Eisenhower signs bill creating NASA
July 29, 1958
On this day in 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The national commitment to a broad program of space exploration, including manned space flight, came in response to the Soviet Union's successful space launches, begun in 1957. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy set as a national goal the achievement of a manned landing on the moon by the end of the decade. NASA began to reorganize and increase its space establishments. Central to the agency's new future was the construction of a manned-space-development aggregation, including facilities in Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. NASA also elected to build a new space-management, crew-training, and flight-control center on Clear Lake in southeastern Harris County, Texas, thanks to the efforts of Texas Congressman Albert Thomas. The Manned Space Center opened in 1963 and was officially renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center ten years later.
Fire-breathing preacher indicted for murder
July 29, 1926
On this day in 1926, J. Frank Norris, the controversial minister of the First Baptist Church of Fort Worth, was indicted for murder. He had been zealous in promoting prohibition, condemning gambling, and attacking the alleged teaching of evolution at Baylor University. Though he had begun the first regular radio ministry in the United States in 1920, he also openly supported the Ku Klux Klan and attacked the Catholic Church. His unrelenting criticism of Baylor, Baptist leaders, and state Baptist policies caused the Baptist General Convention to deny seats to Norris’s congregation at the meetings of 1922 and 1923. In a quarrel with Mayor H.C. Meacham, Norris shot and killed Meacham’s friend D.C. Chipps. The fiery fundamentalist was acquitted on grounds of self-defense.
posted by Jeff ~ 7.29.2011 - The Texas State Historical Association