What Happened on August 4?

  • The United States bought the Danish Virgin Islands from Denmark. (1916) The islands, now known as the United States Virgin Islands, were purchased for $25 million US Dollars.

  • US FBI agents discover the dead bodies of three missing civil rights activists. (1964) Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman went missing on June 21. Their bodies were found near a dam in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The three worked for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) when they were murdered by members of the Ku Klux Klan. Seven members were tried and convicted by the US government; an eighth member was later convicted as well and sentenced to 60 years in prison.

  • The US Department of Energy is established. (1977) Jimmy Carter signed the legislation that created the department. This came after the oil crisis with the goal of ending US dependence on foreign oil. While US oil imports decreased in the 1970s and 1980s, current US oil consumption is comprised of more imports than exports.

  • Diarist Anne Frank and her family were arrested by the Nazis. (1944) After successfully hiding for two years, the family was discovered after an unidentified informant notified the Gestapo. The family ultimately was transported to Auschwitz. Anne, her mother Edith and her two sisters were killed; only Otto Frank, Anne's father, survived.

  • Lizzie Borden's parents were murdered with an ax. (1892) Lizzie was famously arrested for the crime, but was later acquitted at trial. No one else was ever arrested for the crime.

  • Barry Bonds hit his 755th career home run, tying record holder Hank Aaron. (2007) Bonds still hold the Major League Baseball (MLB) record for career home runs with 762.

  • Alex Rodriguez became the youngest player in MLB history to hit 500 career home runs. (2007) Rodriguez beat the 1939 record set by Jimmie Foxx while playing for the New York Yankees against the Kansas City Royals.

  • One of the most devastating floods in the Philippines' history peaked. (1972) The flood, which hit Luzon the hardest, came after 70 inches of rain fell in a period of one month before the area was struck by a typhoon. Millions were left homeless and 142 people died.

  • An earthquake hit the Dominican Republic, leaving 100 dead and 20,000 homeless. (1946) The 8.0 magnitude earthquake caused a number of tsunamis around the world that increased the death toll to 2,550.

  • American jazz musician Louis Armstrong was born. (1901) Armstrong, who also had the nicknames Satchmo and Pops, was a famous jazz trumpeter in New Orleans. His music style greatly influenced the focus of the jazz movement to solo performances and had a lasting effect on pop music as well.

Discussion Comments


I just learned about the murder of civil rights activists in class today. Did you guys know that the state government refused to charge the murderers? Unbelievable.


There were two little girls murdered on April 4, in Cambridgeshire, England. I remember because I was living in England at the time and it was my friend's birthday. We were staying just a few hours away from where it happened-- Soham. It was a shock and it was all over the news for a long time. The girls were only ten years old.


I read the Diary of Anne Frank when I was in middle school. I still remember the part when the Nazis came to their house. It was so heartbreaking knowing what would happen to them after that point.

What affected me the most about her diary was Anne's high spirits. Even when they were hiding in their house, sitting for hours on end without making any noise and eating the same exact thing every day, she was so happy and cheerful.

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