This Week in History: Nov. 27 - Dec. 1

Franklin D. Roosevelt reviews the Pacific Fleet from aboard the USS Houston. San Francisco Bay, July 14, 1938.  On Nov. 28, 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin met at the Tehran Conference in Iran to discuss the Allied efforts in World War II.  (FDR Presidential Library & Museum/Flickr Creative Commons)

Franklin D. Roosevelt reviews the Pacific Fleet from aboard the USS Houston. San Francisco Bay, July 14, 1938.  On Nov. 28, 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin met at the Tehran Conference in Iran to discuss the Allied efforts in World War II.  (FDR Presidential Library & Museum/Flickr Creative Commons)

Over the coming days we will celebrate the anniversaries of several important global events. Here is a quick rundown of this week in history.

On Nov. 27, 1978, San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and supervisor Harvey Milk were shot and killed by Dan White. White was a previous supervisor of the city and was disappointed upon learning he would not be chosen for reappointment by Moscone. White snuck into the City Hall building through a first floor window with a revolver in his pocket and proceeded to the mayor’s office. After he was granted a private meeting with Moscone, White shot the mayor in the chest and head. He then walked down the hallway to Milk’s office and shot him as well. He was able to leave the building unopposed but turned himself in to police a few days later.

White’s trial sparked a nationwide debate when he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter instead of first-degree murder. His lawyers successfully argued that due to his depressed nature he was in a diminished capacity after learning he was going to lose his position with the city and  that the crime was not premeditated. This outcome shocked the nation and was the catalyst for the White Night riots in San Francisco. Many believed the jury’s homophobia influenced the verdict, as Harvey Milk was one of the first openly gay public officials in America. White went to jail and received parole in 1984, but he committed suicide less than two years later.

On Nov. 28, 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin met at the Tehran Conference in Iran to discuss the Allied efforts in World War II. At the conference, Stalin demanded that the Allies open up a second front in Europe to attack the Nazis from the west. The Soviet Union had just recently won the Battle of Stalingrad, a bitter and long fight that had nearly crippled both armies, and Stalin wanted more military efforts to ease the pressure on his army. Currently the Allies were fighting their way through Italy, but had not started a campaign to liberate occupied Europe. Roosevelt and Churchill agreed and plans were made that would go into effect on June 6, 1944 with the D-Day landings in Normandy, France.

On Dec. 1, 1919, Nancy Astor was the first woman to be elected to and sit as a member of British Parliament. She was originally an American citizen who moved to England at the age of 26 and married an Englishman. Constance Markievicz was actually the first woman to be elected to Parliament, however, she was an Irish Republican and did not take her seat.

Lastly, on the same day in 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama and was subsequently arrested. Members of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) thought Parks had the best chance to have her arrest go to court as an act of civil disobedience. She is widely regarded as one of the most important members of the Civil Rights Movement and would continue working for the cause after her arrest. She was the first woman ever to be granted the privilege to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington D.C. upon her death in 2005.


Seamus McKeever is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at seamus.mckeever@uconn.edu.