First U.S. Woman in Space
June 18, 1983
Sally Ride aboard the space shuttle Challenger. She is still the youngest American astronaut to have traveled to space, having done so at the age of 32.
She was the third woman in space overall, after USSR cosmonauts Valentina Tereshkova (1963) and Svetlana Savitskaya (1982).
Civil War – Juneteenth – Slaves in Texas are Freed
June 19, 1865
News of the end of the Civil War reaches Galveston, Texas with Union army general Gordon Granger’s reading of federal orders. Confederate General Robert E. Lee had surrendered two months earlier.
Along with the Emancipation Proclamation, this freed the slaves. This event is celebrated in Texas as an official state holiday and across the U.S. as an unofficial American holiday known as Juneteenth and has been celebrated in the Texas area since 1866.
Detroit Race Riot
June 20, 1943
Two days of violence begins in which 34 people are killed and 700 injured. Six thousand federal troops were brought in to suppress the riots. The riots started after a false rumor spread that a mob of whites had thrown an African-American mother and her baby into the Detroit River. Blacks looted and destroyed white property as retaliation. Another false rumor that blacks had raped and murdered a white woman on the Belle Isle Bridge swept through white neighborhoods. Soon mobs of both races were attacking each other. A total of 34 people were killed, 25 of them black and most at the hands of white police or National Guardsmen. Racial tensions had been high over housing shortages due to Detroit automobile factories gearing up for World War II bringing in nearly 400,000 migrants, both black and white, from the Southeastern United States the previous two years. There had been regular protests of blacks moving into white communities.