Today In History July 2


History is the discipline that studies the chronological record of historical events (as affecting a nation or people), based on a critical examination of source materials and usually presenting an explanation of their causes. History makes us better-informed citizens. At the very least, it can supplement the 30 second sound bites of our day with perspectives drawn from centuries of human experience. Let’s discover what happened on July 2 in world history:

1776: The Continental Congress secretly voted for Independence from Great Britain

Officially, the Continental Congress declared its independence from Great Britain on 2nd July 1776, when it voted to approve a resolution submitted by delegate Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, declaring “That the United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they’re absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, which all political connection between them and Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

John Adams thought 2nd July would be marked as a national holiday for generations to come:

“[Independence Day] will be the memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to assume that it’ll be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival… It needs to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade with shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations from one end of the continent to the other from the time forward forever more,” Adams wrote.

1937: Amelia Earhart disappears

The Lockheed aircraft carrying American aviator Amelia Earhart and navigator Frederick Noonan was reported missing on July 2ndnear Howland Island within the Pacific Ocean. The pair was attempting to fly around the world when they lost their bearings during the most challenging leg of the global tour: Lae, New Guinea, to Howland Island, a tiny island 2,227 nautical miles away, in the center of the Pacific Ocean. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca was in sporadic radio contact with Earhart as she approached Howland Island and received messages that she is lost and running low on aircraft fuel. Soon after, she probably tried to ditch the Lockheed in the Pacific Ocean. No trace of Earhart or Noonan was found ever.

1964: U.S.A. Civil Rights Act of 1964

The Civil Rights Act was a highly controversial issue for the United States as soon as it was proposed by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, following one of the longest debates in Senate history. The bill had a rough time going through the Senate when the “Southern Bloc” of southern Senators led by Richard Russell announce a filibuster lasting 54 days to prevent its passage. Richard Russell said, “We’ll resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would tend to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our states (Southern states).” The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark piece of U.S.A. legislation that outlawed segregation in schools, public places, and employment. The bill also created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission covering both race and gender for the first time in history.