John’s Believe It Or Not… April 13th

John Fioravanti standing at the front of his classroom.

It’s Therapeutic Thursday! Did you know…

* 2003 – Mike Weir wins the Masters Tournament. (The 2003 Masters Tournament was the 67th Masters Tournament, held April 11–13 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Mike Weir won his only major title in a one-hole playoff over Len Mattiace. He was the first Canadian to win a major, and also the first left-handed player to win the Masters.)

Image showingTiger Woods giving Mike Weir the Green Blazer
Tiger Woods giving Mike Weir the Green Blazer.

* 1997 Tiger Woods wins his first major. (On this day in 1997, 21-year-old Tiger Woods wins the prestigious Masters Tournament by a record 12 strokes in Augusta, Georgia. It was Woods’ first victory in one of golf’s four major championships–the U.S. Open, the British Open, the PGA Championship, and the Masters–and the greatest performance by a professional golfer in more than a century. His margin of victory–12 strokes–was the largest in the 20th century, and second only to Old Tom Morris’ 13-shot margin at the 1862 British Open. His score of 18-under-par 270 broke Jack Nicklaus’ 32-year-old Masters record of 17-under-par 271. He was the youngest golfer by two years to win the Masters and the first person of Asian or African heritage to win a major. Never before had so many spectators come to Augusta National, and never before had so many people watched it on television.)

Photo:Tiger Woods receives the Masters green jacket from 1996 Masters champion Nick Faldo after Woods won
Tiger Woods receives the Masters green jacket from 1996 Masters champion Nick Faldo after Woods won

* 1964 Sidney Poitier wins Best Actor Oscar for Lilies of the Field. (On this day in 1964, Sydney Poitier becomes the first African-American to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, for his role as a construction worker who helps build a chapel in Lilies of the Field (1963). By consistently refusing to play the stereotypical roles that were offered to him as a black actor, Poitier blazed a trail for himself and the performers who followed him. By the time he earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for The Defiant Ones (1958), his work in such films as The Blackboard Jungle (1955) had made him America’s first prominent black film star. With his historic Oscar win for Lilies of the Field, Poitier became only the second African-American to win an Academy Award. The first was Hattie McDaniel, who won in the Best Supporting Actress category in 1939 for Gone with the Wind. McDaniel played Mammy, the tough but indulgent slave governess to the spoiled Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara. Critics of the film, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), later pointed to the role as an example of the typical black stereotypes that Hollywood was keeping alive.)

Scene from the movie - Poitier talking with Mother Superior at the kitchen table.

* 1990 Soviets admit to Katyn Massacre. (The Soviet government officially accepts blame for the Katyn Massacre of World War II, when nearly 5,000 Polish military officers were murdered and buried in mass graves in the Katyn Forest. The admission was part of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s promise to be more forthcoming and candid concerning Soviet history. In 1939, Poland had been invaded from the west by Nazi forces and from the east by Soviet troops. Sometime in the spring of 1940, thousands of Polish military officers were rounded up by Soviet secret police forces, taken to the Katyn Forest outside of Smolensk, massacred, and buried in a mass grave. In 1941, Germany attacked the Soviet Union and pushed into the Polish territory once held by the Russians. In 1943, with the war against Russia going badly, the Germans announced that they had unearthed thousands of corpses in the Katyn Forest. Representatives from the Polish government-in-exile (situated in London) visited the site and decided that the Soviets, not the Nazis, were responsible for the killings. These representatives, however, were pressured by U.S. and British officials to keep their report secret for the time being, since they did not want to risk a diplomatic rupture with the Soviets. As World War II came to an end, German propaganda lashed out at the Soviets, using the Katyn Massacre as an example of Russian atrocities. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin flatly denied the charges and claimed that the Nazis were responsible for the slaughter. The matter was not revisited for 40 years.)

Head shot of Stalin
Russian parliament admits Stalin ordered Katyn massacre

* 1360 Hail kills English troops. (On so-called “Black Monday” in 1360, a hail storm kills an estimated 1,000 English soldiers in Chartres, France. The storm and the devastation it caused also played a part in the Hundred Years’ War between England and France. The Hundred Years’ War began in 1337; by 1359, King Edward III of England was actively attempting to conquer France. In October, he took a massive force across the English Channel to Calais. The French refused to engage in direct fights and stayed behind protective walls throughout the winter, while Edward pillaged the countryside. The heavy losses suffered by the English were seen by many as a sign from God. King Edward was convinced to negotiate peace with the French. On May 8, 1360, the Treaty of Bretigny was signed, marking the end of the first phase of the Hundred Years’ War. Edward agreed to renounce all claims to the throne of France, though he was given control of land in the north of the country. Fighting resumed nine years later, when the king of France declared war, claiming Edward had not honored the treaty. The last phase of the Hundred Years’ War did not end until 1453. The largest hailstone recorded in modern times was found in Aurora, Nebraska. It was seven inches in diameter, about the size of a soccer ball. Hail typically falls at about 100 miles per hour.)

Painting showing the storm on the battlefield
Black Monday 1360

Look who was born on this date!

* Guy Fawkes in 1570. (English English Catholic Conspirator: Tried to blow up the English Parliament – with King James I in it. Now, he’s the ‘guy’ that is burned on bonfires in England on 5th November.)

 

 

 

head shot of Jefferson* Thomas Jefferson in 1743. (He was an American Founding Father who was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and later served as the third President of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Previously, he was elected the second Vice President of the United States, serving under John Adams from 1797 to 1801. A proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights motivating American colonists to break from Great Britain and form a new nation, he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level.)

head shot of Cassidy* Butch Cassidy in 1866. (American Outlaw:  Notorious American train robber, bank robber and leader of the Wild Bunch Gang in the American Old West.)

 

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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 (http://fiorabooks.com), 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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