(1843) – The first minstrel show in America, the “Original Virginia Minstrels,” opened at the Bowery Amphitheatre in New York City. The show is credited for being the founders of such shows that included comic acts, variety shows, dancing, singing, and other acts by white people in black face. After the Civil War, it was common to see African-Americans acting in blackface as well. The “Virginia Minstrels” are also credited with coming up with songs like Jimmy Crack Corn and Old Dan Tucker.
(1911) – Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States of America, was born in Tampico, Illinois. Reagan began his career as an entertainer in both radio and film. He enlisted in the Army Reserves in 1937. In 1967, Reagan was elected Governor of California. He was elected President of the United States in 1980. Serving two terms, Reagan turned 76 years old in 1987 while in office, becoming the oldest U.S. President in history. Reagan died in 2004 in Los Angeles, California. Several libraries as well as the airport in Washington DC have been named after him.
(1926) – The National Football League (NFL) adopted a rule that made players ineligible for competition until their college classes graduate. The rule was amended in 1990 when the NFL decided players would become eligible for the draft after having graduated from high school three years prior. The rule remains under scrutiny with one side stating the eligibility requirement protects young football players from the physicality of the NFL while the other side argues it prevents the same young players from profiting from their talents.
(1968) – The X Winter Olympic games opened in Grenoble, France. Some 18,000 people participated in the opening ceremonies as the games were dedicated by General Charles de Gaulle. Thousands of scented paper roses were dropped from helicopters against a background of five circles drawn in the sky by the smoke of parachutists. Olympic flags were shot into the air by cannons. Forty-six years later, the XXII Sochi Olympic Games open competition one day prior to the Opening Ceremonies due to an addition of events from the previous years’ games.
(2012) – Queen Elizabeth II marks her 60th anniversary as reigning British monarch. She is only the second monarch to do so. Her father, King George VI, passed away on February 6, 1952 and her coronation took place June 2, 1953.