On June 24, 1995, South Africa defeats New Zealand in the finals of the Rugby World Cup at Ellis Park in Johannesburg while a special guest looks on: Nelson Mandela, who had become the first president of South Africa to be elected in a fully representational democratic election the previous year. Mandela wore the jersey of Francois Penaar, South Africa’s team captain.
At his inauguration on May 10, 1994, Mandela, who had spent 27 years as a political prisoner of the South African government, declared that "the time for the healing of the wounds has come." Over the course of his five-year presidency (1994-1999), he dedicated himself to building understanding and forgiveness between black and white South Africans. As part of South Africa’s system of apartheid, Afrikaans for apartness, blacks were traditionally excluded from the rugby team and as a result did not support the national team. Mandela’s appearance at the rugby game in spite of the national team’s exclusionary history was an effort to help heal the nation’s wounds over its ugly history of apartheid and move forward with the integration of the national rugby team.
The 1995 World Cup final pitted South Africa’s Springboks against the New Zealand All Blacks. Both teams came into the match undefeated, and were widely thought to be the two best teams in the tournament. The day before the final, most of the New Zealand team got food poisoning, which some observers believed to be a deliberate act of sabotage. South Africa led 9-6 at halftime, but early in the second half the All Blacks tied the score at 9. A drop goal by South Africa’s Joel Stransky broke a 12-12 tie in extra time, giving South Africa the championship. After the game, Mandela presented the trophy to a visibly moved Penaar.
In 2007, Nelson Mandela’s appearance at the 1995 Rugby World Cup was chosen as the greatest moment in World Cup history.
Written by: Gregory Gay
WYLD AM940 congratulates RCA Inspiration recording artist Pastor William Murphy on his elevation to the office of Bishop in the Full Gospel Baptist Fellowship International. Bishop Murphy was consecrated on June 17th by Bishop Paul S. Morton, presiding prelate of FGBCF.
Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney are killed by a Ku Klux Klan lynch mob near Meridian, Mississippi. The three young civil rights workers were working to register black voters in Mississippi, thus inspiring the ire of the local Klan. The deaths of Schwerner and Goodman, white Northerners and members of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), caused a national outrage.
When the desegregation movement encountered resistance in the early 1960s, CORE set up an interracial team to ride buses into the Deep South to help protest. These so-called Freedom Riders were viciously attacked in May 1961 when the first two buses arrived in Alabama. One bus was firebombed; the other boarded by KKK members who beat the activists inside. The Alabama police provided no protection.
Still, the Freedom Riders were not dissuaded and they continued to come into Alabama and Mississippi. Michael Schwerner was a particularly dedicated activist who lived in Mississippi while he assisted blacks to vote. Sam Bowers, the local Klan's Imperial Wizard, decided that Schwerner was a bad influence, and had to be killed.
When Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney, a young black man, were coming back from a trip to Philadelphia, Mississippi, deputy sheriff Cecil Price, who was also a Klan member, pulled them over for speeding. He then held them in custody while other KKK members prepared for their murder. Eventually released, the three activists were later chased down in their car and cornered in a secluded spot in the woods where they were shot and then buried in graves that had been prepared in advance.
When news of their disappearance got out, the FBI converged on Mississippi to investigate. With the help of an informant, agents learned about the Klan's involvement and found the bodies. Since Mississippi refused to prosecute the assailants in state court, the federal government charged 18 men with conspiracy to violate the civil rights of Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney.
Bowers, Price, and five other men were convicted; eight were acquitted; and the all-white jury deadlocked on the other three defendants. On the forty-first anniversary of the three murders, June 21, 2005, Edgar Ray Killen was found guilty of three counts of manslaughter. The 80-year-old Killen, known as an outspoken white supremacist and part-time Baptist minister, was sentenced to 60 years in prison.
By RUSS BYNUM,Associated Press
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Celebrity cook Paula Deen says she has used racial slurs in the past but insists she and her brother, who are accused of racial and sexual discrimination in a lawsuit by a former manager of their restaurant, don’t tolerate hateful behavior.
In a court deposition filed Monday in federal court, an attorney for former restaurant manager Lisa Jackson presses the 66-year-old Deen about her racial views and those of her brother, Bubba Hiers. Deen is asked if she’s ever used “the N-word.” She responds: “Yes, of course.”
Deen says she likely used the slur in the 1980s after a black man held her at gunpoint at the Georgia bank where she worked.
Deen insists she and her brother object to slurs being used in “any cruel or mean behavior.”
On this day in 1975, Jaws, a film directed by Steven Spielberg that made countless viewers afraid to go into the water, opens in theaters. The story of a great white shark that terrorizes a New England resort town became an instant blockbuster and the highest-grossing film in movie history until it was bested by 1977's Star Wars. Jaws was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Picture category and took home three Oscars, for Best Film Editing, Best Original Score and Best Sound. The film, a breakthrough for director Spielberg, then 27 years old, spawned three sequels.
The film starred Roy Scheider as principled police chief Martin Brody, Richard Dreyfuss as a marine biologist named Matt Hooper and Robert Shaw as a grizzled fisherman called Quint. It was set in the fictional beach town of Amity, and based on a best-selling novel, released in 1973, by Peter Benchley. Subsequent water-themed Benchley bestsellers also made it to the big screen, including The Deep (1977).
With a budget of $12 million, Jaws was produced by the team of Richard Zanuck and David Brown, whose later credits include The Verdict (1982), Cocoon (1985) and Driving Miss Daisy (1989). Filming, which took place on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, was plagued by delays and technical difficulties, including malfunctioning mechanical sharks.
Jaws put now-famed director Steven Spielberg on the Hollywood map. Spielberg, largely self-taught in filmmaking, made his feature-length directorial debut with The Sugarland Express in 1974. The film was critically well-received but a box-office flop. Following the success of Jaws, Spielberg went on to become one of the most influential, iconic people in the film world, with such epics as Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), ET: the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Jurassic Park (1993), Schindler's List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). E.T., Jaws and Jurassic Park rank among the 10 highest-grossing movies of all time. In 1994, Spielberg formed DreamWorks SKG, with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. The company has produced such hits as American Beauty (1999), Gladiator (2001) and Shrek (2001).
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
Later attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years. Often told is the story of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another, is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. And still another, is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All of which, or neither of these version could be true. Certainly, for some, President Lincoln's authority over the rebellious states was in question For whatever the reasons, conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory.
By Erica Taylor, The Tom Joyner Morning Show
Today, June 19th, marks the Juneteenth holiday, which celebrates the day in 1865 that slaves in Galveston, Texas were told that slavery had ended. President Abraham Lincoln had actually ended slavery two and a half years prior to the Texas slaves being notified. Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger delivered the good news to those in captivity through General Orders No. 3 which stated:
The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, “all slaves are free.” This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.
The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts, and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.
By command of Maj.-Gen. GRANGER.
F.W. EMERY, Major, and A.A.G.
COTTON TO BE SHIPPED TO NEW-ORLEANS OR NEW- YORK.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF TEXAS, GALVESTON, TEXAS, June 19, 1865.
Many legends were told in regards to why it took so long for the slaves in Texas to be informed about the end of the war. Some say that the messenger who was to deliver word that the Confederate lost the war was killed along the way. Others believed the plantation owners withheld the information, waiting for the next cotton harvest before saying a word. Unfortunately, there were written witness accounts of slaves who immediately tried to flee their plantations after receiving the news and were killed on sight or hung. Some slaves continued to work in servitude, undergoing the same punishments prior to the Emancipation Proclamation’s issuance or their knowledge of the decree.
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. On January 1, 1980, Juneteenth became an official state holiday through the efforts of Al Edwards, an African American state legislator. The successful passage of this bill marked Juneteenth as the first emancipation celebration granted official state recognition.
Today, people all over the country celebrate Juneteenth with rodeos, fishing, barbecues and picnics with an emphasis on education and self-improvement. Institutions such as the Smithsonian and the Henry Ford Museum have begun sponsoring Juneteenth-centered activities.
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, a married couple convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage in 1951, are put to death in the electric chair. The execution marked the dramatic finale of the most controversial espionage case of the Cold War.
Julius was arrested in July 1950, and Ethel in August of that same year, on the charge of conspiracy to commit espionage. Specifically, they were accused of heading a spy ring that passed top-secret information concerning the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. The Rosenbergs vigorously protested their innocence, but after a brief trial in March 1951 they were convicted. On April 5, 1951, a judge sentenced them to death. The pair was taken to Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York, to await execution. During the next two years, the couple became the subject of both national and international debate. Many people believed that the Rosenbergs were the victims of a surge of hysterical anticommunist feeling in the United States, and protested that the death sentence handed down was cruel and unusual punishment. Most Americans, however, believed that the Rosenbergs had been dealt with justly. President Dwight D. Eisenhower spoke for many Americans when he issued a statement declining to invoke executive clemency for the pair. He stated, "I can only say that, by immeasurably increasing the chances of atomic war, the Rosenbergs may have condemned to death tens of millions of innocent people all over the world. The execution of two human beings is a grave matter. But even graver is the thought of the millions of dead whose deaths may be directly attributable to what these spies have done."
Julius Rosenberg was the first to be executed, at about 8 p.m. on June 19, 1953. Just a few minutes after his body was removed from the chamber containing the electric chair, Ethel Rosenberg was led in and strapped to the chair. She was pronounced dead at 8:16 p.m. Both refused to admit any wrongdoing and proclaimed their innocence right up to the time of their deaths. Two sons, Michael and Robert, survived them.
By The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Long Beach Unified School District has won a $2.6 million judgment against a woman who falsely accused a former high school football star of rape that landed him in jail.
The Long Beach Press-Telegram reports the default judgment recoups a $750,000 settlement paid to Wanetta Gibson and also includes attorneys’ fees, interest and $1 million in punitive damages.
Gibson’s whereabouts aren’t known. The ruling allows the school district to get the money through her future wages and property.
Gibson was 15 when she accused Brian Banks of attacking her on campus. He insisted the sexual contact with Gibson was consensual, but pleaded no contest to forcible rape and spent more than five years in prison.
He was exonerated last year and has signed a contract with the Atlanta Falcons.