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Last Week in History (February 12-16th)

Monday February 12th

On this day, in 1946, former US Army Sergeant Isaac Woodard Jr. was beaten so badly by Batesburg SC chief-of-police Lynwood Shull that he was blinded. Woodard, who had been discharged from the military following the end of the war, was travelling on a Greyhound bus on his way back home. Having had an argument with the bus driver about stopping to let him use the restroom, Woodard was dragged off the bus by local police, brought into an alley and beaten. This event, and the subsequent reactions to it (particularly from President Truman) are often cited as a galvanising moment for the Civil Rights movement.

Famous Death: German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
Holiday: International Day of Women’s Health


Tuesday February 13th

In 1542, Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, was executed for the crimes of adultery. In her time as a maid of honour for Henry’s previous wife, Anne of Cleves, she had been noted having relations with Thomas Culpeper, one of the King’s courtiers. When she later married the King, people who had known of these past indiscretions blackmailed her for favours. Eventually the Archbishop of Canterbury discovered these rumours, and charged the Queen with the crime of adultery. She was stripped of her title and beheaded on this day in the Tower of London.

Famous Death: Composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
Holiday: World Radio Day


Wednesday February 14th

A group of college students, annoyed with being unable to easily find footage of the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami online, founded the video sharing platform Youtube on this day in 2005. The first video uploaded to the site was entitled ‘Me at the zoo’ and featured Youtube co-creator Jawed Karim at the San Diego zoo. Youtube is now one of the most-visited websites in the world.

Famous Death: Novelist and playwright P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975)
Holiday: Christian Feast Day of St.Valentine


Thursday February 15th

Serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer was sentenced to prison, on this day, in 1992. He had been charged with 15 counts of murder in Wisconsin alone, and had admitted to performing necrophilic acts with the bodies & viscera of his victims. He would be sentenced to 16 consecutive life sentences for his crimes, though he only lasted just over two years in prison. He was bludgeoned by fellow inmate Christopher Scarver while cleaning the showers.

Famous Death: Singer Nat King Cole (1919-1965)
Holiday: Lupercalia (Ancient Rome)


Friday February 16th

British Egyptologist and archaeologist Howard Carter unsealed the burial chamber of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun on this day in 1923. The tomb of Tutankhamun was the most preserved burial tomb to be discovered in Cairo, and sparked renewed interest in Egyptology worldwide. Many of those involved in the excavation of the tomb died in mysterious ways, leading many to believe the tomb was cursed.

Famous Death: Engineer John Garand (1888-1974)
Holiday: Day of the Shining Star (DPRK)