This Day in History December 20th


Frank Capra’s film starring James Stewart and Donna Reed debuts at New York’s Globe Theatre. Though not a critical or box office hit right away, it will become a holiday classic, showing in theaters and on TV for decades to come.


The 22-year-old refuses special treatment, despite thousands of fans writing letters asking for this national treasure to be spared. Presley will serve two years and reach the rank of sergeant. An Army pal will introduce him to 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu, whom he will later marry.



The French surrender Orleans to the U.S.

Without a shot fired, the French hand over New Orleans and Lower Louisiana to the United States. In April 1803, the United States purchased from France the 828,000 square miles that had formerly been French Louisiana. The area was divided into two territories: the northern half …read more

“Funky Drummer” is recorded

Hip hop was born when DJs began rapping over dance records, and no dance records were better suited to rapping than those that included a “breakbeat”—a drum break that could be repeated almost endlessly as an accompaniment to rapping. It is impossible to know who first employed …read more

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