This Week in History: 2/18/19-2/21/19

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Lastly, on Feb. 21, 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated by three members of the Nation of Islam in New York City. Malcolm X had joined the group while serving time in prison but eventually left when he started to doubt the group’s beliefs in the early ‘60s. (Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons)

In the coming days, we will see the anniversary of several important events that helped shape the world we live in. Here is a quick rundown of this week in history.

On Feb. 18, 1885, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was published for the first time in the United States. Considered one of the great American novels, it follows a young boy named Huck Finn on his adventures up and down the Mississippi River. It was written as a satire and critique of Southern society and people’s unwillingness to change attitudes and beliefs. Despite criticism over its use of racial slurs, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was massively successful and remains one of the most popular and widely-read books in American culture. The author, Mark Twain called Hartford home, and his house has since been converted into a beautiful museum on Farmington Avenue.

On Feb. 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, giving the military the authorization to forcibly remove and relocate Japanese American citizens to internment camps along the West Coast. This came as a direct reaction to the attacks on Pearl Harbor that took place just two months prior, which had resulted in the death of over 2,000 American servicemen. This order was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1944. Over the course of World War II, over 100,000 American citizens were forced into internment. In 1980, a United States investigation deemed this removal and incarceration illegal and the product of racism in America. In 1988, The Civil Liberties Act apologized for the government’s actions and authorized reparations to those affected. Each person detained, or their heirs, was given $20,000, with over $1.5 billion total handed out.

On Feb. 20, 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth when he circled the globe three times in Friendship 7. Glenn was a member of the Mercury Seven and NASA’s plan to put man on the moon before 1970. He had originally served as a Marine Corp aviator in World War II and the Korean War and was a highly regarded and distinguished pilot. After leaving NASA in 1964, Glenn pursued a career in politics, and was elected as a United States Senator for Ohio where he served for 24 years. In 1998, he flew on the space shuttle Discovery, becoming the oldest person in space and the only person to serve on both the Mercury and Space Shuttle missions. Glenn was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012 for his incredible achievements and contributions to American society before sadly passing away in 2016.

Lastly, on Feb. 21, 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated by three members of the Nation of Islam in New York City. Malcolm X had joined the group while serving time in prison but eventually left when he started to doubt the group’s beliefs in the early ‘60s. After converting to Sunni Islam and traveling to Mecca, Malcolm returned to his advocacy work despite constant threats of violence against him and his family by Nation members. As he was giving a speech in the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan, three men ran up to the stage and shot him over 15 times. He is now considered one of the most influential people of the 20th century and one of the most important leaders of the Civil Rights movement.


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

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