This week in history


Cat Madish, Editor-in-Chief

  • On Feb. 24, 1886, the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Andrew Johnson due to his removal of the Secretary of War. This was said to be a violation of the Tenure of Office Act, which stated that the president couldn’t fire civil officers without getting the approval of the Senate. Johnson was the first American president that was impeached, but he was never removed from office. This was because, while the House voted to impeach, the Senate was one vote short of a two-thirds majority.
  • On Feb. 23, 1945, US soldiers raised the flag on the summit of Iwo Jima. The battle of Iwo Jima was one of the bloodiest military campaigns of World War II, as it spanned over five weeks, with the Japanese losing 216 out of around 21,000 and the US losing nearly 7,000. The American military had initially thought that the battle would only last a few days. However, due to the leadership of Japanese General Tadamichi Kuribayash, the American army met many unforeseen challenges. Instead, the American army was only able to land after a couple of days. Two days later, on February 23, Joe Rosenthal took one of the photos that defined the World War II period. Unfortunately, many of those that Rosenthal captured ended up dying in the fighting that came afterward. Despite General Kuribayashi committing suicide in his command post on March 23, the battle is seen as coming to an end on March 25, when 300 of Kuribayashi’s men launched the last banzai attack. While many died, about 3,000 Japanese soldiers went into hiding when the US occupied the island and many continued to fight until 1949.
  • On Feb. 21, 1965,  Malcolm X was assassinated. Malcolm X lived a life of crime but is said to have abandoned that life and embraced Islam while in prison. This is where he met the leader of the Nation of Islam, an African American religious group that combines Islamic traditions with Black nationalism. When Malcolm X was released from prison, he became a minister of the Nation of Islam where he began to feel that The Nation didn’t support the civil rights movement enough. This led to Malcolm X leaving The Nation in 1963 to make the pilgrimage to Mecca; here, he was shocked to learn that racism within the Islamic faith was present — it wasn’t just white people at fault. This solidified his belief that racism — not white people — was what he should be working against. Malcolm X worked toward that ideal for the rest of his life until he was assassinated in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom by people who were said to be affiliated with the Nation of Islam.
  • On Feb. 27, 1980, Gloria Gaynor was awarded the first Grammy for best disco recording for her song “I Will Survive”. Disco music originated in the nightclubs of the 1960s and became the most popular genre of dance music in the 70s. In fact, Gloria Gaynor was also responsible for the first disco hit, a song called, “Never Can Say Goodbye”. After this, many musicians and bands emerged known for their disco music. By the time the Grammys gave the award for best disco recording, the genre was already losing its fame. While it has inspired many musicians, the award for best disco recording was never given out again.