Here is a glance at the highs and lows of our history that occurred this week many years ago, and the profound impact they have had on our culture and way of life.
On Oct. 28, 1886, 133 years ago, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated by President Grover Cleveland on Bedloe’s Island in New York Harbor. Lady Liberty, or rather her full name, “Liberty Enlightening the World,” was a gift from France to celebrate the United States’ Centennial, as well as commemorate the friendship between the two nations in the American Revolution. Congress approved Bedloe’s Island, later renamed Liberty Island, to display the mighty statue, with an old fort being converted into the monument’s pedestal. The large copper pieces were shipped to the U.S. in more than 200 packed crates and took a year to fully assemble with the last rivet being fitted at the dedication ceremony. The event was attended by both French and American dignitaries, with thousands of patriotic New Yorkers celebrating its completion in Lower Manhattan. Years later, the Statue of Liberty would hold a new meaning, welcoming the 12 million immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island in the next half century.
On Oct. 29, 1929, 90 years ago, the stock market crashed, sending the United States and every other industrialized country in the world into the Great Depression. Black Tuesday, as it is now referred to, saw the sale of 16,410,030 shares of major corporations of the world economy. In an instant, investors lost billions of dollars, beginning the domino effect that destroyed the American, and subsequently the worldwide, economies. While the 1920s was a decade of wealth and boom, the 1930s was a decade of poverty and bust. With the wealthy owners now out of money, employers laid off their work forces, causing unemployment to skyrocket. Americans had spent money they didn’t have on houses and cars in the ‘20s leaving nothing in the ‘30s except unpaid debts. It would take President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal and World War II to revitalize the economy and bring wealth back to the American people.
On Nov. 1, 1512, 507 years ago, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s greatest work, was unveiled to the public in Rome. Originally commissioned by Pope Julius II, the ceiling frescoes of the Sistine Chapel were finished over the course of four years, covering over 5,000 square feet and containing over 300 Biblical figures. The most famous part of the ceiling, titled “The Creation of Adam” features the arms of Adam and God reaching out to one another. While the masterpiece was world-renowned even during his day, Michelangelo despised working for the pope, facing constant criticism, spending countless hours on his back on uncomfortable scaffolding and inhaling the toxic paint fumes. Today, Michelangelo Buonarroti is regarded as one of the most talented artists of the Italian Renaissance, and the Sistine Chapel is one of the most visited attractions in the world.
Gino Giansanti is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.