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Moments in Time

 

 

• On Feb. 6, 1820, the first organized immigration of freed slaves to Africa from the United States departs New York on a journey to Sierra Leone, in West Africa. The expedition was partially funded by the U.S. Congress, which appropriated $100,000.

• On Feb. 9, 1900, the silver trophy known today as the Davis Cup is first put up for competition when American collegian Dwight Filley Davis challenges British tennis players to come across the Atlantic and compete against his Harvard team. In 1904, Belgium and France entered the competition.

• On Feb. 8, 1924, America’s first execution by lethal gas is carried out in Nevada. The executed man was Tong Lee, who was convicted of murdering a rival Chinese gang member. Lethal gas was seen as a more humane method of carrying out death sentences.

• On Feb. 4, 1938, Walt Disney releases “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the first animated feature to be produced in English and in Technicolor. Naysayers warned him that audiences, especially adults, wouldn’t sit through a feature-length cartoon fantasy about dwarfs. The film was a smash hit.

• On Feb. 10, 1962, downed American U-2 spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers is exchanged by the USSR for Soviet Col. Rudolf Abel, a senior KGB spy captured in the U.S., on the Glienicker Bridge linking East and West Berlin. The event inspired the 2015 film “Bridge of Spies.”

• On Feb. 7, 1964, Pan Am Yankee Clipper flight 101 from London Heathrow lands at New York’s Kennedy Airport — and “Beatlemania” arrives. The Beatles were greeted by 3,000 screaming fans who caused a near riot.

• On Feb. 5, 1994, Byron de la Beckwith is convicted of the assassination of civil-rights leader Medger Evers 31 years earlier, ending the lengthiest murder case in American history. Two earlier juries refused to convict. The third sent Beckwith to jail for life.

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