1. 1937: Joe Louis becomes heavyweight champ
It was on this date in 1937 that Joe Louis won the heavyweight boxing championship when he knocked out Jim Braddock in the eight round. The fight would take place in front of a screaming crowd at Cominskey Park, home of the Chicago White Sox. Louis earned the nickname “brown bomber” because of his fierce one punch power. Louis held the title for a record 11 years and 8 months which still stands as the longest reigning heavyweight champion. He would defend his title 25 times, winning 21 by knockout. The Ring Magazine ranked Louis #1 on their list of 100 greatest punchers of all time and the International Boxing Research Organization consider him to be the greatest heavyweight boxer that ever lived. That is quite the resume.
2. 1944: President Roosevelt signs the G.I. bill.
In order to prevent a relapse of the Great Depression President Franklin D Roosevelt signed the G.I. bill on this day in 1944. The bill would allow significant compensation to the members of the armed forces that were returning from WWII. Not only was it set up for unemployment compensation but to encourage people to start business there were low interest business loans available. The biggest impact was on the education side, by giving the veterans money for school it made a significant improvement on Americas higher education. In 1939 there were 160,000 people in the entire country to graduate from college, just three years after the signing of the G.I. bill there were more than 500,000. By providing low interest home loans this gave people the opportunity to purchase homes which ultimately transformed suburbs all over the country. Once all was said and done the total federal investment was said to be around $67 billion with more than 20 million people using the education grants and a reported 14 million guaranteed home loans.
3. 2008: Legendary comedian George Carlin passes away.
The world lost an amazingly talented individual on this date in 2008 when the legendary George Carlin passed away at the age of 71 due to heart failure. Carlin was a stand up comedian, comic writer, as well as acting and he was brilliant at them all. The range this man has was quite interesting, his stand up comedy act was filthy to say the least. He had an act called “The Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television” that the FCC banned claiming it to be “indecent”. But Carlin was also the friendly Mr Conductor for four season seasons with the Shining Time Station and Thomas The Tank Engine and Friends. Not to mention the clever guide on Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Stand up comedy was definitely his favorite, according to his obituary he played a show in Vegas just one week before his death.