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5 Fun Facts About June 17 In Missouri History

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

1. In 1944, the Port Chicago disaster took place in California, but it had a significant impact on Missouri. The explosion at the naval munitions depot killed over 300 people, most of whom were African American sailors. The tragic event led to a mass mutiny by Black sailors who refused to handle dangerous munitions without proper training and safety measures. The incident, which occurred during World War II, sparked a long struggle for civil rights and workplace equality.

2. On June 17, 1821, Missouri was officially admitted as the 24th state in the Union. It was the first state to be carved out of the Louisiana Purchase, a vast territory acquired by the US from France in 1803. Missouri's entry into the Union sparked a heated political debate about slavery and the balance of free and slave states in America.

3. In 1861, Missouri declared its secession from the Union and joined the Confederacy during the Civil War. However, the state was bitterly divided, with many residents remaining loyal to the Union. The ensuing conflict between pro-Confederate and pro-Union factions led to a guerrilla war that ravaged the state for years and left scars that endure to this day.

4. On June 17, 1918, the American aviator and World War I hero Eddie Rickenbacker shot down his first enemy plane over France. Rickenbacker, a native of Columbus, Ohio, was one of the most celebrated pilots of the war, credited with downing 26 enemy planes and receiving the Medal of Honor for his bravery.

5. In 1943, the Ku Klux Klan held a rally in St. Louis that drew thousands of participants and sparked a violent clash with anti-Klan protesters. The Klan had a significant presence in Missouri during the early 20th century and sought to promote white supremacy through intimidation and violence. The St. Louis rally was a reflection of the growing tensions between pro- and anti-Klan factions in the state and underscored the ongoing struggle for civil rights and equality.
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