This Week in History: Sept. 28 – Oct. 4

Caitlyn Dieckmann

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Sept. 28: Discovery of California and Penicillin  

     1542: Selected by the governor of Guatemala, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo set sail and discovered California in 1542, arriving on this day at what is now known as San Diego Bay.  

     1928: Bacteriologist Sir Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin by chance when he arrived home from a vacation to find an agar plate with a zone of inhibition free of an invading fungus. 

     Sept. 29: The first live sporting events and Tylenol murders 

     1951: The first live sporting events were broadcast coast-to-coast, featuring a college football game between Duke University and the University of Pittsburg on NBC. Then, the University of California and the University of Pennsylvania played the first live sports game broadcast in color on CBS.  

     1982: 12-year-old Mary Kellerman of Chicago died from cyanide poisoning after taking a Tylenol capsule. Several deaths would follow, all from Tylenol laced with cyanide. Selling of over-the-counter drugs would henceforth be changed, with product protection methods added as a result of the deaths.  

     Sept. 30: First female U.S. Supreme Court Justice  

     1981: Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female U.S. Supreme Court Justice. She retired in 2006 after 25 years and is currently 90 years old. She is one of four female Supreme Court Justices in history, along with Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and recently departed Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  

Sandra Day O’Connor in 1982.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

     Oct. 1: Nazis sentenced to death and Walt Disney World opens   

     1946: At the International War Crimes Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, 24 individuals were indicted, of which 12 Nazi leaders were sentenced to death.  

     1971: Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, Florida in 1971. Walt Disney himself passed away before he could see the park’s completion.  

     Oct. 2: Thurgood Marshall sworn in U.S. Supreme Court and Tlatelolco Massacre  

     1967: Thurgood Marshall, known for his opposition to discrimination and the death penalty as well as urging free speech and civil liberties, was sworn in as the first African American Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and served until 1991.  

     1968: In a peaceful student protest, 10 days before the Summer Olympics were held in Mexico City, thousands of students were fired upon by military troops. The mystery of the unknown death toll persists but is estimated to be in the hundreds. Several protests followed and were met with no tolerance, in what would become part of the Mexican Dirty War. 

     Oct. 3: East and West Germany reunited 

     1990: East and West Germany were reunited as the Federal Republic of Germany, after 45 years of division through the Cold War. This day is now known in Germany as “Unity Day.” 

     Oct. 4: Sculpting of Mount Rushmore 

     1927: Sculpting began on Mount Rushmore, following the proposed plan of historian Doane Robinson. The sculptor enlisted for the job was named Gutzon Borglum, who continued his work on the massive monument until his death in 1941.