What Happened on June 10?

  • Benjamin Franklin flew his famous kite. (1752) The famed kite flight during a thunderstorm led Franklin to collect a small electric charge in a Leyden jar when the kite was struck by lightening. Franklin conducted electrical experiments for almost 10 years and coined familiar terms such as battery, electrician and conductor.

  • Saab released its first car. (1947) The automobile company initially built airplanes for the Swedish Air Force during World War II. When the war ended, the company looked for another market. Its first car was the SAAB 92001, called the Ursaab.

  • Alcoholics Anonymous was founded. (1935) A broker from New York, Bill Watson, and a physician from Ohio, Dr. Robert Smith, founded the group to help those battling alcoholism.

  • The first U.S. Naval Academy class graduated. (1854) The academy still produces Naval Officers today. The Naval Academy's notable alumni include more than 50 U.S. astronauts, a U.S. President (Jimmy Carter) and two Nobel Prize winners.

  • Joe Nuxhall became the youngest major league baseball player in history. (1944) At just 15 years old, Nuxhall took to the field playing for the Cincinnati Reds.

  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassin escaped from prison. (1977) James Earl Ray, who shot Dr. King on April 4, 1968, was recaptured three days later.

  • NASA launched the Spirit Rover on a mission to Mars. (2003) The rover landed safely on Mars on January 4, 2004. It was shortly followed by its twin rover, Opportunity, which landed on the opposite side of the planet.

  • The final Sopranos episode aired. (2007) The popular HBO cable television series ended after six seasons. The show was the most financially successful cable TV show in history. During its run, it won 21 Emmy Awards and five Golden Globe awards.

  • The first witch was hanged in the Salem Witch Trials. (1692) Bridget Bishop was the first to be hanged after being found guilty of practicing witchcraft. All told, 13 more women and five men were hanged, and one man was crushed to death, after being tried and condemned.

  • Captain Cook ran his boat Endeavour aground on the Great Barrier Reef. (1770) Captain James Cook was an English explorer who is noted for charting and mapping previously unexplored islands and coastlines, and was the first to map Newfoundland. His travels were delayed seven weeks after the mishap.

  • American musician Ray Charles died. (2004) Charles died of liver cancer at age 73. A pioneer of soul, rhythm and blues and gospel music, he was listed at number 10 on Rolling Stone's top 100 greatest artists of all time list.

  • American actress Judy Garland was born. (1922) Born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, the actress died when she was just 47 of an accidental drug overdose. She won many awards, including an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Grammy. Her most notable performance may be from The Wizard of Oz film with Mickey Rooney.

  • Mobster John Gotti died. (2002) A powerful organized crime figure, Gotti was the boss of the Gambino family. He was serving a life sentence for a slew of charges, including murder, extortion, racketeering and loansharking, when he died of cancer in prison. He was 62.

  • Alexander the Great died. (323 B.C.) Alexander III of Macedon was the Greek King of Macedon. Though his reign was a short seven years, he built one of the largest empires in ancient history and was known for being undefeated in battle. Some accounts date his death on June 11.

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