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John’s Believe It Or Not… June 2nd

In 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1865 American Civil War ends. In 1924 The Indian Citizenship Act. In 1962 Ray Charles takes country music to the top of the pop charts. In 1985 English football clubs banned from Europe.

John Fioravanti Stands at the front of his classroom in 2006

It’s Friday! TGIF! Did you know…

* 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. (On June 2, 1953, Queen Elizabeth II is formally crowned monarch of the United Kingdom in a lavish ceremony steeped in traditions that date back a millennium. A thousand dignitaries and guests attended the coronation at London’s Westminster Abbey, and hundreds of millions listened on the radio and for the first time watched the proceedings on live television. After the ceremony, millions of rain-drenched spectators cheered the 27-year-old queen and her husband, the 30-year-old Duke of Edinburgh, as they passed along a five-mile procession route in a gilded horse-drawn carriage. Elizabeth, born in 1926, was the first-born daughter of Prince George, the second son of King George V. Her grandfather died in 1936, and her uncle was proclaimed King Edward VIII. Later that year, however, Edward abdicated over the controversy surrounding his decision to marry Wallis Warfield Simpson, an American divorcee, and Elizabeth’s father was proclaimed King George VI in his place. In six decades of rule, Queen Elizabeth II’s popularity has hardly subsided. She has traveled more extensively than any other British monarch and was the first reigning British monarch to visit South America and the Persian Gulf countries. In addition to Charles and Anne, she and Philip have had two other children, Prince Andrew in 1960 and Prince Edward in 1964. In 1992, Elizabeth, the wealthiest woman in England, agreed to pay income tax for the first time. On April 21, 2006, Queen Elizabeth turned 80, making her the third oldest person to hold the British crown. Although she has begun to hand off some official duties to her children, notably Charles, the heir to the throne, she has given no indication that she intends to abdicate.)

June 2, 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey
June 2, 1953, Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey (Pinterest)

* 1865 American Civil War ends. (In an event that is generally regarded as marking the end of the Civil War, Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of Confederate forces west of the Mississippi, signs the surrender terms offered by Union negotiators. With Smith’s surrender, the last Confederate army ceased to exist, bringing a formal end to the bloodiest four years in U.S. history. The American Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate shore batteries under General Pierre G.T. Beauregard opened fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Bay. During 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort, and on April 13 U.S. Major Robert Anderson, commander of the Union garrison surrendered. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to help quell the Southern “insurrection.” Four long years later, the Confederacy was defeated at the total cost of 620,000 Union and Confederate dead.)

End of War Collection Hero
End of War Collection Hero (Civil War Trust)

* 1924 The Indian Citizenship Act. (With Congress’ passage of the Indian Citizenship Act, the government of the United States confers citizenship on all Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the country. Before the Civil War, citizenship was often limited to Native Americans of one-half or less Indian blood. In the Reconstruction period, progressive Republicans in Congress sought to accelerate the granting of citizenship to friendly tribes, though state support for these measures was often limited. In 1888, most Native American women married to U.S. citizens were conferred with citizenship, and in 1919 Native American veterans of World War I were offered citizenship. In 1924, the Indian Citizenship Act, an all-inclusive act, was passed by Congress. The privileges of citizenship, however, were largely governed by state law, and the right to vote was often denied to Native Americans in the early 20th century.)

Coolidge with Native Americans, tribal affiliation unknown, outside of the White House, in January 1924. (Library of Congress)
Coolidge with Native Americans, tribal affiliation unknown, outside of the White House, in January 1924. (Library of Congress)

* 1962 Ray Charles takes country music to the top of the pop charts. (Ray Charles was one of the founding fathers of soul music—a style he helped create and popularize with a string of early 1950s hits on Atlantic Records like “I Got A Woman” and “What’d I Say.” This fact is well known to almost anyone who has ever heard of the man they called “the Genius,” but what is less well known—to younger fans especially—is the pivotal role that Charles played in shaping the course of a seemingly very different genre of popular music. In the words of his good friend and sometime collaborator, Willie Nelson, speaking before Charles’ death in 2004, Ray Charles the R&B legend “did more for country music than any other living human being.” The landmark album that earned Ray Charles that praise was Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, which gave him his third #1 hit in “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” which topped the U.S. pop charts on this day in 1962. Executives at ABC Records—the label that wooed Ray Charles from Atlantic with one of the richest deals of the era—were adamantly opposed to the idea that Charles brought to them in 1962: to re-record some of the best country songs of the previous 20 years in new arrangements that suited his style. As Charles told Rolling Stone magazine a decade later, ABC executives said, “You can’t do no country-western things….You’re gonna lose all your fans!” But Charles recognized the quality of songs like “I Can’t Stop Loving You” by Don Gibson and “You Don’t Know Me,” by Eddy Arnold and Cindy Walker, and the fact that his version of both of those country songs landed in the Top 5 on both the pop and R&B charts was vindication of Charles’s long-held belief that “There’s only two kinds of music as far as I’m concerned: good and bad.” This all-embracing attitude toward music was one that Ray Charles developed during a childhood immersed in the sounds of jazz, blues, gospel and country. To him, the boundaries between those styles of music were made to be crossed, and he made a career out of doing just that. Released over the initial objections of his record label and its distributors, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music went on to be the biggest-selling album of 1962, occupying the top spot on the Billboard album chart for 14 weeks. “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” held the #1 spot on the singles chart for five weeks beginning on this day in 1962, eventually becoming the biggest pop hit of Ray Charles’s monumental career.)

Ray Charles' “I Can't Stop Loving You” hit #1 in the UK: July 14, 1962
Ray Charles’ “I Can’t Stop Loving You” hit #1 in the UK: July 14, 1962 (Dave’s Music Database – blogger)

* 1985 English football clubs banned from Europe. (On June 2, 1985, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) bans English football (soccer) clubs from competing in Europe. The ban followed the death of 39 Italian and Belgian football fans at Brussels’ Heysel Stadium in a riot caused by English football hooligans at that year’s European Cup final. The 1985 European Cup final pitted two of the most successful and storied clubs in Europe against each other: Juventus from Turin, Italy, and Liverpool, an English team that was the defending European champion. At 7 p.m., right before the start of the match, a group of Liverpool fans, drunk from a day spent at the bars in Brussels, charged after a group of Juventus fans. In the melee, a stadium wall collapsed, crushing some spectators. Others were trampled in the ensuing rush to flee the stadium. In all, 32 Juventus fans were killed, as well as seven bystanders. Hundreds of other people were injured. To avoid further rioting from the unruly crowd, the game went on as scheduled. Juventus won 1–0. In the aftermath, all English clubs were banned for five years from competing in Champions League and UEFA Cup play. Liverpool’s ban, at first indefinite, was eventually set at 10 years and then later reduced to six. From 1977 to 1984, English clubs had captured seven of eight European Cups, and their banishment from play was a blow to the country and the sport as a whole. Still, when the ban was announced, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher gave it her full support: “We have to get the game cleaned up from this hooliganism at home and then perhaps we shall be able to go overseas again.” The consequences did not end with the ban. Liverpool saw 14 of its fans found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in Belgium in 1989 after a five-month trial. The fans were given three-year jail sentences, with half of the terms suspended. English teams were finally readmitted to the UEFA after the 1990 World Cup. Fifteen years later, on April 5, 2005, Liverpool beat Juventus 2-1 in the first leg of the European Champions League quarterfinals. It was the first match the two clubs had played since the Heysel Stadium disaster. Fans stood still for a moment of silence at the beginning of the game, remembering the 39 dead from the 1985 tragedy. A rematch was played nine days later on April 14, 2005, in Turin, where Liverpool played Juventus to a 0-0 tie, putting Liverpool in the European championship semifinal game. They went on to win their fifth European championship.)

Heysel Stadium disaster, 1985.
Heysel Stadium disaster, 1985. (

Acknowledged Sources:

* This Day In History – What Happened Today


Author: John Fioravanti

I'm a retired History teacher (35 years), husband, father of three, grandfather of three. My wife, Anne, and I became business partners in December 2013 and launched our own publishing company, Fiora Books (, to publish my books. We have been married since 1973 and hope our joint business venture will be as successful as our marriage.

16 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 2nd”

  1. Great post, John. Ray Charles was everything to R&B. Even my own children tell me I grew up with the best music. I agree. Few Americans realize that we lost more lives in the Civil War than in either WWI or WWII. And Queen Elizabeth- hard to believe how long she has been ruling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the Queen is in a class by herself. We did grow up with the best music, Jennie! The Civil War was brutal. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love these posts, John. Have to admit, I knew nothing about Queen Elizabeth’s coronation until I watched The Crown on Netflix – the whole series is fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yet another interesting and fact-filled post, John. Thank you.

    Any idea why it took 16 months for Queen Elizabeth to officially get the throne after the death of her father? I’ve never seen an explanation for that anywhere. (Admittedly, I’ve never looked that hard, but still…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, she had the throne right away and began her official duties – they just delayed the pomp and pageantry of the coronation until later. She had intensive training from the PM and her own Secretary – inherited from her father. Although she worked behind the scenes with the PM, she took her role seriously and made sure the politicians understood that. Thanks for your comment and question, Staci!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember watching the Coronation on TV. It was a spectacle for sure. I was in Germany and watch the game between Dusseldorf and Koln. After the game, the rock throwing and car burning was unbelievable. It made a lasting impression and I never went to another football game in Europe again. Thanks, John

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’ve never been to Europe and I don’t watch their football, but it seems like they take their sports far more seriously than North Americans. We get excited, but there isn’t the violence between rival fans. Thanks for your comments, John!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Another great post, John. I’m heading home after visiting mom, sitting at the terminal gate in San Diego. There’s heightened security, and as I read your post I was struck by the fact that we’ve learned so little from our past. 😞

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Gwen. I didn’t know you were out west again. I hope your mom is well. My theory in that is that most people don’t like or see the relevance of studying the past. For 35 years I listened to students tell me these things in the one mandatory history course they had to take in high school. Among the well-educated, how many had an interest in history? So, I’m trying to show folks that it is relevant for our lives today. Even when we understand the past, we often fall into the same errors because we are human. As long as we don’t give up, we can progress. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

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