Eleanor Roosevelt Resigns from the DAR — Today in History
In February 1939, Howard University invited Marian Anderson, the internationally famous African American contralto singer, to give a concert. They asked the Washington headquartered Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) if they could use their auditorium, Constitution Hall.
The DAR refused, explaining that local conditions and custom did not favor such a move. In protest, DAR member and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the organization.
A Gallup poll taken at the time showed that 67% of the public approved of her action.
Moving quickly to capitalize on this public support, Anderson’s manager Sol Hurok proposed that Anderson give an open-air concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Harold Ickes, the Secretary of the Interior promptly approved the idea and on April 9th a crowd of 75,000 people assembled before the Lincoln Memorial to hear Ms. Anderson sing.
Above is a copy of Mrs. Roosevelt’s DAR resignation letter, 2/26/39. Read More
-from the FDR Library
Sometimes sharing a good meal is the best way to resolve the differences you may have with another. For the United States and China, this strategy helped normalize relations during the Cold War.
During President Nixon’s trip to China, chefs prepared items familiar to the American palette like shrimp, roast pork, and roast duck with pineapple. Menus also included native cuisine like shark’s fin soup, black mushrooms with mustard greens, and bamboo shoots.
President Nixon skillfully used chopsticks to sample each dish served to him, maintaining proper Chinese etiquette.
The main beverages that were served were boiled water, orange juice, wine, and, of course, mao-tai. Photographs of Nixon and Chou En-lai toasting each other with this staple Chinese liquor quickly appeared on newspapers all across the world, symbolizing a new day in relations between the two countries.
Images: Menu and table settings from dinner given during President Nixon’s visit to Peking, China. 2/25/72.
President Nixon and Premier Chou En-lai toast in the Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square. 2/25/72.
Adopted on February 23, 1967, the 25th Amendment established procedures for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President and responding to Presidential disabilities. This amendment was first used in 1973 when President Richard Nixon nominated Congressman Gerald Ford as Vice President following Spiro Agnew’s resignation.
The next year Ford became President after Nixon resigned. Under the 25th Amendment he nominated Nelson Rockefeller to fill the Vice Presidential vacancy, announcing his decision in the Oval Office on August 20, 1974, seen here.
-from the Ford Library
"Now, therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week of February 21-27, 1993, as "American Wine Appreciation Week." I call upon the people of the United States to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities."
That’s right, it’s American Wine Appreciation Week! Be sure to start off your weekend with “appropriate ceremonies and activities” y’all.
-from the Clinton Library
Premier Chou En-Lai and the Nixons share a toast at the welcoming banquet for the historic trip that began on this day in 1972.
The archival team at the Nixon Library has created a video of behind-the-scenes film clips and stories from Nixon’s trip. Watch more here.
-from the Nixon Library
Cheers and happy Friday!
Albert Capraro was one of Betty Ford’s favorite designers during her time in the White House. Capraro previously had worked for Oscar de la Renta before striking out as an independent designer. Mrs. Ford admired his clothing and also appreciated that it was designed and made in the United States.
Capraro described working with Mrs. Ford as a joy. “She is warm and charming, and she knows what she wants,” he said. Here he adjusts her collar during a consultation at the White House on February 21, 1975.
Nixon in China
Today in history, Nixon became the first U.S. President to visit the People’s Republic of China.
When Air Force One touched down at the airport in Peking, it ended 25 years of isolation between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China. During the week of February 21-29, 1972, the President traveled to Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai - thawing relations with a country that had long been closed to the West.
The historic trip was initially met with public opposition, but it yielded the establishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China in 1979. Read More
Photos: President and Mrs. Nixon’s arrival in Peking, China. Nixon reviews troops at the airport; Air Force One in Peking, 02/21/1972.
President and Mrs. Nixon visit the Great Wall of China and the Ming Tombs. 2/24/72.
-from the Nixon Library
President Eisenhower received this 17th century prayer book from Mary Ruth Muller of Reno, Nevada. The book was published in 1633 by Robert Baker of London and features a cover of stumpwork embroidery on silk.
The book is now in the Book Collection of the Eisenhower Presidential Library.
-from the Eisenhower Library
Astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr. became the first American to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962. With the world watching the historic and live-televised event, Glenn orbited the Earth three times in his space capsule, Friendship 7. Four hours and 55 minutes after ignition, John Glenn and Friendship 7 returned to Earth and splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean.
The John Glenn Story, 1963
From the series: Headquarters’ Films Relating to Aeronautics, 1962 - 1981,Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.