro Four" are served lunch at the same Woolworth's counter. The event triggers many similar nonviolent protests throughout the South.

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) is founded, providing young blacks with a place in the civil rights movement (April).

Over the spring and summer, student volunteers begin taking bus trips through the South to test out new laws that prohibit segregation in interstate travel facilities, which includes bus and railway stations. Several of the groups of "freedom riders," as they are called, are attacked by angry mobs along the way. The program, sponsored by The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), involves more than 1,000 volunteers, black and white.

James Meredith becomes the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi (Oct. 1). President Kennedy sends 5,000 federal troops after rioting breaks out.

Martin Luther King is arrested and jailed during anti-segregation protests in Birmingham, Ala. He writes "Letter from Birmingham Jail," which advocated nonviolent civil disobedience.

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom is attended by about 250,000 people, the largest demonstration ever seen in the nation's capital. Martin Luther King delivers his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. The march builds momentum for civil rights legislation (Aug. 28).

Despite Governor George Wallace physically blocking their way, Vivian Malone and James Hood register for classes at the University of Alabama.

Four young black girls attending Sunday school are killed when a bomb explodes at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, a popular location for civil rights meetings. Riots erupt in Birmingham, leading to the deaths of two more black youths (Sept. 15).

FBI photographs of Goodman,
Chaney, and Schwerner

President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act, the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. It prohibits discrimination of all kinds based on race, color, religion, or national origin (July 2).

The bodies of three civil-rights workers (Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney, and Michael Schwerner) are found. Murdered by the KKK, James E. Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner had been working to register black voters in Mississippi (Aug.).

Martin Luther King receives the Nobel Peace Prize. (Oct.)

Sidney Poitier wins the Best Actor Oscar for his role in Lilies of the Field. He is the first African American to win the award.

Malcolm X, black nationalist and founder of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, is assassinated (Feb. 21).

State troopers violently attack peaceful demonstrators led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., as they try to cross the Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. Fifty marchers are hospitalized on "Bloody Sunday," after police use tear gas, whips, and clubs against them. The march is considered the catalyst for pushing through the voting rights act five months later (March 7).

Congress passes the Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it easier for Southern blacks to register to vote. Literacy tests, poll taxes, and other such requirements that were used to restrict black voting are made illegal (Aug. 10).

In six days of rioting in Watts, a black section of Los Angeles, 35 people are killed and 883 injured (Aug. 11-16).

Bobby Seale
and Huey Newton

Stokely Carmichael, a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), coins the phrase "black power" in a speech in Seattle (April 19).

Major race riots take place in Newark (July 12-16) and Detroit (July 23-30).

President Johnson appoints Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court. He becomes the first black Supreme Court Justice.

The Supreme Court rules in Loving v. Virginia that prohibiting interracial marriage is unconstitutional. Sixteen states still have anti-miscegenation laws and are forced to revise them.

Eyewitnesses to the
assassination of
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr., is assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. (April 4).

President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968, prohibiting discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing (April 11).

Shirley Chisholm becomes the first black female U.S. Representative. A Democrat from New York, she was elected in November and served from 1969 to 1983.

The infamous Tuskegee Syphilis experiment ends. Begun in 1932, the U.S. Public Health Service's 40-year experiment on 399 black men in the late stages of syphilis has been described as an experiment that "used human beings as laboratory animals in a long and inefficient study of how long it takes syphilis to kill someone."

The Supreme Court case, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke upheld the constitutionality of affirmative action, but imposed limitations on it to ensure that providing greater opportunities for minorities did not come at the expense of the rights of the majority (June 28).

Guion Bluford Jr. was the first African-American in space. He took off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the space shuttle Challenger on August 30.

The first race riots in decades erupt in south-central Los Angeles after a jury acquits four white police officers for the videotaped beating of African-American Rodney King (April 29).

Colin Powell becomes the first African American U.S. Secretary of State.

Halle Berry becomes the first African American woman to win the Best Actress Oscar. She takes home the statue for her role in Monster's Ball. Denzel Washington, the star of Training Day, earns the Best Actor award, making it the first year that African-Americans win both the best actor and actress Oscars.

In Grutter v. Bollinger, the most important affirmative action decision since the 1978 Bakke case, the Supreme Court (5?4) upholds the University of Michigan Law School's policy, ruling that race can be one of many factors considered by colleges when selecting their students because it furthers "a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body." (June 23)

Condoleezza Rice becomes the first black female U.S. Secretary of State.

In Parents v. Seattle and Meredith v. Jefferson, affirmative action suffers a setback when a bitterly divided court rules, 5 to 4, that programs in Seattle and Louisville, Ky., which tried to maintain diversity in schools by considering race when assigning students to schools, are unconstitutional.

Sen. Barack Obama, Democrat from Chicago, becomes the first African American to be nominated as a major party nominee for president.

On November 4, Barack Obama, becomes the first African American to be elected president of the United States, defeating Republican candidate, Sen. John McCain.

Barack Obama Democrat from Chicago, becomes the first African-American president and the country's 44th president.

On February 2, the U.S. Senate confirms, with a vote of 75 to 21, Eric H. Holder, Jr., as Attorney General of the United States. Holder is the first African American to serve as Attorney General.

On Aug. 9, Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old was shot and killed in Ferguson, Mo., by Darren Wilson. On Nov. 24, the grand jury decision not to indict Wilson was announced, sparking protests in Ferguson and cities across the U.S., including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Boston.

The protests continued to spread throughout the country after a Staten Island grand jury decided in December not to indict Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner. Garner died after being placed in a chokehold by Pantaleo in July.

The 114th Congress includes 46 black members in the House of Representatives and two in the Senate.

Michael Bruce Curry becomes the first African-American Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

Simone Biles became the first African-American and woman to bring home four Olympic gold medals in women?s gymnastics at a single game (as well as a bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Also, in Rio, Simone Manuel was the first African-American woman to win an individual event in Olympic swimming.

Carla Hayden was confirmed as the first female African-American head of the Library of Congress.


Sept. 3, 2017: The rogue regime carries out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test, saying it detonated an advanced hydrogen bomb designed for a long-range missile.

And while the U.S. has yet to verify that the weapon was a hydrogen bomb, experts widely agree that the detonation created an explosion exceeding previous North Korean nuclear tests.

The recently tested bomb is estimated to have an explosive yield of 120 kilotons, which equates to a blast created from 265 million pounds worth of TNT, according to Norsar, a Norwegian geoscience research foundation.


The Most Followers on Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube

However, it’s not only celebrities that dominate social media.

Personalities that started on one social media platform and developed massive followings include TikTok’s most-followed star Charli D’Amelio and YouTubers Germán Garmendia, Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg, and Whindersson Nunes Batista.

Politicians were also prominent influencers. Former U.S. President Barack Obama has the most followers on Twitter, and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has more than 175 million followers across social media.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump would have also made the list with more than 140 million followers across social media before being banned from multiple platforms on January 8, 2021.


The Dow’s tumultuous history, in one chart

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.76% is one of the oldest and best-known indexes in the financial industry. It has, by its nature as a benchmark for the largest stock market in the world, become an important barometer of global confidence over the years.

Chris Kacher, managing director of MoKa Investors, published a graph of the Dow’s performance since 1896 that charts how the index’s peaks and troughs have reflected the U.S. economy’s triumphs and tribulations. But more than that, the graph also illustrates how the Dow has become a chronicle of investors’ responses to significant global events.

At its simplest, the chart proves once again that over the long term, the stock market always rises because “intelligence, creativity, and innovation always trump fear,” according to Kacher.

Yet at the same time, it also underscores the basic mantra that market participants need to stay nimble during times of uncertainty to maximize their returns.

Investors must stay fluid to changing market conditions and not become wedded to their stocks, said the strategist.

“There is no get-rich-quick scheme. There is no such thing as a black box where you press a button and let it run indefinitely. Investing is more challenging than brain surgery,” Kacher told MarketWatch.

The Dow, which began its career with 12 components, has risen more than 50,000% over its lifetime. During the same period, the U.S.’s nominal gross domestic product has boomed 118,583%, according to Measuring Worth, a website run by academics Lawrence Officer and Samuel Williamson.

But the Dow’s upside trajectory has always not been smooth. In between its bursts of energy that eventually took the blue-chip index beyond the 20,000 mark in 2017 were long periods of misery when the market remained in a downward spiral or moved sideways.

It took 25 years for the market to recover from the 1929 stock-market crash, and 16 years for stocks to bounce back from the combined effect of the Vietnam War, the 1973 oil shock and the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Last year was one for the record books: The Dow literally set a record for setting records. In 2017, the Dow added 25.1%, having hit 71 closing records over the year. The S&P 500 index SPX, +1.40% gained 19.4%, and the Nasdaq COMP, +0.79% rose 28.2%. All three indices posted their best year since 2013, and the Nasdaq rose for its sixth straight year, its longest such streak since one that lasted from 1975 to 1980, according to the WSJ Market Data Group.

For Kacher, the current market is a prime case where investors need to distance themselves from their emotions and remain fleet on their feet.

“We are at a minor tipping point and we are not sure where the market is headed,” Kacher said last year. “These are unprecedented times. Global debt of this magnitude has historically has a calamitous ending.”

This state of uncertainty is likely to linger in 2018, as investors face up to a big, fat list of risk factors ranging from a bitcoin BTCUSD, +0.15% crash to the end of easy-money policies.

As a result, investors must be prepared to adjust their strategies to adapt to the changing environment.

As his 120-year chart clearly demonstrates, the market always recovers. But sometimes, it just takes a little longer.

Read Next

Read Next

Barron&aposs: A New Apple iPhone Could Lift the Stock. Here’s When It Might Be Coming.

Apple stock has been flat so far this year, but that could change, as Wedbush analyst Dan Ives sees a new phone announcement in late September.


The Story of the First Mass Murder in U.S. History

On Labor Day, 1949, Howard Unruh decided to go to the movies. He left his Camden, New Jersey, apartment and headed to the Family Theatre in downtown Philadelphia. On the bill that night was a double feature, the double-crossing gangster movie I Cheated the Law and The Lady Gambles, in which Barbara Stanwyck plays a poker-and-dice-game addict. Unruh, however, wasn’t interested in the pictures. He was supposed to meet a man with whom he’d been having a weeks-long affair.

Unfortunately for Unruh, 28 years old at the time, traffic held him up and by the time he reached theater, a well-known gay pick up spot on Market St., his date was gone. Unruh sat in the dark until 2:20 a.m., bitterly stewing through multiple on-screen loops of the movies. At 3 a.m., he arrived home in New Jersey to find that the newly constructed fence at the rear end of his backyard—one he’d erected to quell an ongoing feud with the Cohens who lived next door and owned the drugstore below the apartment he shared with his mother—had been tampered with. The gate was missing.

It was the final straw. For a couple of years, Unruh had been contemplating killing several of his Cramer Hill neighbors over petty squabbles, perceived slights and name-calling, all which fed into his psychosis. Unruh thought the world was out to get him, so he decided to enact revenge on his little corner of it. He went into his apartment, uncased his German Luger P08, a 9mm pistol he’d purchased at a sporting goods store in Philadelphia for $37.50, and secured it with two clips and 33 loose cartridges. Unable to sleep, he made yet another mental list of his intended targets, a group of local shopkeepers one would find in a 1950s children’s book: the druggist, shoemaker, tailor and restaurant owner. Eventually, Unruh dozed off.

In a few hours, on the morning of Tuesday, September 6, Unruh would embark upon his “Walk of Death,” murdering 13 people and wounding three others in a 20-minute rampage before being hauled off by police after a dangerous firefight. A somewhat forgotten man outside of criminology circles and local old-timers, Unruh was an early chapter in the tragically-all-too-familiar American story of an angry man with a gun, inflicting carnage.

There have been killers since Cain murdered Abel, and Unruh certainly wasn’t the first American to take the lives of multiple victims. The FBI defines a “mass murder” as four or more victims in a single incident (usually in one spot). Serial killers and spree killers fall into their own category, and there’s also a new crowdsourced "mass shooting" tracking system that counts the number of people shot, as opposed to killed, but it’s not an official set of data. What is known is that the United States, with five percent of the world’s population, was home to nearly one-third of the world’s mass shooters from 1966-2012. Before that, mass gun murders like Unruh’s were too rare to be considered a threat.

“There have been notorious killers since America was founded, but you didn’t have the mass shooting phenomenon before Unruh’s time because people didn’t have access to semi-automatic weaponry,” says Harold Schechter, a true crime novelist who has written about infamous murderers going back to the 19th-century.

While the terminology is a bit fungible, Unruh is generally regarded as the first of the “lone wolf” type of modern mass murderers, the template for the school and workplace shooters who have dominated the coverage of the more than 1,000 victims since 2013. Unruh was a distinctive personality type, one that has also come to define those who have followed in his bloody footsteps.

“Unruh really matches the mass murder profile. He had a rigid temperament, an inability to accept frustration or people not treating him as well as he wanted, and a feeling of isolation, all things people accept and move on from,” says Katherine Ramsland, a professor of forensic psychology and the director of the master of arts in criminal justice at DeSales University, as well as the author of some 60 nonfiction books including Inside the Mind of Mass Murderers: Why They Kill. “He had a free-floating anger, held grudges, owned weapons he knew how to use, and decided somebody was going to pay. It’s a typical recipe for internal combustion.”

Unruh learned how to use weaponry in World War II, serving in the 342nd Armored Field Artillery and taking part in the relief of Bastogne in the Battle of the Bulge. He occasionally served as a tank gunner and received commendations, although he never rose above the rank of private first class. His commanders said he followed orders well. However, while in combat, he kept meticulous notes of every German he killed. He would mark down the day, hour, and place, and when circumstances allowed, describe the corpses in disturbing bloody detail. After the killings, Unruh’s younger brother, Jim, would tell reporters that he wasn’t the same after the service and that he “never acted like his old self,” but Howard was honorably discharged with no record of mental illness.

Prosecuting attorney Mitchell Cohen questions Unruh in the hospital. Unruh suffered a bullet wound to the hip while barricaded in his apartment. (AP Photo/PX) Cohen points to a drawing of the neighborhood where Unruh killed 13 passersby. Looking on are Camden city detectives and eye witnesses to the shootings. (AP Photo) Unruh sits with hands shackled in Camden City Hall after questioning by detectives. (© Bettmann/CORBIS) Unruh lived on this corner in Camden, New Jersey. (Patrick Sauer)

Back in Camden, Unruh decorated his apartment with war collectibles. His peeling walls were adorned with pistols and bayonets, while machetes and ashtrays crafted out of German shells laid about the room. In the basement, he set up a target range and practiced shooting, even though a low ceiling meant he could only fire from a kneeling or lying position. One gun he shot was a prized Nazi Luger he brought back as a souvenir.

Prior to joining the army in 1942, Unruh had lived a normal, if unremarkable, life. He was born on January 20, 1921 to Sam and Freda (sometimes referred to as Rita) Unruh. They separated when Howard was a boy. He and Jim were raised in Camden by their mother, who worked as a packer at the Evanston Soap Company. The October 1949 psychiatric report that formally declared Unruh insane, noted that Unruh had a “rather prolonged period of toilet training” and “did not walk or talk until 16 months old,” but otherwise he was basically an average unassuming kid. He was pious, regularly read the Bible and attended services at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. Howard was shy, kept to himself for the most part, consumed with his two favorite hobbies, stamp collecting and building model trains. He wasn’t a drinker or a smoker, even as an adult. The yearbook from Woodrow Wilson High noted his ambition was to work for the government and fellow students called him “How.”

Between high school and World War II, Unruh worked a series of blue-collar jobs, which he picked up for a spell after returning from Europe. He worked for a printing outfit, the Acorn Company, and then operated a metal stamping press at Budd Manufacturing, but neither job lasted a year. His one stab at a career came when he enrolled in pharmacy school at Temple University, but he dropped out after a few months. By December of 1948, he was unemployed and living full-time with his mother back in Cramer Hill. He ventured out in his neighborhood, but didn’t have any friends he called upon. A psychiatrist would later write, “After WWII, after [Unruh] returned home, he did not work nor did he any life goals or directions, had difficulty adjusting or solving problems and was, ‘angry at the world.’”

Unruh’s rage festered. In his mind, everyday ordinary happenings became acts of aggression that demanded retribution. And so, he began to keep thorough lists of his grievances and slights, both real and imagined. In the 1949 commitment report, Unruh claimed Mr. Cohen short-changed him five times while Mrs. Cohen told him to turn down his music—the dulcet sounds  of Brahms and Wagner—even though their son Charles was free to aggravate him with his trumpet. Other neighbors on Unruh’s list included: The man and woman who lived below him and threw trash on his back lot, the barber who put dirt in a vacant yard that backed up the drainage and flooded his cellar, the shoemaker who buried trash close to his property, and a mystery boy named “Sorg,” who tapped his electricity to light up the Christmas trees he was selling on the street.

Unruh’s paranoia about what was being said of him around Cramer Hill fueled his persecution complex, he was certain everyone was insulting him. He felt that a number of people knew he was a homosexual and were talking about it, said Mr. Cohen called him a “queer,” said the tailor (and son) was spreading a story that “he saw me go down on somebody in an alley one time,” and was fearful local teenagers who frequently harassed him had seen him at the Family Theatre.

Unruh was a gay man he was up front with the psychiatrists who interviewed him following the massacre. From 1944-46, he’d had a girlfriend, seemingly the only one of his life, but broke it off after telling her he was “schizo” and would never marry her. He told the psychiatrists that she meant nothing to him and that they’d never had sex. Following their break-up, he’d been with a lot of men and said he’d once contracted gonorrhea. After dropping out of Temple in 1948, he kept his room in a Philadelphia lodging house for nearly a year saying that “his interest in religion declined when his sexual relations with male friends increased.” Ann Mitchell, an African-American maid who cleaned the rooms, told detectives investigating the massacre that she’d seen him going to and from his room with other men at all times of the day and added he would write “nigger” in the dust on the writing desk after returning from weekends in Camden. The report noted, “As disliked him, she paid little attention to him and she never suspected him of anything.” Unruh paid his $30 a month on time from September 28, 1948, until August 28, 1949, and then never returned.

The sad irony is that the one aspect of Unruh that people did “suspect,” being a homosexual, was accurate, but he couldn’t live as an open gay man in an era when it wasn’t just societally unacceptable, it was illegal. What most Cramer Hill people didn’t suspect, even while finding him rather strange, was that he was a powder keg. In Seymour Shubin’s article, “Camden’s One-Man Massacre,” which took up the entirety of the December 1949 issue of Tragedy-of-the-Month, tailor Tom Zegrino described a pre-shooting Unruh as “awfully polite. The kind of guy who wouldn’t hurt a flea.” His wife of less than a month Helga, who would be one of Unruh’s last victims added, “I think he’s a nice fellow. He seems devoted to his mother, too. That’s something I like.”

Sometime around 8 a.m. on September 6, just hours after returning from Philadelphia, Unruh was awakened by his mother, who prepared him a breakfast of fried eggs and milk. After eating, Unruh went into the basement and retrieved a wrench, which he raised over her in a threatening manner. “What do you want to do that for, Howard?,” she asked him. Freda would later say her son appeared to be transfixed. She repeated her question over and over before running out of the house to a neighbor, fearing her son had reached the tipping point. (A short while later, after hearing gunfire and putting it all together, Freda fainted.)

Unruh immediately collected his Luger and ammo, a six-inch knife, and a tear gas pen with six shells, and cut through the backyard to the 3200 block of River Road. Dressed in a brown tropical-worsted suit, white shirt, striped bow tie, and Army boots, the lanky 6-foot, 164-pound Unruh shot at a bread deliveryman in his truck, but missed. He then walked into the shoemaker’s store and, without saying a word, shot John Pilarchik, the 27-year-old cobbler who was on his list, in the chest. Pilarchik fell to the floor. Still alive, Unruh fired another round into Pilarchik’s head. A young boy crouched in fear behind the counter.

Unruh walked back out to the street and entered the barbershop next door. Clark Hoover, 33, was cutting the hair of Orris Smith, 6, who sat atop a white carousel-style horse as his mother, Catherine, looked on. The barber tried to protect the child, but Unruh killed the boy with a bullet to the head. A second shot ended Hoover’s life. Unruh ignored Catherine, 42, who carried Orris into the street screaming until a neighbor threw them both in the car and sped away to the hospital. The next day, the horrific scene was described by Camden Courier-Post columnist Charley Humes:

“…People were peering through a big plate glass window, looking at a ‘hobby horse’ in a barber shop that is closed.”

At the base of the standard which held the wooden horse in place was another blotch of blood…the blood of another little boy ‘just past six’ who was having his hair cut in preparation for his first trip to school the next day…”

Back on River Road, Unruh shot at a boy in a window, but missed. He then fired into a tavern across the street owned by Frank Engel. In a 1974 Courier-Post retrospective, Engel said Unruh had never come inside the bar, but that he’d seen him “walk down the street, walking straight like he had a poker in his back and the kids on the corner would make some remarks about him.” Nobody was hit as Engel ran upstairs and grabbed his .38 caliber Luger. Meanwhile, Unruh reloaded and headed into the drugstore to confront his primary targets, the Cohens.

An insurance man, James Hutton, 45, was coming out of the drugstore to see what the commotion was all about. He came face-to-face with Unruh, but didn’t move quickly enough when the killer said excuse me. Realizing his time free of police was growing short, Unruh shot Hutton, saying, “I fired on him once, then stepped over him and went into the store.” He saw Maurice, 40, and his wife Rose, 38, running up the stairs into their apartment. Rose hid in a closet (and put son Charles, 12, in a separate one), but Unruh shot three times through the door before opening it and firing once more into her face. Walking across the apartment, he spotted Maurice’s mother Minnie, 63, trying to call the cops, and shot her multiple times. He followed Maurice onto a porch roof and shot him in the back, sending him to the pavement below.

Maurice Cohen was dead on the sidewalk, but Unruh continued his rampage. Back out on River Road, he killed four motorists who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. He leaned into a car driven by Alvin Day, 24, a television repairman and World War II vet who slowed down at the corner where Hutton’s body lay, and fired. Following Day’s murder, accounts vary, but most likely Unruh next walked out into the street to a car stopped at a red light and fired into the windshield. He instantly killed the driver Helen Wilson, 37, and her mother Emma Matlack, 68, and wounded Helen’s son, John Wilson, 9, with a bullet through the neck. He returned to the same side of the street with the goal of claiming his final two victims.

Unruh entered the tailor shop, looking for Tom Zegrino, but only found Helga, 28. She was on her knees begging for her life when Unruh shot her at close range. Next door, Thomas Hamilton, less than two weeks shy of his third birthday, was playing with the curtain near his playpen and looked out the window. Unruh said he mistook the moving shadows for one of the people he believed was dumping trash in his yard and shot through the window, striking Hamilton with a bullet to the head.

On his final stop after darting back into the alleyway, Unruh broke into a home behind his apartment lot and wounded a mother and son, Madeline Harrie, 36, and Armand, 16, before running out of ammo and retreating to his apartment. By now, sirens were wailing.

In 20 minutes, Howard Unruh had killed 12 and severely wounded four. (The toll would rise to thirteen John Wilson, the 9-year-old car passenger, later died at the hospital.)  His Cramer Hill neighborhood was rattled, to the point where a detective on the scene would say, years later, that the mailman dropped his full bag on the sidewalk, quit his job, and never came back.

Unruh returned to his apartment as a crowd of authorities and neighborhood civilians gathered. In 1949, mass shootings were basically unheard of, so there was no official police protocol. As neighbors milled about, more than 50 officers surrounded the two-story stucco building, and began blasting away at the apartment with machine guns, shotguns, and pistols, even though some in the crowd, estimated to be a thousand people, were in the line of fire.

(How haphazard was police work back then? The magazine Weird N.J. discovered what became of Unruh’s Luger. Detective Ron Conley, following typical 1940s procedure, secured it in his locker. Upon retiring, he brought it home. It was recovered in the early 90s, returned to the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, and marked as evidence.)

During the onslaught, Philip W. Buxton, an enterprising assistant city editor at The Camden Evening Courier, looked up Unruh’s number in the phone book, rang it up, and to his surprise, had the shooter on the line. Buxton chatted with Unruh for a few minutes as the bullets poured into the apartment, shattering window panes.  He asked how many people he’d killed, to which Unruh replied, “I don't know yet, I haven't counted them. But it looks like a pretty good score.” Buxton followed-up asking why he was killing people. Unruh said he didn’t know, but he had to go because “a couple of friends are coming to get me.”

In the chaos, a couple of policemen climbed onto the roof—the same one Maurice Cohen plunged from—and lobbed a tear gas canister into Unruh’s apartment. The first was a dud, but the second was stingingly effective. Five minutes later Unruh called out that he was surrendering. He shouted he was leaving his gun on a desk and walked out the back door with his hands held high. He was patted down and cuffed as gawkers screamed for the mass murderer to be lynched right then and there. One furious cop demand to know, “What’s the matter with you? You a psycho?”

Unruh flatly replied, “I am no psycho. I have a good mind.”

For the next couple of hours, Unruh would be grilled in a Camden detective’s office.

He took full responsibility for the killings and supplied details in a detached clinical manner. During the interrogation, District Attorney Mitchell Cohen (no relation to the druggist) noticed a pool of blood under Unruh’s chair. At one point late in the rampage, Unruh was shot in the buttock or upper leg by Frank Engel, who had taken aim from his upstairs window. Unruh was rushed to Cooper Hospital, the same one as his victims, but surgeons were unable to remove the bullet. Less than 24 hours after his arrest, he was transferred to the Vroom Building for the criminally insane at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, voluntarily. He would remain on the grounds for the next 60 years as Case No. 47,077. Unruh would never stand trial for the “Walk of Death.”

Starting on September 7, a team of psychiatrists examined Unruh for weeks, trying to get an understanding of why he did what he did. Many of their findings weren’t released until 2012, at the request of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He cold-bloodedly explained everything, listing the neighbors who had wronged him, and describing each murder with little emotion. He claimed to feel sorrow for the children he’d killed, but the doctor’s notes indicate he didn’t seem remorseful. Unruh went so far as to say that “murder is sin, and I should get the chair.”

The full accuracy of Unruh’s statements is unknowable because on more than occasion, psychiatrists administered truth serum, a.k.a. narcosynthesis, which was then considered useful. Scientists discredited it in the 1950s because patients often melded fact and fantasy together. (In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled truth serum confessions unconstitutional in Townsend v. Sain.) It’s impossible to know the veracity of the reports from Unruh’s sessions, such as the one where he told a doctor that he’d been in bed with Freda, fondled his mother’s breasts, and that “their privates touched.” However, a psychiatrist notes in a “Personal History” summation that Unruh’s brother James said “once the patient had made advances to him when they were sleeping together, which he, James, had vigorously resisted.”

On Oct. 20, 1949, a Camden County judge signed a final order of commitment based on a diagnosis of “dementia praecox, mixed type, with pronounced catatonic and paranoid coloring.” In standard parlance, he was declared a paranoid schizophrenic. Unruh was considered too mentally ill to stand trial, although the murder indictment remained if ever he were “cured.” (So the missing Luger could have been vital evidence in a trial.) Ramsland believes Unruh’s initial diagnosis was wrong, and that today, he would have been found legally sane.

“He wouldn’t have been diagnosed with schizophrenia because he didn’t have any actual symptoms of schizophrenia, they just didn’t know what else to do in those days,” she says. “Back then, paranoid schizophrenia was kind of a trash-can diagnosis. You could put anything in there, but the criteria have tightened up since. Unruh didn’t have command hallucinations or anything like that. The standard is, are you so floridly psychotic that you don’t know what you’re doing is wrong? You can be psychotic and still get convicted. I suspect Unruh had a personality disorder, but it’s clear he knew what he was doing was wrong and that there were legal consequences. I always found it so odd that they just locked him away and forgot about him.  Thirteen people were killed, are you kidding?”

Unruh’s father Sam was ordered to pay $15 a month for Howard’s upkeep in Trenton. And basically, for the next six decades, Unruh vanished. Occasionally, something would come up like in 1964, Unruh wrote a petition to have his indictment dismissed on the grounds he was insane at the time of the shootings. He withdrew it, probably upon understanding that it would only be useful as a defense in a trial, which he did not want. Freda visited him until her death in 1985, but after that, Unruh didn’t talk much. Over the years, he did take an art class, and in the 1970s had an unrequited crush on a much younger inmate, but for the most part, he kept up with his stamp collection and was known to mop the floors while muttering to himself.

In 1991, a psychiatrist said Unruh had one friendship inside, but actually it was “a person who just keeps talking all the time. Mr Unruh is a good listener.” In 1993, Unruh was transferred to a less restrictive geriatric unit, where he would live out his days. He died on October 19, 2009 at the age of 88.

Technically, Unruh wasn’t the first mass shooter. There had been at least two, including one less that a year before in nearby Chester, Pennsylvania. Melvin Collins, 30, opened fire from a boardinghouse, killing eight before taking his own life, but his story was quickly forgotten. He doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. Part of the reason Unruh is known as the “father of mass murderer” is that he didn’t follow the typical script. He, somewhat miraculously considering the firepower aimed his way, lived.

“Mass murder is typically a suicidal act in which apocalyptic violence is used to enact extreme vengeance, and it almost always ends in the perpetrator’s death,” says Schechter. “Unruh was the rare exception and he became the public face of a serious horrifying crime.”

Unruh didn’t lack for publicity. It was covered extensively by local newspapers and his homicidal terror was brilliantly re-created by famed New York Times writer Meyer Berger who left Manhattan at 11 a.m., interviewed at least 20 people in Camden by himself, and filed 4,000 words an hour before deadline. For his masterwork, Berger won the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting. (He sent the $1,000 prize money to Freda Unruh.) The piece remains a staple of journalism scholarship today.

Unruh’s “Walk of Death” is certainly infamous and well known in criminology circles, so it’s a bit curious that he’s fallen off the radar as a public figure. There were periodic articles published about Unruh throughout his long life, especially when Charles Cohen, the boy who hid in the closet, came out publicly after 32 years to denounce the prisoner’s request to be moved to a less-restrictive setting. In 1999, Cohen, 62, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he was haunted by the morning, that other mass killings like Columbine brought back the pain, and that he was waiting for the call that Unruh had died. “I’ll make my final statement, spit on his grave, and go on with my life,” he said. Cohen passed away one month before Unruh.

Unruh’s massacre was a watershed crime, but it’s been usurped by other deadlier shooters of the television and internet age. A Google news search of “Howard Unruh” and “Umpqua” turned up no results, while an October 4 New York Times article about profiling mass killers said, “The episode…that some academics view as having ‘introduced the nation to the idea of mass murder in a public space’ happened in 1966, when Charles Whitman climbed a tower at the University of Texas at Austin and killed 16 people.”

Schechter says another reason Unruh isn’t as renowned is because the “Walk of Death” was seen as a stand-alone atrocity of a “crazy.” Mass murder wasn’t a regular occurrence and Unruh didn’t spark copycats—Whitman was years later—so it didn’t tap into common fears of the post-World War II generation. “Unruh’s killings were seen as a weird aberration and not something the culture was obsessed by, so he didn’t immediately enter into a larger American mythology,” says Schechter.

One place where Unruh hasn’t been forgotten is the Cramer Hill neighborhood where he destroyed so many lives. River Road is still working-class, dotted with Mexican shops these days, but the layout is generally the same. The barbershop was torn down, but the buildings that housed the tailor, cobbler, and drugstore are all intact. The block looks the same. There are no plaques, memorials, or markers of any kind. 

In late September, a 76-year-old Vietnam War veteran working as a school crossing guard on River Road, told me that when he moved to East Camden in 1977, many people who lived through that awful day were still around. He said even now, neighbors knows the legend of the “Walk of Death.” He pointed to Unruh’s apartment, which has reportedly remained empty since he was arrested. The outer wall of the apartment building was re-stuccoed and painted gray at some point, but plenty of indentations remain, presumably from the hailstorm of bullets. The crossing guard took me into Unruh’s backyard, the rear entrances boarded shut with cheap padlocks. By all appearances, the residential part of the building was shuttered and abandoned after Unruh killed 13 people in Cramer Hill. The back lot was overgrown with weeds and tall grass, but someone beautified it a bit by planting tomatoes and corn. The ears were growing on the other side of a chain-link fence.

The gate, however, was missing. 

About Patrick Sauer

Originally from Montana, Patrick Sauer is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn. His work appears in Vice Sports, Biographile, Smithsonian, and The Classical, among others. He is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the American Presidents and once wrote a one-act play about Zachary Taylor.


‘The year that Maine burned’: 70 years ago ravaging fires left thousands of Mainers homeless

Wind-whipped flames destroy several summer homes at Cape Porpoise, Maine, as a forest fire in the Kennebunkport area raged unchecked on October 22, 1947. AP

Seventy years ago, Maine was ablaze.

Catastrophic fires swept through the state in October 1947 over the course of several weeks, burning more than 220,000 acres, killing 16 people, leaving thousands homeless, and forever altering some towns.

The National Park Service calls it “ the year that Maine burned , ” and, according to the Maine Forest Service , it remains the largest forest fire of the state’s modern history.

The state had a cold and wet spring that year, but, by mid-July, the weather had completely reversed, according to the forest service. By the fall, Maine had gone through 108 days without any “appreciable rain.”

The drought was so severe that leaves had fallen prematurely, according to the service. Vegetation was “bone dry.”

By October 20, there were 50 small fires burning around Maine, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The next day, strong winds fanned the flames.

Farm buildings in left background and center foreground are endangered by flames sweeping through woods near Newfield, Maine, close to the New Hampshire state line on October 21, 1947.

In North Kennebunkport, a fire rekindled and jumped across Route 1, roaring toward the coastal villages and forcing residents onto the beach and into the water for safety, according to the Press Herald.

“800 homeless as fire sears Kennebunkport,” a headline in The Boston Daily Globe read the next day.

“Only chimneys and foundations of houses, and twisted iron of stoves and plumbing and tools remain — silhouetted like weird distortions against a pall of smoke that covers the land and reaches a fog bank far out to sea,” the Globe wrote of Kennebunkport’s devastation.


Crowd Scientists Say Women’s March in Washington Had 3 Times as Many People as Trump’s Inauguration

The women’s march in Washington was roughly three times the size of the audience at President Trump’s inauguration, crowd counting experts said Saturday.

Marcel Altenburg and Keith Still, crowd scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University in Britain, analyzed photographs and video taken of the National Mall and vicinity and estimated that there were about 160,000 people in those areas in the hour leading up to Mr. Trump’s speech Friday.

They estimated that at least 470,000 people were at the women’s march in Washington in the areas on and near the mall at about 2 p.m. Saturday.

The two images below show the crowds when they were at their peak density at the two events.

58th Presidential Inaugural Committee

The estimates are not comprehensive counts and were necessarily limited by the availability of photographs and video that covered the areas of interest. But their estimate was in line with one given by a city official who said that march participation likely surpassed half a million, according to The Associated Press.

A Metro official said that more than a million rail trips were taken Saturday, the second-highest day in its history after Barack Obama's first inauguration in 2009. More than 570,000 rail trips were taken on Friday.

The scientists had better images for the analysis of Mr. Trump’s inauguration crowd, which was concentrated on the mall. But the women’s march was more sprawling and fluid, so the actual number of people at the women’s march could be larger.

It is likely that the timing and location of the march — on a weekend, in a Democratic city in a Democratic region — helped drive the significant turnout.

In addition to wide-angle images, the scientists made use of news images that provided closer views of the crowds, which allowed them to calculate the density of specific areas more precisely.

For the women’s march, they chose a period in time when the crowd was moving the least, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Using aerial footage and photographs from various angles, the analysts isolated areas with an average density of 2.5 people per square meter, the same method used at Mr. Trump’s inauguration the day before.

The maps below show the areas that they determined to be high crowd density at each event.

But Mr. Trump was clearly upset with what he felt were undercounts of his own event the day before. In a visit to the Central Intelligence Agency on Saturday, Mr. Trump falsely accused the media of lying about the size of the crowds at his inauguration, saying that when he looked out from his podium, “it looked like a million, a million and a half people,” and that the area “all the way back to the Washington Monument was packed.”

Later in the day, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, claimed that Friday’s event was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration,” even though “no one had numbers” to confirm it because the Park Service does not issue crowd estimates.

The Park Service said in 2009 that it “firmly” believed that Mr. Obama had drawn the largest crowd ever to the National Mall. The location could have also been a contributing factor for the crowds that year about half of Washington’s population is black, and more than 92 percent of the city voted Democratic.

Mr. Spicer said that the area between the platform where Mr. Trump was sworn in and the Washington Monument could hold 720,000 people, and claimed that “all of this space was full when the president took the oath of office.”

The images below, captured 45 minutes before the respective oaths of office, show areas that were crowded with people at Mr. Obama’s inauguration that were clearly empty during Mr. Trump’s.

Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

58th Presidential Inaugural Committee

“There is a scientific explanation why the crowd size must have appeared to Trump in 2017 similar or even larger than to Obama in 2009,” said Mr. Altenburg, one of the crowd scientists.

The scientists said Mr. Trump would only have seen the tightly packed front third of the crowd, but not the back two-thirds, from his position at the podium. To make their estimates, they monitored seven live feeds all day, including those from perspectives that someone at the podium would not have been able to perceive.

58th Presidential Inaugural Committee

Sources: Keith Still, Professor of Crowd Science at Manchester Metropolitan University Marcel Altenburg, Manchester Metropolitan University


Sports

Jack Johnson

Before he became heavyweight champion of the world and an inspiration for Muhammad Ali, Jack Johnson (seen here in 1909) was a high school dropout living in Dallas, working at a racetrack, exercising horses. It was in Dallas where Johnson would meet Walter Lewis, the trainer who convinced Johnson to put on the gloves and set off on a journey toward greatness.

Baseball Town, Texas

Sports in Dallas’ earliest days consisted of little more than orchestrated brutality: dog fights, rat killings, and bear baiting. Dick Flanagan’s saloon, located where the Wilson Building now stands, hosted bare-knuckle boxing on Tuesday and Saturday nights. Glen Lea Saloon, at Main Street and Murphy Drive, was the spot to catch cockfighting. But nothing was as popular in those early days as horse racing. The first account dates to 1847 the race took place in Cedar Springs, an independent town not yet part of Dallas. By the 1880s and 1890s, racing was the main attraction at the State Fair of Texas.

Dallas hosted its first football game in 1891—on Thanksgiving, fittingly. At the time, though, Dallas was a baseball town. Texas League games were played on fields near Fair Park and the Dallas Zoo. In 1915, Gardner Park opened on a bluff overlooking the Trinity River in Oak Cliff, and, after a fire, it was replaced by Burnett Field in 1924. Burnett Field was home to a number of teams that played in the Texas League and hosted exhibitions that brought players such as Willie Mays to town. Dallas’ Negro League teams had to play at Riverside Park, which stood a few blocks away. It was there that the Dallas Black Giants fielded a young Booker T. Washington High School graduate named Ernie Banks, who would go on to play for the Kansas City Monarchs and become a Hall of Famer with the Chicago Cubs.

Burnett Field finally closed in 1964, after baseball moved west to the newly opened Arlington Stadium. But before that, in 1960, Burnett hosted one more team, serving as the practice facility for the Dallas Cowboys’ first season.

List of site sources >>>