Good News in History, August 6

60 years ago today, Jamaica reserved for themselves full independence from both Great Britain and the Federation of the West Indies. The new state retained, however, its membership in the Commonwealth of Nations (with the Queen as head of state) and adopted a Westminster-style parliamentary system. READ how it happened… 

The movement toward independence began in the 1950s after Norman Manley was elected Chief Minister in 1955, he sped up the process of decolonization via several constitutional amendments.

Under Manley, Jamaica entered the West Indies Federation, a political union of colonial Caribbean islands that, if it had survived, would have united ten British colonial territories into a single, independent state. Jamaica’s participation in the Federation was unpopular, and the results of the 1961 West Indies referendum held by Premier Manley cemented the colony’s withdrawal from the union in 1962. The West Indies Federation collapsed later that year following the departure of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Queen is still technically the head of state, but only as a sort of ceremonial role, appointing people elected by Jamaica to serve as the Prime Minister, and nothing else.

MORE Good News on This Day:

Bogota, Colombia was founded (1538)
The television comedian Lucille Ball was born (1911)
Independence was claimed by Bolivia (1825) and Jamaica (1962)
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into U.S. law, aiming to prohibit racial discrimination in voting rights guaranteed by the 14th and 15th Amendments to the US Constitution, especially in the south where minority rights were not being enforced (1965)
The Beatles released their fifth album, ‘Help!’—the soundtrack to their second film also included the ‘The Night Before’, ‘You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away’, ‘You’re Going to Lose That Girl’, ‘Ticket to Ride’ and ‘Yesterday’ (1965)
Doi Takako became Japan’s first female speaker of the House of Representatives (1991)
British Prime Minister Tony Blair shook hands with Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, the first meeting in 76 years between a British leader and IRA ally (1997)
Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed as the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice by a Senate vote of 68-31 (2009)
The U.S. sent a representative to the ceremony in Japan marking the 65th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima with the United States represented at the ceremony for the first time, reflecting President Barack Obama’s push to rid the world of nuclear weapons (2010)
After a decade-long journey chasing its target, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta, carrying three NASA instruments, became the first spacecraft to rendezvous with a comet (2014)
Photo by Uldis Bojārs and Coolcaesar, CC license

31 years ago today, Tim Berners-Lee released documents describing his invention of the World Wide Web. The English computer scientist designed and built the first web browser to access the new information management system. His Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) would be used for contacting informational servers anywhere in the world, the first of which was the CERN HTTPd.

He worked at CERN at the time, and his manager called his proposals ‘vague, but exciting’. Later knighted by the Queen, Berners-Lee is currently the director of the World Wide Web Consortium, which oversees the continued development of the Web. (1991)

And on this day in 1926, American Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim across the English Channel. Called “The Queen of the Waves”, she was an Olympic champion swimmer, and former world record-holder in five events.

211 years ago today, Alfred Lord Tennyson, one of England’s most quoted poets, was born. The Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland, during much of Queen Victoria’s reign, Tennyson is the ninth most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations… (1809)

Tis better to have loved and lost – than never to have loved at all. – Alfred Lord Tennyson To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. – TennysonRing out the old, ring in the new. Ring out the false, ring in the true. TennysonKnowledge comes, but Wisdom lingers. – TennysonMy strength is as the strength of ten, Because my heart is pure. – Tennyson

Also, 40 years ago today, Pink Floyd’s film The Wall starring Bob Geldof debuted in America. Conceived along with the double album by Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, audiences flocked to the film about a rocker descending into despair. 

It eventually earned $22 million and “two thumbs up” from critics Siskel and Ebert. The film, mostly driven by music and lyrics, does not contain much dialogue. It is best known for its disturbing surrealism, its 15 minutes of animation, and explicit scenes featuring violence, fascism and gore. (1982)

And, on this day in 1928, the artist Andy Warhol was born in Pittsburgh. A leading figure in the 1960s visual art movement known as pop art, his subjects included celebrities (Marilyn Monroe) and commerce (Campbell’s Soup Cans).

Photo by Jack Mitchell, CC license

He coined the widely used expression ‘fifteen minutes of fame’ and managed Lou Reed’s innovative band, The Velvet Underground. An iconic New Yorker, he died at age 58 following gallbladder surgery. Describing himself as a religious person, he regularly volunteered at homeless shelters, and to celebrate his birth, 90 cases of Campbell’s — or 1,080 cans — are being donated to the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank.

A new book and exhibition, Contact Warhol, is set to release more than 130,000 unpublished photographs offering insights into the king of pop art’s personal life, taken by the man who never went anywhere without a camera. Trivia fact: His most expensive painting, Silver Car Crash, was sold for $105 million dollars at auction. WATCH a PBS short on Warhol below…

And, 62 years ago today, the 18-year-old singer Chubby Checker performed his version of The Twist on Dick Clark’s show, American Bandstand, starting a worldwide dance craze phenomenon on television for the first time. The song soon reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart—and then, again, for a second time in 1962, making it the only song to hit No. 1 twice.

Thanks to Dick Clark urging Checker to record The Twist for his rock ‘n’ roll variety show, the influential cover broke barriers, both generational—as kids and parents alike danced The Twist—and racial, with whites buying the record of a Black artist’s. WATCH the show… (1960)

SHARE the Milestones, Memories, and Music…