Notable events from our shared experience
A California professor of African studies leads the first celebration of Kwanzaa, on Dec. 26, 1966. Rooted in the Black Power movement, Maulana Karenga seeks to connect black Americans with traditional African harvest rituals and give young people an introduction to the continent’s culture during what becomes an annual weeklong observance.
Signaling the end of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as general secretary Dec. 25, 1991, and hands over the nation’s nuclear launch codes to Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
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On Dec. 22, 1984, four young men surround 45-year-old Bernhard Goetz on a subway train in New York City. When they ask for $5, he shoots and wounds all four. Goetz is convicted of illegal gun possession; the most severely injured man wins $43 million in a civil suit.
Breaking its 55-year tradition of naming a “Man of the Year” (Charles Lindbergh was the first in 1927), Time magazine proclaims the personal computer “Machine of the Year” on Dec. 26, 1982.
John Bardeen and Walter Brattain demonstrate the first transistor at Bell Labs in New Jersey on Dec. 23, 1947. The transistor, which can amplify and switch electrical signals, will become the basic building block of the electronic age, making possible everything from the portable radio to the computer. The two scientists, along with colleague William Shockley, will share the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery in 1956.
Released in the United States on Dec. 26, 1963, the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” swiftly rises to No. 1. “She Loves You” follows on its heels, and Beatlemania is under way.
It’s Howdy Doody time on Dec. 27, 1947, when the kids’ TV show premieres on NBC. Howdy Doody, Buffalo Bob and Clarabell the Clown stay on the air until 1960.
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Images — Kwanzaa celebration: User Apavlo - Wikipedia; Time Magazine cover; Howdy Doody and friends: NBCU Photo Bank/ Getty Images
Music - Test Drive: Zapac via ccMixter; Howdy Doody theme via YouTube
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