Today in 1953, Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier. Then again, Cochran moved at high speed her whole career. Plus: today in 1838, the birthday of Alexander Miles, a Black inventor who made elevators what they are today.
Molly Williams Was A New York Firefighter Before There Was a New York Fire Department (Cool Weird Awesome 764)
For International Firefighters Day, it's the story of Molly Williams, an enslaved Black woman who became the first known woman firefighter, and the first Black firefighter, in the United States. Plus: on the anniversary of Rhode Island declaring independence, a visit to one of the state's most unusual attractions.
Today in 1837, the birthday of Mary Patten. She became a celebrity when she came along on a shipping trip led by her husband and ended up in charge of the ship. Plus: photographer Andrew McCarthy has put together a timelapse of the moon’s phases that shows its lunar libration, or sway, in all its glory.
Today in 1750, the birthday of an astronomer who definitely made her mark on the sky: Caroline Herschel, the first woman to discover a comet.
Today in 1990, a high school basketball player scored 101 points in just 16 minutes. That was Lisa Leslie, who would become one of the biggest names in the WNBA.
The “Six Triple Eight” Brought Black Excellence To The Army During World War II (Cool Weird Awesome 709)
Today in 1945, the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, began heading to England for deployment. These 855 servicemembers, all Black women, took on a mission that may not have been glamorous but was considered absolutely essential to the war effort.
Today in 1939, the birthday of Wally Funk. She first passed astronaut training in her 20s and could have been one of the first US astronauts, but after some 60 years of trying, she finally got into space.
Today in 1890, Nellie Bly finished her trip around the world. She was trying to do what Jules Verne's character Phineas Fogg had done in 80 days, and she took just 72.
The start of a new year can be time for us to get going on our goals, start moving forward. Then again, maybe it’s better to wait a little. That was the attitude of the Procrastinators’ Club of America, a real organization that for decades promoted the benefits of putting things off.
In the late 1980s Romania was still behind the Iron Curtain, but its people wanted to see and hear film, TV shows and music from the US and other countries. Irina Nistor used her voice to bring some of that outside media to the people.