Good News in History September 25

On this day, 132 years ago, Congress established Sequoia National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. Since that day, the protected area in which the park can be found has now grown much larger, to include the nearby King’s Canyon National Park, Giant Sequoia National Monument, and Sequoia National Forest, protecting a total of 404,064 acres (631 sq. miles) and at least 8,000 colossal sequoia specimens. READ more about the area… (1890)

Sequoia tree by Nikolay Maslov

Inside the park is the world’s largest tree by wood volume. General Sherman is 2,100 years old, 2.7 million pounds, 275 feet tall and 100 feet wide at its trunk. The General Sherman tree grows in the Giant Forest, which contains five of the ten largest trees in the world.

The early American history of the park is infamously remembered through images of chopping down sequoias, although they weren’t to become anywhere near as prized as California giant redwoods, as sequoia wood was found to splinter quite easily.

Prior to the incorporation by the National Park Service, the park was managed by US army troops of the 24th Regiment of Infantry and the 9th Regiment of Cavalry, better known as the “Buffalo Soldiers.” These segregated African-American men from the South were an invaluable demographic to the military with the lowest rates of desertion. The Buffalo Soldiers completed park infrastructure projects as well as park management duties, helping to shape the role of the modern-day park ranger.

The vast majority of the park is roadless wilderness; no road crosses the Sierra Nevada within the park’s boundaries. 84%of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is designated wilderness and is accessible only by foot or by horseback.

MORE Good News on this Day:

The People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria was formally proclaimed (1962)
41 years ago, Sandra Day O’Connor was sworn in as the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court (1981)
A Florida judge ruled in favor of Gregory Kingsley, a 12-year-old boy seeking a ‘divorce from his biological parents (1992)
Happy Birthday to actor Michael Douglas, 78, and his wife of many years, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, 53

Happy Birthday to Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars film series and turns 71 today.

A prolific voice actor, he has portrayed characters in many animated TV shows, films, and video games.

Gage Skidmore – CC License

Mark has been getting ready to play Skeletor in Netflix’s new Master of the Universe: Revelation, and he recently reprised his iconic Skywalker role in Season 2 of The Mandalorian on Disney+.

“Jon Favreau sent me links to reaction videos, which were just—you know… I don’t get to see these things in the audience. To see grown men cry and just people screaming their heads off, it was really, really thrilling for me to see them enjoying it so much.”

The Jedi master, who often tweets back to Star Wars fans, responded last week on Twitter to someone who said, “You could just tweet your name and you’d get thousands of likes.” Well, he did, and it received 570,000 likes, 34,000 retweets, plus 5,000 replies, with celebrities like George Takei joining in the homage. WATCH his perfect impression of Harrison Ford talking about the filming of Star Wars… (1951)

Also on this day in 1957, 9 black teenagers were ushered into Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas by 300 U.S. Army soldiers, one day after an unruly crowd of 1,000 white protestors had blocked the students from entering the building.

It was the first important test of the U.S. Supreme Court decision (Brown vs. Board of Education) that ordered the integration of public schools. It was also a test of federal power over racism in the south. The world watched as the “Little Rock Nine” became the focal point of a showdown between Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, who encouraged the protestors and sent his state troops to keep the students out, and President Dwight Eisenhower, who seized control of the state’s entire 10,000-man National Guard and deployed the 101st Airborne Division from a neighboring state to enforce the law. Today the Little Rock Central High School is a National Historic Landmark. WATCH a Video…

Also on this day, in 1976, the rock band U2 was first formed at drummer Larry Mullen’s Dublin home.

A 14-year-old student at Mount Temple Comprehensive School, Mullen posted a note on the school’s notice board in search of musicians for a new band—six people responded. Setting up in his kitchen, Mullen was on drums, with Paul Hewson (Bono) on lead vocals; David Evans (the Edge) on guitar and Adam Clayton on bass. The popularity of punk rock, their biggest influence, convinced the group that musical proficiency was not a prerequisite to being successful.

Photo by Will Smith, FB

Happy Birthday to the fabulous Will Smith, who turns 54 today. The Philadelphia-born rapper and Oscar-nominated actor is famous for films, like Men In Black, Bad Boys, Ali, Independence Day, and The Pursuit of Happyness. His blockbuster magic is unparalleled: Smith is the only actor to have eight consecutive films gross over $100 million in the domestic box office, eleven consecutive films gross over $150 million internationally. He now uses Facebook to spread inspiring motivational messages, like this one… (1968)

Also, Happy 93rd Birthday to broadcast journalist, author, and TV personality, Barbara Waltersthe first woman to sit in an anchor chair on an American news program.

2004 photo by John Mathew Smith / www.celebrity-photos.com

Walters broke into television in the early 1960s, when she was a writer and segment producer of “women’s interest stories” for The Today Show. As a result of her outstanding interviewing ability and her popularity with viewers, she received more airtime, until she became a co-host. In 1976, continuing as a pioneer for women in broadcasting, Walters became the first female co-anchor of a network evening news show, the ABC Evening News, earning an unprecedented $1 million per year. On her Barbara Walters specials she’s interviewed every sitting president since Richard Nixon. She co-hosted on Today, 20/20, and The View—which she created—until her retirement in 2015. (1929)

And, 92 years ago today, Shel Silverstein, the poet, singer-songwriter and author was born in Chicago. His books, Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Giving Tree have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold more than 20 million copies.

Expelled from a university for poor academic performance, he also wrote the hit songs, The Cover of Rolling Stone, The Unicorn, and A Boy Named Sue, which won a Grammy. He received two Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and Academy Award nominations. Silverstein died in 1999 at age 68 of a heart attack. WATCH his appearance on the Johnny Cash Show… (1930)

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