This Day in History

This Day in History… August 6, 1965

Voting Rights Act of 1965

US #3937b features a photo of young protesters at the Selma March.

On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law, prohibiting racial discrimination in voting.

The 15th to the United States Constitution says the right to vote “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”  However, Southern registration boards used poll taxes, literacy tests, and other strategies to deny this right to blacks.

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This Day in History… August 5, 1914

First Electric Traffic Light

US #1272 was issued to publicize the importance of traffic safety.

On August 5, 1914, the first electric traffic light was installed in Cleveland, Ohio.

London was home to some of the first non-electric gas-lit traffic lights.  They were installed in December 1868 outside the Houses of Parliament.  The devices were created because an overflow of horse-drawn traffic forced large numbers of pedestrians to walk in front of the Houses of Parliament.

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This Day in History… August 4, 1821

The Saturday Evening Post 

US #2839 – Rockwell’s Triple Self-Portrait appeared on the February 1, 1960, cover.

On August 4, 1821, The Saturday Evening Post published its first issue.

According to the Post’s official history, it has a neat connection to Benjamin Franklin!  In 1728, Franklin had the idea to create The Pennsylvania Gazette, an informative magazine. However, before he had a chance to begin work on the paper, his partner, Samuel Keimer, stole the name and idea.  Luckily for Franklin, the paper failed within a year, and he and Hugh Meredith took over production.

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This Day in History… August 3, 1900

Birth of Ernie Pyle

US #1398 is a definitive from 1971.

Journalist and war correspondent Ernest Taylor Pyle was born on August 3, 1900, in Dana, Indiana. 

Pyle grew up on his family’s farm, but didn’t want to follow the family business – he wanted something more adventurous.  After graduating from high school, he joined the US Navy Reserve and served three months of active duty before the end of World War I.

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This Day in History… August 2, 1834

Birth of Frédéric A. Bartholdi

US #2147 had been intended for Bartholdi’s 150th birthday, though it was issued a year later.  It was also issued a year before the centennial of the Statue of Liberty.

Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the designer of the Statue of Liberty, was born on August 2, 1834, in Colmar, France.

After Bartholdi’s father died in 1836, the family moved to Paris, where they had relatives.  They would return often to Colmar, however.  Bartholdi received an extensive education – studying drawing with Martin Rossback, sculpture with Antoine Étex, and architecture with Henri Labrouste and Eugéne-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc.

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This Day in History… August 1, 1946

Fulbright Scholarships

US #3065 was issued for the program’s 50th anniversary.

On August 1, 1946, President Harry Truman signed legislation establishing the Fulbright Program.

In the aftermath of World War II, Senator J. William Fulbright proposed a program that would build understanding between the US and other countries through education.  He suggested that the US use the proceeds from the sale of post-war surplus to fund this program.  Other nations could reduce their debts by participating and funding the program in their own countries.

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