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John’s Believe It Or Not… June 3rd

In 1935 – On to Ottawa Trek begins. In 1989 Crackdown at Tiananmen begins. In 1965 An American walks in space. In 1956 Rock and roll is banned in Santa Cruz. In 1937 Josh Gibson hits ball 580 feet in Yankee Stadium.

John Fioravanti Stands at the front of his classroom in 2006

It’s Saturday Again! Did you know…

* June 3, 1935 – On to Ottawa Trek.   (In 1935, about 1,500 residents of federal Unemployment Relief Camps in British Columbia went on strike and traveled by train and truck to Vancouver, Regina, and Ottawa to protest poor conditions in the Depression-era camps. The strike leaders were eventually arrested, resulting in the violent Regina Riot. In early April 1935, during the Great Depression, a strike and protest by Unemployment Relief Camp workers was organized by the Workers’ Unity League (WUL) and led by WUL officer Arthur “Slim” Evans. The League was affiliated with the international Communist movement. The protest was motivated by concern for improved conditions and benefits in the camps, and the apparent reluctance of the federal government to provide work and wages programs. In Vancouver, the strikers organized themselves into divisions, undertook alliances with civic, labor, ethnic and political groups, held demonstrations, and spoke with government officials, among them British Columbia premier Dufferin T. Pattullo and Mayor Gerald McGeer. The two-month protest included the occupation of the Hudson’s Bay store and the city museum and library and a May Day parade of some 20,000 strikers and supporters to Stanley Park. When local governments refused to take responsibility for the strikers’ welfare, and when the men themselves began to grow restless at the apparent failure of their protest, Evans and his associates decided to take the movement to Ottawa. On 3 June, more than 1,000 strikers began the “On to Ottawa Trek,” determined to inform the nation of their cause and to lay complaints before Parliament and Prime Minister R.B. Bennett.)

On to Ottawa Trek, Kamloops,
On to Ottawa Trek, Kamloops. (Past Tense)

* 1989 Crackdown at Tiananmen begins. (With protests for democratic reforms entering their seventh week, the Chinese government authorizes its soldiers and tanks to reclaim Beijing’s Tiananmen Square at all costs. By nightfall on June 4, Chinese troops had forcibly cleared the square, killing hundreds and arresting thousands of demonstrators and suspected dissidents. On April 15, the death of Hu Yaobang, a former Communist Party head who supported democratic reforms, roused some 100,000 students to gather at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to commemorate the leader and voice their discontent with China’s authoritative government. On April 22, an official memorial service for Hu Yaobang was held in Tiananmen’s Great Hall of the People, and student representatives carried a petition to the steps of the Great Hall, demanding to meet with Premier Li Peng. The Chinese government refused the meeting, leading to a general boycott of Chinese universities across the country and widespread calls for democratic reforms. Ignoring government warnings of suppression of any mass demonstration, students from more than 40 universities began a march to Tiananmen on April 27. The students were joined by workers, intellectuals, and civil servants, and by mid-May, more than a million people filled the square, the site of Mao Zedong’s proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. On May 20, the government formally declared martial law in Beijing, and troops and tanks were called in to disperse the dissidents. However, large numbers of students and citizens blocked the army’s advance, and by May 23 government forces had pulled back to the outskirts of Beijing. On June 3, with negotiations to end the protests stalled and calls for democratic reforms escalating, the troops received orders from the Chinese government to seize control of Tiananmen Square and the streets of Beijing. Hundreds were killed and thousands arrested. In the weeks after the government crackdown, an unknown number of dissidents were executed, and hard-liners in the government took firm control of the country. The international community was outraged by the incident, and economic sanctions imposed by the United States and other countries sent China’s economy into decline. By late 1990, however, international trade had resumed, thanks in part to China’s release of several hundred imprisoned dissidents.)

China's gov authorizes troops to begin crackdown of Tiananmen Square protests.
China’s gov authorizes troops to begin the crackdown on Tiananmen Square protests. (Twitter)

* 1965 An American walks in space. (One hundred and 20 miles above the earth, Major Edward H. White II opens the hatch of the Gemini 4 and steps out of the capsule, becoming the first American astronaut to walk in space. Attached to the craft by a 25-foot tether and controlling his movements with a hand-held oxygen jet-propulsion gun, White remained outside the capsule for just over 20 minutes. As a space walker, White had been preceded by Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei A. Leonov, who on March 18, 1965, was the first man ever to walk in space. Implemented at the height of the space race, NASA’s Gemini program was the least famous of the three U.S.-manned space programs conducted during the 1960s. However, as an extension of Project Mercury, which put the first American in space in 1961, Gemini laid the groundwork for the more dramatic Apollo lunar missions, which began in 1968. The Gemini space flights were the first to involve multiple crews, and the extended duration of the missions provided valuable information about the biological effects of longer-term space travel. When the Gemini program ended in 1966, U.S. astronauts had also perfected rendezvous and docking maneuvers with other orbiting vehicles, a skill that would be essential during the three-stage Apollo moon missions.)

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin may ring a bell, but Edward White was the first American to walk in space. His commander snapped this shot in 1965 during NASA's Gemini 4 mission. (photo: NASA)
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin may ring a bell, but Edward White was the first American to walk in space. His commander snapped this shot in 1965 during NASA’s Gemini 4 mission. (Photo: NASA)

* 1956 Rock and roll is banned in Santa Cruz, California. (Santa Cruz, California, a favorite early haunt of author Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, was an established capital of the West Coast counterculture scene by the mid-1960s. Yet just 10 years earlier, the balance of power in this crunchy beach town 70 miles south of San Francisco tilted heavily toward the older side of the generation gap. In the early months of the rock-and-roll revolution, in fact, at a time when adult authorities around the country were struggling to come to terms with a booming population of teenagers with vastly different musical tastes and attitudes, Santa Cruz captured national attention for its response to the crisis. On June 3, 1956, city authorities announced a total ban on rock and roll at public gatherings, calling the music “Detrimental to both the health and morals of our youth and community.” It was a dance party the previous evening that led to this reaction on the part of Santa Cruz authorities. Some 200 teenagers had packed the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium on a Saturday night to dance to the music of Chuck Higgins and his Orchestra, a Los Angeles group with a regional hit record called “Pachuko Hop.” Santa Cruz police entered the auditorium just past midnight to check on the event, and what they found, according to Lieutenant Richard Overton, was a crowd “engaged in suggestive, stimulating and tantalizing motions induced by the provocative rhythms of an all-negro band.” But what might sound like a pretty great dance party to some did not to Lt. Overton, who immediately shut the dance down and sent the disappointed teenagers home early. It may seem obvious now that Santa Cruz’s ban on “Rock-and-roll and other forms of frenzied music” was doomed to fail, but it was hardly the only such attempt. Just two weeks later in its June 18, 1956 issue, Time magazine reported on similar bans recently enacted in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and in San Antonio, Texas, where the city council’s fear of “undesirable elements” echoed the not-so-thinly-veiled concerns of Santa Cruz authorities over the racially integrated nature of the event that prompted the rock-and-roll ban issued on this day in 1956)

ROCK n IS THE DEVIL S MUSIC ! BEWARE the hypnotic voodoo rhythm , a reckless dance down the Devils road of sin and self - destruction . leading youth to eternal damnation in the fiery depths of hell !
ROCK n IS THE DEVILS MUSIC! BEWARE the hypnotic voodoo rhythm, a reckless dance down the Devils road of sin and self – destruction. leading youth to eternal damnation in the fiery depths of hell! (

* 1937 Josh Gibson hits ball 580 feet in Yankee Stadium. (On this day in 1937, The Sporting News reports that catcher Josh Gibson of the Negro League’s Homestead Grays hit a ball two feet from the top of the façade of Yankee Stadium, 580 feet from home plate. If Negro League records were kept alongside those of the National and American Leagues, Gibson’s home run would eclipse Mickey Mantle’s record 565-foot home run hit off Chuck Stobbs in Washington’s Griffith Stadium on April 17, 1953, as the longest ever hit. This is not the only record Gibson might hold, and possibly not the only record for distance. Some credit him with crushing a fair ball out of Yankee Stadium in 1934, which if true would make him the only player ever to accomplish that feat. Gibson became the Grays’ permanent catcher and cleanup hitter and was soon the best power hitter in the Negro League. Many who saw him play said that he was the best power hitter of his generation, superior even to the more celebrated Babe Ruth. He hit tape measure blasts and homers in droves in spite of the fact he played his home games at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh and later at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C., two of the largest stadiums in baseball. There is no central authority on Negro League statistics, so precise numbers for Gibson’s career are impossible to determine. Most sources agree that his career average was at least over .350, and it has been put as high as .384. His Hall of Fame plaque says he approached 800 home runs for his career, but others have put the number as high as 900. Gibson is credited by some with having hit 84 home runs in a single Negro League season, which would be 11 more than the major league record of 73 held by Barry Bonds. Some have placed his slugging percentage in certain seasons at over 1.000. In integrated games between Negro League teams and all-white big league teams, Gibson hit .426. In the early 1940s, Gibson was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He slipped into a coma, and upon regaining consciousness refused to allow doctors to operate. On January 20, 1947, when he was 35, Gibson suffered a fatal stroke in his bed after asking to see his baseball trophies. He died three months shy of Jackie Robinson’s debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers and the integration of the major leagues.Gibson was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 by the Committee on Negro Baseball Leagues.)

This Day in Black History: June 3, 1937. On June 3, 1937, catcher Josh Gibson of the Negro League's Homestead Grays hit a ball 580 feet in Yankee Stadium.
This Day in Black History: June 3, 1937. On June 3, 1937, catcher Josh Gibson of the Negro League’s Homestead Grays hit a ball 580 feet in Yankee Stadium. (

Acknowledged Sources:

* Canadian History Timeline – Canada’s Historical Chronology

* This Day In History – What Happened Today

* The Canadian Encyclopedia           


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.

17 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 3rd”

    1. The Great Depression was global in its scope. Unfortunately, the cure for that awful economic disaster was World War II.


  1. Great post! Loved the photo of the devil’s music. Ha! I had forgotten that White was first, not Armstrong. And, baseball history is always the best (Red Sox country where I live).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. On a side note, when I saw the photo of the train and Vancouver, I immediately thought of the true Canadian WWI story of the soldier and the bear on the train from Winnipeg. That Bear became Winnie the Pooh, of course. Sounds like a John Fioravanti post sometime. The award winning children’s book, Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick is THE best book. No wonder it won the big award!


    1. Indeed! Almost as good as TV cameramen ordered to film just his upper body, cutting out those sinful hip gyrations! Thanks for your comment, John!


    1. I’m not sure if any followed suit – but there were many conservative Christians who called for it. Of course, that made the teens want Rock even more! The Sex Pistols did that purposely in the UK to get publicity when the Queen had her silver jubilee. Thanks for your comment, Robbie!

      Liked by 1 person

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