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1776 This was the date that most delegates formally signed the engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia.
1913 The sixth day of the trial of Leo Frank almost ended in a mistrial as Judge L.S. Roan inadvertently held up a newspaper with a lurid headline printed in red that the jury could see.
Frank's attorney immediately objected and discussed calling for a mistrial, but he agreed to continue after Judge Roan instructed the jury to disregard anything they may had seen in the newspaper. A few minor witnesses were then called. Dr. J.W. Hurt, county physician who had also examined Mary Phagan's body, testified that although there was some evidence suggesting she may have been "outraged" (sexually assaulted), the evidence was not conclusive. Another factory employee and friend of Mary Phagan, Helen Ferguson, testified she had gone to the factory Friday night to get Mary's pay envelope, but Leo Frank had told her Mary would pick it up herself on Saturday. Click here for a detailed accounting of the case.
1934 On the day that Adolf Hitler declared himself sole ruler of Germany, members of the Georgia Mayors' Association met in Macon and called for the General Assembly to allow cities the local option of deciding liquor sales, Sunday amusements, and "other issues of strictly local application."
1960 Inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame were Wright Bazemore, Dwight Keith Sr., Hank Langston, Joe Pittard, James Skipworth Jr., and Tom Slate.
1983 By a vote of 338-90, the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation designating the third Monday in January as a federal holiday to honor the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr.
The legislation – HR 3706 – was then sent to the U.S. Senate, which passed the bill on Oct. 19 by a 78-22 vote. The bill was sent to President Ronald Reagan, who signed the bill on Nov. 2, 1983, as Public Law No. 98-144. Click here for the legislative history of the bill.
1996 This was the fifteenth day of the 1996 Summer Olympics – and day 14 of Olympic competition.
On this day, U.S. gold medal winners were Lindsay Davenport in women's single tennis, men's team archery, and women's team synchronized swimming.
In Athens, Ga., Brazil beat Portugal for the bronze medal in soccer playing in Sanford Stadium on the University of Georgia campus. Click here for a summary of medals awarded during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
1997 At 8:04 a.m., Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell pressed the button initiating a series of 1,200 detonations that imploded the 32-year-old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, former home of the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, and Olympic baseball. [Click here to see a video of the implosion.] The site of the old stadium was transformed into a parking lot for Turner Field.
Air Force One landed at Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta at 10:40 AM.
The purpose of the visit was to deliver a speech to the Disabled American Veterans national convention. In the speech President Obama said that treatment of Vietnam veterans after the war was a "national disgrace," that America's mission in Iraq would change from combat to support on by Aug. 31, that the United States would "ultimately defeat al-Qaida," and that his health care reform plan would not change veterans' benefits.
The President also attended a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee, before returning to Dobbins Air Force Base for the return trip to Washington, D.C.
Georgia towns and cities first incorporated by acts approved on August 2:
1905 Howell (Echols County)
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1738 William Stephens' journal entry for this day shows how even a simple illness could quickly turn serious in colonial Georgia:
Source: William Stephens, A Journal of the Proceedings in Georgia (London: 1742) as reprinted (no city cited: Readex Microprint Corp.,1966) Vol. I, pp. 253-254.
1864 From north of Atlanta, Confederate soldier W.K. Thompson wrote to his friend John MacMurphy about the continuous danger a soldier faced. Thompson, whose term of enlistment was about to end, also revealed what he planned to do:
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), "Dear Mother: Don't grieve about me. If I get killed, I'll only be dead.": Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), pp. 324-326.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1864 For two Union regiments involved in the battle for Atlanta, the issue was not Confederate strategy but Confederate flags, as Lt. Col. Fredrick Winkler of the 26th Wisconsin Infantry wrote to his wife:
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