This week in history


Cat Madish, Editor-In-Chief

  • On Dec. 5, 1872, The Dei Gratia spotted the Mary Celeste sailing Azores Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The ship was in good condition and in full sail but no one was aboard and the lifeboat was missing. The personal belongings of the crew remained, as well as the cargo. No one knows where the crew went and remains one of the biggest maritime mysteries to this day.
  • On Nov. 29, 1942, coffee rationing began due to World War II. Citizens were allowed one pound for every five weeks, which amounted to less than a cup a day. Rationing was employed in order to guarantee an equal distribution of resources between citizens, as well as give the military priority; one ad from this period reads, “Do with less— so they’ll have enough!” Coffee was only rationed for a year, but many with the extra money still turned to the black market. This rationing produced what was dubbed “Roosevelt coffee”, the name for a watery cup of coffee due to reusing the grounds.
  • On Nov. 20, 1954, a 7-inch 8.5 lb Meteorite struck Elizabeth Hodges Sylacauga, Alabama. This sulfide meteorite crashed through her roof, bounced off her radio, and hit Mrs. Hodges, who was sleeping on the couch, in the hip. After hearing about this incident, a crowd flocked to her house. Shortly afterward, she was hospitalized where they found that she had a severe bruise, but was not permanently injured. People were in disbelief; what are the chances of a meteorite hitting you? Because of this, people thought the rock might have been debris from a plane wreck, or even from the Soviet Union. This, surprisingly, was not the first time a person was struck by a meteorite, but it was the first time a person was struck by a meteorite during modern times.
  • On Dec. 4, 1969, Fred Hampton, and Mark Clark, members of the Black Panther Party, were gunned down by 14 police officers while they slept in their Chicago apartment. Police reported that it was a gun battle, with over a hundred bullets fired. However, only one of the bullets was found to be from the Panthers; The rest empty shells were found to be fired by police weapons. Not only that, but the holes within the apartment that were originally claimed to be bullet holes were found to actually be nail holes created by the police as an attempt to cover up the attack. The use of excessive force and was fought about many years after this, and caused an upheaval in Chicago. Many took to the streets, hundreds of Panthers were arrested without cause. Despite the evidence of falsification, the first federal grand jury did not indict anyone. Additionally, even though the second grand did indict all the police officers involved, the charges were dismissed; none of the police officers involved were held accountable for their actions. In 1982, a civil lawsuit filed by relatives and survivors of the attack was settled and the families were given $1.82 million, which some believe to be admission wrongdoing.