John’s Believe It Or Not… March 14th

John standing at the front of his classroom.

It’s Terrific Tuesday! Did you know…

* 1984 – Marc Garneau named first Canadian to go into space; member of the CSA’s Canadian Astronaut Program. (Garneau was one of the first six Canadian astronauts selected in December 1983, and was the first Canadian to go into space, as a payload specialist on Shuttle Missions STS-41G Challenger (October 5-13, 1984) and STS-77 Endeavour (May 19-29, 1996), logging over 437 hours in space. Garneau has since served as spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) in Mission Control during Shuttle flights. He is now a Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister in the Trudeau government.)

Garneau in his astronaut equipment sitting in fron of the US and Canadian flags.

* 1794 Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin machine. (It was one of the key inventions of the Industrial Revolution and shaped the economy of the Antebellum South. His invention strengthened the economic foundation of slavery in the United States.)Picture of the Cotton Gin

* 1950 The FBI debuts 10 Most Wanted. (On this day in 1950, the Federal Bureau of Investigation institutes the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list in an effort to publicise particularly dangerous fugitives. The creation of the program arose out of a wire service news story in 1949 about the “toughest guys” the FBI wanted to capture. The story drew so much public attention that the “Ten Most Wanted” list was given the okay by J. Edgar Hoover the following year. As of 2011, 465 of the criminals included on the list have been apprehended or located, 153 as a result of tips from the public. The criteria for selection is simple, the criminal must have a lengthy record and current pending charges that make him or her particularly dangerous. And the FBI must believe that the publicity attendant to placement on the list will assist in the apprehension of the fugitive.)Newspaper page with the 10 Most Wanted* 1991 Birmingham Six released. (In the face of widespread questioning of their guilt, British authorities release the so-called “Birmingham Six,” six Irish men who had been sent to prison 16 years earlier for the 1974 terrorist bombings of two Birmingham, England, pubs. On November 21, 1974, two Irish Republican Army (IRA) bombs exploded in two separate Birmingham pubs, killing 21 people and injuring hundreds. The bombing attacks were part of the ongoing conflict between the British government and the IRA over the status of Northern Ireland. During the subsequent trial, the defendants maintained their innocence, claiming that police had beaten the confessions out of them. Prosecutors denied this and also came up with forensic evidence that apparently proved that the Birmingham Six had handled explosives shortly before their arrest. They were convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms. In 1985, the forensic evidence was exposed by scientists as unreliable at best, and in 1987 an appeals judge conceded that the same results could be obtained from testing people who recently touched playing cards or cigarette paper. However, it was not until March 1991, with people across Britain and Ireland calling for their release, that the Birmingham Six were freed after years in prison. Seven years later, a British court of appeals formally overturned their sentences, citing serious doubts about the legitimacy of the police evidence and the treatment of the suspects during their interrogation.)Picture of The Birmingham Six the day they were released

* 1967 JFK’s body moved to its permanent gravesite. (On this day in history, the body of President John F. Kennedy was moved to a spot just a few feet away from its original interment site at Arlington National Cemetery. The slain president had been assassinated more than three years earlier, on November 22, 1963. Although JFK never specified where he wanted to be buried, most of his family and friends assumed he would have chosen a plot in his home state of Massachusetts. Because JFK was a World War II veteran, he qualified for a plot at Arlington National Cemetery, but he also deserved a special site befitting his presidential status. The spring before he died, President Kennedy had made an unscheduled tour of Arlington and had remarked to a friend on the view of the Potomac from the Custis-Lee Mansion, reportedly saying it was so magnificent I could stay forever. After the assassination, the friend who accompanied JFK to Arlington that day relayed the comment to the president’s brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, who suggested the site to Jacqueline Kennedy, the president’s widow. Jackie, who was responsible for the final decision, toured the site on November 24 and agreed. “He belongs to the people,” she said.)Picture of the permanent gravesite in Arlington.

Look who was born on this date!

head shot of Einstein* Albert Einstein in 1874. (German Theoretical Physicist:  A Jewish-born German, later naturalised as a US citizen, Einstein became the most influential physicist of the 20th century. He developed his special theory of relativity in response to problems he saw with Newtonian mechanics. His mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2 has been called the “the world’s most famous equation”. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 and later warned President Roosevelt of the dangers of bombs being developed, later protesting against their use as weapons.)

Head shot of Quincy Jones Jr.* Quincy Jones Jr in 1933. (American Composer & Singer:  A prolific composer and record producer for legendary musicians such as Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Celene Dion and Aretha Franklin. He had won 27 Grammy Award in 79 nominations.)



Head shot of Michael Caine* Michael Caine [Maurice Micklewhite] in 1933. (English actor and author. Renowned for his distinctive Cockney accent (now also known as a working-class London accent), Caine has appeared in over 115 films and is regarded as a British film icon.)


Author: John Fioravanti

I'm a retired History teacher (35 years), husband, father of three, grandfather of three. My wife, Anne, and I became business partners in December, 2013, and launched our own publishing company, Fiora Books (, to publish my books. We have been married since 1973 and hope our joint business venture will be as successful as our marriage.

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