On This Day: Charles Hall is first African American to shoot down enemy in WWII

On July 2, 1943, Lt. Charles Hall became the first African-American pilot to shoot down a Nazi plane in World War II during an Allied assault on three Italian air bases. Seated in his P-40L Warhawk, Hall points to a freshly painted swastika marking his kill. File Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force

July 2 (UPI) — On this date in history:

In 1776, the Second Continental Congress formally adopted a resolution for independence from Britain.

In 1788, it was announced in the U.S. Congress that the new Constitution had been ratified by the required nine states, the ninth being New Hampshire.

In 1839, slaves being shipped to Cuba revolted and seized the ship Amistad, leading to an eventual end of the African slave market.

In 1881, U.S. President James Garfield was shot by Charles J. Guiteau, a mentally unstable lawyer and office-seeker. Garfield died Sept. 19 and was succeeded by Vice President Chester Arthur. Guiteau was convicted and hanged in 1882.

In 1900, the world’s first rigid airship was demonstrated by Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin in Germany.

In 1934, 6-year-old Shirley Temple signed a contract with Fox Film Corp. She went on to become one of the biggest movie stars of the era. Her mother told United Press that to keep her daughter grounded, she would tell her, “You’re not so good as an actress, Shirley.”

In 1937, U.S. aviator Amelia Earhart and navigator Frederick Noonan were reported lost over the Pacific Ocean. They were never found. In 1932, Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and later that year was the first woman to fly solo non-stop from coast to coast in the United States.

In 1943, Lt. Charles Hall became the first African-American pilot to shoot down a Nazi plane in World War II during an Allied assault on three Italian air bases. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower personally congratulated Hall when the escort squadron returned to base.

In 1962, the first Walmart store opened — in Rogers, Ark. In May 2018, the retail outlet topped the Fortune 500 list for the sixth year in a row as the first U.S. company with $500 billion in yearly sales.

In 1964, the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law with the signature of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

In 1976, North and South Vietnam reunited, forming the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and naming Hanoi the capital.

In 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed numerical hiring goals for minorities, rejecting the Reagan administration view that affirmative action be limited to proven victims of race discrimination.

In 1990, a stampede in a pedestrian tunnel at the Muslim holy city of Mecca during the annual hajj killed 1,426 pilgrims.

In 1992, the 1 millionth Corvette rolled off the production line in Bowling Green, Ky.

In 1993, South African President F.W de Klerk and African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela announced that the country’s first election open to all races would be April 27, 1994.

In 1993, Islamist extremists set fire to a hotel in Sivas, Turkey, in an apparent attempt to kill the translator of British author Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses. Thirty-five people died.

In 2000, Vicente Fox was elected president of Mexico.

In 2002, American Steve Fossett completed the first round-the-world solo flight in a balloon, reaching Queensland in the Australian outback to finish a 13-day, 19,428-mile trip that began in Western Australia.

Pilot Steve Fossett’s Bud Lite Spirit of Freedom balloon crosses the south Australian coast July 3, 2002. Fossett was successful in his bid to complete the first solo circumnavigation of the world by balloon.

In 2009, India’s ban on homosexuality, in effect since 1861, was overturned by New Delhi’s highest court. On December 11, 2013, India’s Supreme Court reinstated the ban, re-criminalizing homosexuality.

In 2013, in announcing an Affordable Care Act delay, U.S. officials said a mandate that larger employers provide health coverage for their workers, or pay penalties, would not be enforced until 2015.

In 2015, 62 people were killed in the Philippines when a crowded ferry carrying nearly 200 people abruptly capsized — just minutes after it left port.

In 2016, Elie Wiesel, the Jewish author, Nobel laureate, academic and Holocaust survivor whose writings on unthinkable Nazi brutality brought the reality of the world’s largest genocide into stark relief, died. He was 87.

In 2017, Australian Jeff Horn pulled off a stunning Rocky-like upset in the “Battle of Brisbane” with a unanimous decision over Manny Pacquiao to claim the WBO welterweight title at Suncorp Stadium.


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