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5 Fun Facts About July 6 In Illinois History

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

1. In 1854, the Republican Party held its first organizing convention in Bloomington, Illinois. The convention was attended by over 1,000 delegates, including Abraham Lincoln, who gave a speech endorsing the party's anti-slavery platform.

2. On July 6, 1937, the Eastland disaster occurred in Chicago, in which the passenger ship the SS Eastland capsized in the Chicago River, killing 844 people. It remains the deadliest shipwreck in Great Lakes history.

3. In 1947, a UFO sighting was reported in Madison County, Illinois. Multiple witnesses reported seeing a "cigar-shaped" object in the sky, which was later confirmed by radar at Scott Air Force Base. The sighting remains unexplained.

4. On July 6, 1957, Althea Gibson became the first African American to win a Wimbledon tennis championship. She defeated Darlene Hard in straight sets and went on to win Wimbledon again in 1958.

5. In 2017, Illinois became the tenth state in the United States to legalize recreational marijuana. The law went into effect on January 1, 2020, allowing individuals over the age of 21 to purchase and possess up to 30 grams of cannabis.
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