John’s Believe It Or Not… March 25th

Picture of John Fioravanti at the front of his classroom.

It’s Superb Saturday! Did you know…

* 1958 – The Great Zura takes the CF-105 Avro Arrow for its first flight. (The Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow, often known simply as the Avro Arrow, was a delta-winged interceptor aircraft designed and built by Avro Canada. The Arrow is considered to have been an advanced technical and aerodynamic achievement for the Canadian aviation industry. The CF-105 (Mark 2) held the promise of near-Mach 2 speeds at altitudes of 50,000 feet (15,000 m) and was intended to serve as the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) primary interceptor in the 1960s and beyond. The Arrow was the culmination of a series of design studies begun in 1953 examining improved versions of the Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck. After considerable study, the RCAF selected a dramatically more powerful design, and serious development began in March 1955. The aircraft was intended to be built directly from the production line, skipping the traditional hand-built prototype phase. The first Arrow Mk. I, RL-201, was rolled out to the public on 4 October 1957, the same day as the launch of Sputnik I. The Diefenbaker government decided to scrap the project in 1958.)

Picture of the Arrow in full flight.

* 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York City. (In one of the darkest moments of America’s industrial history, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory in New York City burns down, killing 145 workers, on this day in 1911. The tragedy led to the development of a series of laws and regulations that better protected the safety of factory workers. The Triangle factory, owned by Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, was located on the top three floors of the 10-story Asch Building in downtown Manhattan. It was a sweatshop in every sense of the word: a cramped space lined with workstations and packed with poor immigrant workers, mostly teenaged women who did not speak English. At the time of the fire, there were four elevators with access to the factory floors, but only one was fully operational, and it could hold only 12 people at a time. There were two stairways down to the street, but one was locked from the outside to prevent theft by the workers and the other opened inward only. The fire escape, as all would come to see, was shoddily constructed, and could not support the weight of more than a few women at a time.)

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire-Staircase-Collapse
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire-Staircase-Collapse

* 1955 U.S. Customs seizes Howl. (The U.S. Customs Department confiscates 520 copies of Allen Ginsberg’s book Howl, which had been printed in England. Officials alleged that the book was obscene. City Lights, a publishing company and bookstore in San Francisco owned by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, proceeded to publish the book in the fall of 1956. The publication led to Ferlinghetti’s arrest on obscenity charges. Ferlinghetti was bailed out by the American Civil Liberties Union, which led the legal defence. Nine literary experts testified at the trial that the poem was not obscene, and Ferlinghetti was found not guilty. Howl, which created a literary earthquake among the literary community when Ginsberg first read the poem in 1955, still stands as an important monument to the countercultural fervour of the late 1950s and ’60s. Ginsberg stayed at the forefront of numerous liberal movements throughout his life and became a well-loved lecturer at universities around the country. He continued to write and read poetry until his death from liver cancer in 1997.)Picture of Ginsberg flanked by two other men.

* 1932 Verdict is announced in Scottsboro case. (The Supreme Court hands down its decision in the case of Powell v. Alabama. The case arose out of the infamous Scottsboro case. Nine young black men were arrested and accused of raping two white women on a train in Alabama. The boys were fortunate to barely escaped a lynch mob sent to kill them but were railroaded into convictions and death sentences. The Supreme Court overturned the convictions on the basis that they did not have effective representation. Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, the alleged victims, were not the virtuous women that the white establishment in Alabama had tried to portray. In fact, both were prostitutes who had concocted the charges out of thin air. Bates eventually recanted her testimony. The accused boys were not given lawyers until the morning of the trial and these attorneys made almost no effort to defend their clients. On the same day that the case began, the defendants were convicted and received death sentences.)Picture of the nine accused.

* 1968 Johnson meets with the “Wise Men”. (After being told by Defense Secretary Clark Clifford that the Vietnam War is a “real loser,” President Johnson, still uncertain about his course of action, decides to convene a nine-man panel of retired presidential advisors. The group, which became known as the “Wise Men,” included the respected generals Omar Bradley and Matthew Ridgway, distinguished State Department figures like Dean Acheson and George Ball, and McGeorge Bundy, National Security Advisor to both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. After two days of deliberation, the group reached a consensus: they advised against any further troop increases and recommended that the administration seeks a negotiated peace. Although Johnson was initially furious at their conclusions, he quickly came to believe that they were right. On March 31, Johnson announced on television that he was restricting the bombing of North Vietnam to the area just north of the Demilitarized Zone. Additionally, he committed the United States to discuss peace at any time or place. Then Johnson announced that he would not pursue re-election for the presidency.)Head shot of Johnson.

Look who was born on this date!

Head shot of David Lean* David Lean in 1908. (English Film Director:  David Lean is famous for his epic films on a grand scale, such as “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Doctor Zhivago”. Lean’s career began as an editor before he took on directing and later screen writing roles. An early success was romantic drama “A Brief Encounter” (1945) and the Dickens adaptations Great Expectations” (1946) and “Oliver Twist” (1948). The first of his truly epic films was the war drama “Bridge on the River Kwai” (1957), for which he won an Oscar for Best Director and the film Best Picture. His follow-up “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962) also won Best Picture and Director. Lean’s most financially successful film was “Doctor Zhivago” (1965) set in revolutionary Russia and famous for its musical score. Lean’s last major film was “A Passage to India” (1984), based on E.M. Forster’s novel, for which he also alone wrote the screenplay. Lean was knighted in 1984.)

Head shot of Jack Ruby* Jack Ruby in 1911. (Killer of Lee Harvey Oswald: Best known for fatally shooting Lee Harvey Oswald, when he was in police custody after being charged with the assassination of John F. Kennedy, on live TV.)



Head shot of Signoret* Simone Signoret in 1921. (She was a French cinema actress often hailed as one of France’s greatest film stars. She became the first French person to win an Academy Award, for her role in Room at the Top (1959).)






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.

8 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… March 25th”

  1. A new fav. John – tho’ I’m not thrilled by some of the content, I’m pleased to know that, eventually, brighter minds prevailed. NOW I need to play catch-up!
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

I love comments & questions! Please share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s