Saladin - Captures JerusalemCredit:

1187 Saladin Begins Siege of Jerusalem

Saladin, a Muslim Ruler of the Middle East and the founder of the Ayyubid Dynasty, started the siege of Jerusalem on September 20, 1187.  He was able to capture it on October 2, 1187.  Some of the inhabitants were able to go free by paying ransom, and others were taken into slavery.  The Third Crusade was organized several years later with the intention of recapturing the city.  It ended with the city still in Muslim hands.

1519 Magellan Sails From Spain  

Ferdinand Magellan attempted to sail to the Spice Islands, by sailing north across the Atlantic, instead of east by way of crossing the southern tip of Africa.  He born in Portugal, and attempted to get funding from King Manuel I of Portugal, but was refused.  He eventually received funding for an expedition from King Charles V of Spain.  He sailed from Spain on September 20, 1519 with five ships and supplies for two years.

He sailed across the Atlantic, and then into the Pacific, with the discovery near the southern tip of South America of the Magellan Strait.  He was eventually killed in the Philippines.  Two of the ships of the expedition made it to the Spice Islands.  The survivors attempted to continue to sail west back to Spain.  Eventually only one ship of the five starting vessels returned, with only 18 survivors of the original crew.  Eventually 4 other survivors would return by other means.  The total dead would be 232 of those that set sail. 

Magellan’s expedition was the first to cross the Atlantic and the first to circumnavigate the globe.

1850 Slave Trade Abolished in District of Columbia

As part of the Compromise of 1850, where California entered the Union as a free state, the slave trade was outlawed in the District of Columbia.  Slaves would still be allowed until President Lincoln freed them in 1862. 

1853 First Elevator Safety Equipment Sold

Elisah Graves Otis sold his first elevator with an automatic braking system for when of cable failure.  He had patented his invention earlier in the year.  Otis has earlier made plans to go west with the Gold Rush, but stayed when he received an order for 2 elevators.  When he didn’t receive any more orders, but joined with PT Barnum and put on a show.  He would hoist himself up in the air, and then cut the rope, and his safety brakes would stop him before hitting the ground. By 1956 he had sold 27 elevators. 

His company, started by him and his 2 sons, it still around today.  When the World Trade Center fell on September 11, 2001, it was operating 252 elevators and 71 escalators manufactured by the Otis Company. 

1933 Pittsburgh Steelers First Game

The Pittsburgh Pirates make their début in the National Football League.  They played the New York Giants.  They lost the game, 23-2.  Their name was changed to the Pittsburgh Steelers before starting their 1940 season.  They are the oldest franchise in the American Football Conference, and the fifth oldest in the National Football League.  They have won more Super Bowls than any other team in the NFL.  They were started in 1933 by Art Rooney, and is now owned by his son, Dan Rooney.  Recently outside investors have been brought in to help comply with NFL Owner Regulations. 

1962 University of Mississippi bars Black Student

Governor Ross R. Barnett bars James Meredith from attending University of Mississippi.   Meredith Appealed and the courts granted him the right to attend the school.  On his first day oJames MeredithCredit: attendance, October 1, 1962, the riots were so bad that President Kennedy needed to send in Federal troops and US Marshals to keep things under control.

James Meredith did graduated from the University, and continued his education in political science and eventually a law degree.  He was an activist for a time, but stopped activist activities in the late 1960s.  He never participated in the civil rights movements, stating that "Nothing could be more insulting to me than the concept of civil rights. It means perpetual second-class citizenship for me and my kind".  He said that he was just trying to get the rights that belong to every citizen.

1963 Kennedy Proposes Space Cooperation 

In a speech at the United Nations, President Kennedy proposed coöperation with the Soviet Union in the aPresident Kennedyttempt to land a man on the moon.  He stated that there should be coöperation in the race to the moon.  This was unexpected both in the Soviet Union and in the US.  But the Cuban Missile Crisis and had just ended, and the two countries were trying for more coöperation.  President Kennedy may have felt this would be one more step in coöperation and a way to further ease tensions between the two countries. 

But many were taken by surprise by the speech.  Kennedy had run for election on the promises of beating the Soviets to the moon, as the launch of Sputnik has scared many people. 

But people in the US were already losing interest in the cause, and many were looking at the price tag the program was taking.  Kennedy might have felt the goodwill with the Soviets, plus the share of cost would be better in the long run.

But President Kennedy was assassinated two months later.  President Johnson did not follow his predecessor’s plan, and the two countries continued the race for the moon separately.  The United States landed a man on the moon in 1969, and the Soviets were never successful in their endeavors.

1973 Tennis “Battle of the Sexes”

 Billie Jean King played, 29, played Bobby Riggs, 55, in a tennis match.  Riggs had been a former Number One Seed, and said that women’s tennis was a joke, and that the women couldn’t handle the pressure of real tennis.  He stated that even at his age, he could beat any woman.  King took him up on the challenge.  On September 20, 1973, they met in the highly publicized and highly watched game and King won all three sets.  This helped to legitimize women’s tennis in particular, and helped the cause of women sports and women’s rights in general.