Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
August 28 is the 240th day of the year (241st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 125 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1963, the Reverend Martin Luther King addressed the crowds assembled on the Washington Mall from the steps at the Lincoln Memorial. His speech, “I have a Dream”, is forever embedded in history and our memories as one of the great moments in the fight for civil rights. But there were many other speakers, and in particular one great performance by the “Queen of Gospel”, Mahalia Jackson. Right before Dr. King spoke, Ms. Jackson performed “How I Got Over”.
Indeed, if Martin Luther King, Jr., had a favorite opening act, it was Mahalia Jackson, who performed by his side many times. On August 28, 1963, as she took to the podium before an audience of 250,000 to give the last musical performance before Dr. King’s speech, Dr. King himself requested that she sing the gospel classic “I’ve Been ‘Buked, and I’ve Been Scorned.” Jackson was just as familiar with Dr. King’s repertoire as he was with hers, and just as King felt comfortable telling her what to sing as the lead-in to what would prove to be the most famous speech of his life, Jackson felt comfortable telling him in what direction to take that speech.
The story that has been told since that day has Mahalia Jackson intervening at a critical junction when she decided King’s speech needed a course-correction. Recalling a theme she had heard him use in earlier speeches, Jackson said out loud to Martin Luther King, Jr., from behind the podium on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, “Tell them about the dream, Martin.” And at that moment, as can be seen in films of the speech, Dr. King leaves his prepared notes behind to improvise the entire next section of his speech-the historic section that famously begins “And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream….”
There is no embeddable video of Ms Jackson from that day but here is the inspirational song she performed that day.
475 – The Roman general Orestes forces western Roman Emperor Julius Nepos to flee his capital city, Ravenna.
489 – Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths defeats Odoacer at the Battle of Isonzo, forcing his way into Italy.
1189 – Third Crusade: the Crusaders begin the Siege of Acre under Guy of Lusignan
1349 – 6,000 Jews are killed in Mainz, accused of being the cause of the plague.
1511 – The Portuguese conquer Malacca.
1521 – The Ottoman Turks occupy Belgrade.
1542 – Turkish-Portuguese War (1538-1557) – Battle of Wofla: the Portuguese are scattered, their leader Christovao da Gama is captured and later executed.
1609 – Henry Hudson discovers Delaware Bay.
1619 – Ferdinand II is elected emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
1640 – Second Bishop’s War: King Charles I’s English army loses to a Scottish Covenanter force at the Battle of Newburn.
1789 – William Herschel discovers a new moon of Saturn.
1810 – Battle of Grand Port – the French accept the surrender of a British Navy fleet.
1830 – The Tom Thumb presages the first railway service in the United States.
1845 – The first issue of Scientific American magazine is published.
1849 – After a month-long siege, Venice, which had declared itself independent, surrenders to Austria.
1859 – A geomagnetic storm causes the Aurora Borealis to shine so brightly that it is seen clearly over parts of USA, Europe, and even as far away as Japan.
1862 – American Civil War: Second Battle of Bull Run, also known as the Battle of Second Manassas.
1867 – The United States takes possession of the, at this point unoccupied, Midway Atoll.
1879 – Cetshwayo, last king of the Zulus, is captured by the British.
1898 – Caleb Bradham renames his carbonated soft drink “Pepsi-Cola”.
1913 – Queen Wilhelmina opens the Peace Palace in The Hague.
1914 – World War I: the Royal Navy defeats the German fleet in the Battle of Heligoland Bight.
1914 – World War I: German troops conquer Namur.
1916 – World War I: Germany declares war on Romania.
1916 – World War I: Italy declares war on Germany.
1917 – Ten Suffragettes are arrested while picketing the White House.
1937 – Toyota Motors becomes an independent company.
1943 – World War II: in Denmark, a general strike against the Nazi occupation is started.
1944 – World War II: Marseille and Toulon are liberated.
1953 – Nippon Television broadcasts Japan’s first television show, including its first TV advertisement.
1955 – Black teenager Emmett Till is murdered in Mississippi, galvanizing the nascent American Civil Rights Movement.
1963 – March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr. gives his I Have a Dream speech
1963 – Emily Hoffert and Janice Wylie are murdered in their Manhattan flat, prompting the events that would lead to the passing of the Miranda Rights.
1964 – The Philadelphia race riot begins.
1968 – Riots in Chicago, Illinois, during the Democratic National Convention.
1979 – An IRA bomb explodes on the Grand Place in Brussels.
1981 – The National Centers for Disease Control announce a high incidence of pneumocystis and Kaposi’s sarcoma in gay men. These will soon be recognized as symptoms of an immune disorder, which will be called AIDS.
1986 – United States Navy officer Jerry A. Whitworth is sentenced to 365 years imprisonment for espionage for the Soviet Union.
1988 – Ramstein airshow disaster: three aircraft of the Frecce Tricolori demonstration team collide and the wreckage falls into the crowd. 75 are killed and 346 seriously injured.
1990 – Iraq declares Kuwait to be its newest province.
1990 – The Plainfield Tornado: an F5 tornado hits in Plainfield, Illinois, and Joliet, Illinois, killing 28 people.
1991 – Ukraine declares its independence from the Soviet Union.
1991 – Collapse of the Soviet Union – Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party.
1996 – Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales divorce.
1998 – Pakistan’s National Assembly passes a constitutional amendment to make the “Qur’an and Sunnah” the “supreme law” but the bill is defeated in the Senate.
2003 – An electricity blackout cuts off power to around 500,000 people living in south east England and brings 60% of London’s underground rail network to a halt.