On This Day in History, August 9

In 1173, the construction of the Cathedral of Pisa’s campanile—bell tower—began, a project that would take two centuries to complete. The tower, now known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, began to lean due to the unstable and soft ground it was constructed on. This process started early into its construction, first appearing during the construction of the tower’s second level. Despite the issues, the tower would be completed after three phases of construction.

In 1974, Richard Nixon became the first President of the United States to resign from office. Due to the Watergate scandal and the impending impeachment proceedings against him, Nixon decided to instead resign of his own will. His Vice President, Gerald Ford, became president following the resignation. One of his first actions in office would be to pardon Nixon, an action which garnered criticism.

In 2014, 18-year old Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri, was fatally shot by Officer Darren Wilson. The incident began when Brown stole a pack of cigarettes from a convenience store. Several minutes later, Officer Wilson encountered Brown. The confrontation and struggle varies among eyewitnesses, but all accounts ends with the officer’s weapon discharging twice. The case was investigated and brought before a grand jury, who decided not to indict the officer.

A Notable Birth

1963 – Whitney Houston (d. 2012) was an American singer and actress. Her first solo singing performance was during a church service at age 11. Whitney’s debut album would win her first Grammy, top the Billboard 200, and set the tone of her career up to her untimely death.

A Notable Death

1979 – Raymond Washington (b. 1953) was an American gangster who founded the Crips gang in South Central LA. This formation came through allying several smaller gangs together, which also produced their rival in the Bloods.

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