August 11th, 1934–> First Civilian Prisoners Land on Alcatraz
When Spanish Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala discovered the island just off the coast of modern San Francisco, he named it Isla de los Alcatraces, in English “Island of the Pelicans”. Fast forward to August 11th in 1934 and the first ever civilian prisoners were being shipped out to the famous island. From 1868 on the island was used to house military prisoners, but the first civilian criminals were brought out non this very day. Later in the month, the prison would receive one of it’s most notable detainees, well-known gangster Al Capone, and then within the same year another infamous mobster, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, also found his way to the famous prison.
August 11th, 1965–> Watts Riots Begin
In the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts on this day 52 years ago, two white police officers get into an altercation with a black driver, thought by police to be drunk driving. There was soon a a large crowd that formed at the area of Avalon Boulevard and 116th Street, and grew angrier and angrier as they watched what seemed like racially motivated police and police brutality. With the crowd whipped up into a frenzy, a full fledged riot started soon after, spanning a 50 square mile area of South Central LA (finish that bar). It would claim 34 lives, injure 1,032, and see the arrests of over 4,000. $40 million of property damaged was reported as looting, burning, and other various rioting activities took place. The National Guard was soon called in and restored order on August 16th.
August 11th, 2014–> RIP in Peace Robin Williams
A man close to most people’s heart, Robin Williams died on this August 11th three years ago. Known for his role in the 1970s sitcom “Mork and Mindy”, he became more popular for his roles in blockbusters such as “Dead Poets Society”, “Mrs. Doubtfire”, and “Good Will Hunting”. Williams had been suffering from depression for a while before his death, and it came to light that he was experiencing the early stages of Parkinson’s disease. Williams was known for his wide range, being capable of witty impressions and great timing and mannerisms on stage and screen, but also showcasing his dramatic range, as evident in movies like “Dead Poets Society” and “Good Will Hunting”, and even “Mrs. Doubtfire” at times. Williams earned his first academy award nomination as an Forces DJ in “Good Morning, Vietnam” and would never look back. Williams won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in “Good Will Hunting”. He also voiced the genie in the top 5 Disney animated film “Aladdin”. And who could forget him as Teddy Roosevelt in “Night at the Museum?” For everything and more, Robin, we thank you. RIP in peace.