On this day, Dec. 1 …

1955: Rosa Parks, a Black seamstress, is arrested after refusing to give up her seat to a White man on a Montgomery, Ala. city bus — an incident that would spark a year-long boycott of the buses and the Civil Rights movement.

Also on this day:

  • 1824: The presidential election is turned over to the U.S. House of Representatives when a deadlock develops between John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, William H. Crawford and Henry Clay. (Adams would end up the winner.)
  • 1862: President Abraham Lincoln sends his Second Annual Message to Congress, in which he calls for the abolition of slavery, and says, “Fellow-citizens, we can not escape history. We of this Congress and this Administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves.”
  • 1942: During World War II, nationwide gasoline rationing goes into effect in the United States; the goal is not so much to save on gas, but to conserve rubber (as in tires) desperately needed for the war effort.
  • 1952: The New York Daily News runs a front-page story on Christine Jorgensen’s sex-reassignment surgery with the headline, “Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Beauty”.
  • 1965: An airlift of refugees from Cuba to the United States begins in which thousands of Cubans were allowed to leave their homeland.
  • 1969: The U.S. government holds its first draft lottery since World War II.
  • 1989: Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev meets with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
  • 1990: British and French workers digging the Channel Tunnel between their countries finally meet after knocking out a passage in a service tunnel.
  • 1992: A judge in Mineola, N.Y., sentences Amy Fisher to 5 to 15 years in prison for shooting and seriously wounding her lover’s wife, Mary Jo Buttafuoco.
  • 1997: A 14-year-old boy opens fire on a prayer circle at Heath High School in West Paducah, Ky. killing three fellow students and wounding five; the shooter is serving a life sentence.
  • 2004: Tom Brokaw signs off for the last time as principal anchor of the NBC Nightly News; he is succeeded by Brian Williams.
  • 2008: The National Bureau of Economic Research officially declares the U.S. to be in a recession; the Dow industrials lose 679 points to end a five-day win streak.
  • 2008: President-elect Barack Obama announces his national security team, including Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state, Eric Holder as attorney general and Janet Napolitano as homeland security secretary; Obama also says that Robert Gates would stay on as defense secretary. 
  • 2013: Edward J. “Babe” Heffron, 90, whose World War II service as a member of Easy Company was recounted in the book and television miniseries “Band of Brothers,” dies in Stratford, N.J.
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