Feb. 6, 1933 - 20th Amendment to the Constitution Takes Effect

On Feb. 6, 1933 the 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution went into effect, establishing a number of rules related to presidential succession. It also established guidelines related to the beginning and ending of terms of elected federal officials. The goal of the 20th Amendment was to reduce the amount of time between the election of the President and Congress and the beginning of their terms.

Feb. 5, 1994 – Byron De La Beckwith is Convicted of the 1963 Murder of Medgar Evers

On Feb. 5, 1994 white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith was convicted of the 1963 murder of civil rights leader Medger Evers. Beckwith had been a member of the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi during the 60’s and had taken part in the Klan’s violent campaign against the civil rights movement and racial integration. Medgar Evers was shot outside his home upon returning from an integration meeting on June 12, 1963 in Jackson, Mississippi. Beckwith was arrested for the murder, but consecutive trials in 1964 ended in mistrial. The 1994 trial was based on new evidence that Beckwith had bragged about the murder at a Klan rally nearly three decades after the crime. He was sentenced to life in prison and died in 2001.

Feb. 4, 1974 – Patty Hearst is Kidnapped from Her Berkeley, California Apartment

On Feb. 4, 1974 Patty Hearst, daughter of publishing billionaire William Randolph Hearst, was kidnapped from her apartment in Berkley, California by members of the Symbionese Liberation Army. Hearst was held for ransom, the SLA instructing Mr. Hearst to provide money for food for the poor and homeless throughout portions of California. After a disastrous attempt at distributing the donated food, the SLA asked Hearst for an addition $6 million, which Hearst declined.

The case took a strange turn two months later when, during a bank robbery in San Francisco, Patty Hearst was seen on surveillance cameras participating in the heist along with members of the SLA. When found in September of 1975, Hearst was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to prison despite claims that she had been brainwashed. However, her sentence was reversed by President Jimmy Carter after she had served nearly two years.

 

Feb. 3, 1870 – Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution Ratified

On Feb. 3, 1870 the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. The amendment established that governments within the United States may not prohibit an individual from voting based on race, color or previous condition of servitude. The purpose of the amendment at the time was to enfranchise former slaves, but it was not until the Voting Rights Act in 1965 that the effectiveness of the Fifteenth Amendment was achieved in every state.

Feb. 2, 1787 – Arthur St. Clair is Elected President of the Continental Congress

On Feb. 2, 1787 Arthur St. Clair was elected as the ninth President of the Continental Congress in the midst of Shay’s Rebellion. St. Clair had been a general in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and the highest ranking officer in the U.S. army. During his tenure as president, Congress enacted both the Northwest Ordinance and the United States Constitution.