What happened on this day in history: Emmett Till is lynched, Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, and more.
1774: St. Elizabeth Is Born
Elizabeth Ann Seton (née Bayley), who will later become canonized as a saint, is born in New York City. She was the first American-born person beatified by the Roman Catholic Church. Elizabeth was raised Episcopalian, but she joined the Catholic Church in 1805 and took her vow of chastity in 1809. Elizabeth later founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph and dedicated the latter part of her life to establishing Catholic institutions in the United States.
1879: Zulu King Cetshwayo Is Captured
The last great ruler of Zululand in Southern Africa, King Cetshwayo, is captured by the British after his forces are defeated in the British-Zulu War. It was his resistance to British rule in Africa that led Britain to invade earlier that year, as he refused to disband his troops when ordered. After thousands of casualties on both sides, the British captured King Cetshwayo and sent him into exile, where he would die in 1884.
1955: Emmett Till Is Lynched
While visiting family members in Mississippi, 14-year-old Emmett Till is brutally murdered for allegedly whistling at a white woman. The woman’s husband and his brother forced Till to carry a 75-pound fan to the Tallahatchie River, then beat him, gouged out his eye, shot him in the head, tied his body to the fan with barbed wire, and threw him in the river. Till’s mother later requested an open-casket funeral so the world could see what had been done to her son.
1963: Martin Luther King Jr. Gives His Famous “I Have A Dream” Speech
In front of the 250,000 people attending the March on Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his now-iconic “I Have A Dream” speech.
The demonstrators had come together in Washington, D.C. to demand equal voting rights for Black Americans and an end to segregation. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed the following year, and the march is considered a landmark moment in the civil rights movement.
1984: Elisabeth Fritzl “Goes Missing” From Her Home In Austria
Eighteen-year-old Elisabeth Fritzl “goes missing” from her home in Austria. The truth of her whereabouts was much darker. After building a secret chamber in his basement, Elisabeth’s father, Josef, locked her in. She would spend the next 24 years there, subjected to horrendous sexual abuse and forced to carry her father’s children.
Elisabeth would birth seven children while locked in the chamber. After one of her children became ill, Josef allowed her to go with them to the hospital. While there, Elisabeth told authorities the story of her abuse. Josef was arrested and sentenced to life in prison for his crimes.