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Each week at In The Past Lane, the American history podcast, host and Historian-at-Large, Edward T. O’Donnell, brings you news, stories, interviews, and special features on all things U.S. history. His aim is to be both engaging and thought-provoking, inspired by the notion that history explains the world we live in and provides insights into how to achieve a more prosperous, peaceful, and just future. So come along with us as we journey In The Past Lane.  

Jun 4, 2018

The Pit Stop is a weekly mini-episode from In The Past Lane, the podcast about history and why it matters. Every Monday The Pit Stop tells you what happened in American history this week - in under 5 minutes! We drop these minis in between our full-length episodes that feature interviews with historians about their latest books, feature pieces, and more. 

Here’s what happened in American history the week of June 4, 2018. 


June 5 1919 - Richard Scarry born in Boston, MA

Children’s book author who brought us characters like Glip and Glop, Pip Pip, and of course Lowly Worm.

June 6 1755 - Nathan Hale born Coventry, CT

Hale was an important spy in the early months of the Rev War. But he was captured by the British and hanged in Manhattan in Sept 1776. But not before he allegedly said, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”  

June 9 1768 - Samuel Slater born in Belper, England

Slater is considered the “father of the industrial revolution” in America.  As a youth, he worked in a textile factory. In 1789, armed with this knowledge, he immigrated to the United States. Four years later in 1893 in Pawtucket, RI he established the first successful textile mill in the US, a feat that essentially launched the industrial revolution in America.

June 9 1916 - Robert McNamara born San Francisco, CA

McNamara was a very successful business executive with the Ford Motor Company. But he’s mainly remembered for his service as the Secretary of Defense, from 1961 to 1968, during which time he presided over the controversial and ultimately disastrous Vietnam War.

June 10 1895 - Hattie McDaniel born Wichita, KS

McDaniel was the first African American to win an Academy Award. She earned the honor for her role as Mammy in the 1939 blockbuster film, Gone With The Wind.

June 10 1915 - Saul Bellow born in Canada
Bellow was a prolific and highly decorated novelist. He won all the major honors, including the Pulitzer Prize, Nobel Prize, and National Book Award, for novels such as Humboldt's Gift and The Adventures of Augie March. Saul Bellow once said, “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”


June 4 1942: The Battle of Midway (June 4-7) begins. This was a major US victory just 6 months after Pearl Harbor. Led by Admiral Chester Nimitz the US Navy inflicted devastating losses on Imperial Japan’s Navy, losses it never recovered from. US forces sank 4 carriers and 1 heavy cruiser, while also destroying 248 aircraft.

June 6 1968 Sen Robert F. Kennedy dies from a gunshot wound sustained just minutes after he was declared the winner in the California primary in the race for President.
“There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of a comfortable past which, in fact, never existed.”

If you want to learn more about RFK, check out Episode 006 of In The Past Lane where I speak with Larry Tye, author of Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon.

June 6 is also the anniversary of D-Day, which began June 6, 1944. On that day, Allied forces launched a massive amphibious invasion of Nazi-occupied France. It was the beginning of a long and bloody, but ultimately successful effort to defeat Nazi Germany. Anyone who’s seen the movie “Saving Private Ryan” has a sense of the human cost of this epic battle.

June 6 1933: the first drive-in movie theater in the US opens in Camden, New Jersey.

June 10, 1935: Dr. Robert Smith and his friend William G. Wilson founded Alcoholics Anonymous.

June 10, 1752: Benjamin Franklin conducted his famous experiment that demonstrated the electrical nature of lightning. Franklin flew a kite during a thunderstorm and collected an electrical charge in what was called a Leyden jar. He published the results and soon became an international celebrity.


Let’s give it to Dwight D. Eisenhower. On June 6, 1944, D-Day, he issued the following Order of the Day:

Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force:

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months.

The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.

In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

But ... The tide has turned. The free men of the world are marching together to victory.

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory.

Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

OK, people. That’s your history fix for the week.

Now put it in drive and go make your own history.

For more information about the In The Past Lane podcast, head to our website, 

Production Credits for The Pit Stop

Original music and Voice Over by Devyn McHugh 

Additional music by Blue Dot Sessions, "Pat Dog" via the Free Music Archive 

Executive Producer: Lulu Spencer

Associate Producer: Tyler Ferolito

Technical Advisors: Holly Hunt and Jesse Anderson

Photographer: John Buckingham

Graphic Designer: Maggie Cellucci

Website by: ERI Design

Legal services: Tippecanoe and Tyler Too

Social Media management: The Pony Express

Risk Assessment: Little Big Horn Associates

Growth strategies: 54 40 or Fight

© In The Past Lane, 2018