This Week in History: February 16-22

Featured Article, History, This Week in History
on February 16, 2014

Who knew cows flew? The first cow to fly was Elm Farm Ollie. She took to the skies and was milked in order for scientists to see the effects of midair conditions on animals. Read below to find out more:

February 16:
First 911 Call
After experiments with national emergency numbers in the United Kingdom in the 1930s and development of similar models in the U.S. in subsequent decades by phone companies, the first 9-1-1 emergency call was dialed on this day in 1968. Alabama Speaker of the House Rankin Fite placed the call from the Haleyville City Hall. U.S. Rep. Tom Bevill answered the call at the town police station with a “Hello.” There was no real emergency on the first call; it was more of a test.

February 17:
Thomas Malthus Birthday
Influential economist and scholar Thomas Malthus was born on this day in 1766 in Surrey, England. Malthus is most remembered for his work and ideas on population. His thought of population growth exceeding production growth and needing to be checked by natural or human forces was exceedingly controversial. Malthus wrote in support of welfare reform, but with a strongly capitalist bent. His ideas greatly influenced Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. Malthus died in 1834.

February 18:
First Cow Milked in an Airplane
Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly in an airplane and the first to be milked while in flight on this day in 1930 at the International Air Exposition in St. Louis. This sky-high spectacle allowed scientists to see how animals were affected by flying. Elm Farm Ollie produced 24 quarts of milk during the flight, some of which was sealed in paper cartons and parachuted to spectators below.

Jefferson-DavisJefferson Davis Inaugurated as Confederate President
Having resigned his U.S. Senate seat and returned to his home state of Mississippi in January 1861, Jefferson Davis, already a leader among Southerners, was poised to take the helm of the burgeoning secessionist government. On this day in 1861, he was unanimously chosen as the provisional president of the Confederacy and inaugurated in Montgomery, Alabama. The Confederates elected Davis to a six-year term as president and inaugurated him again on February 22, 1862.

February 19:
Japanese Internment Begins
With the issue of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 on this day in 1942, American internment of Japanese citizens began as a war-time measure. This measure, which displaced about 110,000 Japanese, many of which were already citizens or had been born in the U.S., was touted as a means to prevent espionage between Japan and nationals within the U.S. as tensions mounted during World War II. Most internment camps were located in the western portions of the country. The camps were prison-like; near the end of internment, young men were allowed to join the military. Internment ended in 1944, but the U.S. government did not formally apologize and begin paying back Japanese citizens for damages until 1988.

February 20:
Metropolitan Museum of Art Opens
The largest art museum in the United States opened its doors on this day in 1872. New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art houses paintings, sculptures and other pieces from all over the world. The museum has 2,500 European paintings, items from ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt, and the most complete collection of American art in the world. The museum acquired a blue Egyptian hippopotamus statuette in 1917, which has since become the institution’s mascot, William.

February 21:
Malcolm-x-assassinationMalcolm X Assassinated
Members of the Nation of Islam assassinated controversial black leader Malcolm X on this day in 1965. Malcolm X had been an influential member in the spread of the Nation of Islam, but left the organization in 1964. He founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity and Muslim Mosque Inc., after his departure from the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X’s divergent views of black supremacy and separation of races put him at odds with the leaders of the civil rights movement. Malcolm X died from wounds inflicted with a sawed-off shotgun and machine guns.

February 22:
Woolworths Opens
The first of a chain of five-and-dime stores opened on this day in 1878 in Utica, New York. Woolworths was Frank Winfield Woolworth’s labor of love. After his first store failed, Woolworth moved his store to Lancaster, Pennsylvania and found success. Woolworths developed many of the practices seen in major chain stores today — such as having a variety of items and lower cost products. The company went out of business in 1997, but has since refocused into its Foot Locker Brand. Woolworths still operates stores under the original name in Mexico, Germany, South Africa and Austria. On Feb. 1, 1960, a Greensboro, N.C. Woolworths was the site of the first sit-in during the civil rights movement.