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5 Fun Facts About February 11 In Illinois History

---Learn Every Day: IL Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history il To: 618-270-4005---

1. On February 11, 1858, Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "House Divided" speech in Springfield, Illinois. In this speech, Lincoln articulated his opposition to the expansion of slavery and declared that "a house divided against itself cannot stand."

2. In 1929, the St. Valentine's Day massacre took place in Chicago, Illinois. On February 14th of that year, seven members of the "North Side Gang" were gunned down in a garage on the city's north side. This event is often seen as the pinnacle of the "gangster era" in Chicago and helped to cement the city's reputation as a center of organized crime.

3. On February 11, 1937, General Motors workers in Flint, Michigan went on strike to protest poor working conditions and low wages. This strike quickly became nationwide, and workers in Chicago and other cities soon joined in. The strike lasted for 44 days and ended with a victory for the workers, as GM agreed to recognize the United Auto Workers (UAW) as the bargaining agent for its employees.

4. In 1960, a U-2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union. The incident created an international crisis and led to the cancellation of a planned summit between the United States and the Soviet Union. Powers was eventually released in a prisoner exchange, and the incident had a significant impact on Cold War relations.

5. On February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from prison in South Africa after 27 years of incarceration. He had been imprisoned for his opposition to apartheid, the system of racial segregation that had been in place since 1948. Mandela went on to play a leading role in the dismantling of apartheid and became the first black President of South Africa in 1994.
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