This Week in History: September 8-14

Featured Article, History, This Week in History, Traditions
on September 8, 2013
Margaret Sanger was a women's rights advocate who fought for increased availability of birth control.

As the country remembers the September 11, 2001, attacks this week, we take a look at other events from the week. Prominent Louisiana politician Huey Long was shot, Lassie saved Timmy and one of college football’s greatest coaches was born this week in history.

September 8:
Huey Long Shot

New Deal critic and notorious Louisiana politician Huey Long was shot on this day in 1935 at the Louisiana State Capitol. Long’s assassin was Carl Weiss; Weiss shot at Long, and bodyguards immediately shot and killed Weiss. Long was struck by either Weiss’ or a bodyguard’s ricocheting bullet and died two days later. His last words: “God, don’t let me die. I have so much to do.”

September 9:
Fat Albert Premiere

Hey, hey, hey! In 1972, “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” premiered today! The show, inspired by Bill Cosby’s childhood friends, featured charming, if not unusual characters like the eponymous Fat Albert and Weird Harold. The show was renamed in 1979 as “The New Fat Albert Show.” Each episode had an educational component, teaching kids life lessons. A live-action film version of Fat Albert was released in 2004.

September 10:
‘Gunsmoke’ Premiere

Television’s longest-running Western premiered today in 1955, after transitioning from radio. “Gunsmoke” told the stories of Dodge City, Kansas, and the exploits of Marshal Matt Dillon, played by James Arness. The show had top ratings for four seasons and was in the top 10 for six seasons. “Gunsmoke” was almost canceled in its 12th season, but viewer fervor extended it for eight more years. After 635 episodes, “Gunsmoke” ended on September 1, 1975.

September 11:
Bear Bryant Birthday

Paul “Bear” Bryant, one of college football’s most popular coaches, was born on this day in 1913. Bryant is most famous for his coaching career at the University of Alabama; while there, he led the Crimson Tide to six national championships and amassed 323 wins. Bryant also coached at Texas A&M, University of Kentucky, University of Maryland and Vanderbilt University. Well known for wearing houndstooth hats during games, Bryant died in 1983.

Terrorist Attacks on the United States
Twelve years ago, America suffered the deadliest attack on its soil ever. Hijackers associated with the Al-Qaeda terrorist network commandeered four airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. Both towers of the World Trade Center fell later in the morning. More than 3,000 people died in the attacks. The U.S. launched its war on terrorism in retaliation to these attacks and increased security across the country.

September 12:
‘Lassie’ Premiere
The “World’s Most Famous Dog” made her television debut on this day in 1954. Lassie, a female collie, starred in a series of television programs and films in which she protected her family and saved the day. The television series was adapted from a short story by Eric Knight called “Lassie Come-Home,” which was also produced as a film by MGM. “Lassie” ran for 19 seasons with 691 episodes and received two Emmy awards for best children’s program. The show still airs in syndication.

September 13:
U.S. Capitol in New York

Before the U.S. Capitol moved to Washington, D.C., it was established at New York on this day in 1788. It had moved from Philadelphia. The Capitol was Federal Hall on Wall Street. There, the Bill of Rights was debated and George Washington was inaugurated. The capital moved back to Philadelphia in 1790 and was established in Washington, D.C., in 1800.

September 14:
Margaret Sanger Birthday

The mother of birth control advocacy was born on this day in 1879. Margaret Sanger, a nurse by profession, fought to get contraceptives into the hands of America’s poor. She advocated the benefits of birth control and emphasized women’s health in cities. Sanger established the first birth control clinic in America in 1916. She was integral in the founding of Planned Parenthood.