• On July 30, 1619, in Jamestown, Virginia, the first elected legislative assembly in the New World — the House of Burgesses — convenes in the choir of the town’s church. Its first laws included prohibitions against gambling, drunkenness and idleness. Sabbath observance was made man
• On July 26, 1948, President Harry Truman signs Executive Order 9981, banning discrimination in the military. It ended a long-standing practice of segregating Black soldiers and relegating them to more menial jobs. African Americans had been serving in the U.S. military since the Revolutionary War.
• On July 29, 1967, a fire on the USS Forrestal stationed off the coast of Vietnam kills 134 service members. The deadly fire on the Navy carrier began with the accidental launch of an F-4 Phantom-jet rocket, which hit a parked A-4 Skyhawk jet.
• On July 28, 1978, “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” a movie spoof about 1960s college fraternities, starring John Belushi, opens in U.S. theaters. “Animal House” became a huge boxoffice hit, spawned a slew of cinematic imitations and became part of pop-culture history.
• On Aug. 1, 1981, “MTV: Music Television” goes on the air for the first time, with the words “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.” The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” was the first music video on the new cable TV channel.
• On July 27, 1996, in Atlanta, the XXVI Summer Olympiad is disrupted by the explosion of a nail-laden pipe bomb in Centennial Olympic Park. Police were warned of the bombing in advance, it exploded before the anonymous caller said it would. Attention eventually turned to Eric Robert Rudolph, who was captured in 2003 after hiding in the mountains for five years.
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