This Day in History
November 2: North and South Dakota Admitted as States, Martin Luther King Jr. Day Established, and Other Events of the Date
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November 2: North and South Dakota Admitted as States, Martin Luther King Jr. Day Established, and Other Events of the Date


A number of important events have taken place on November 2 in U.S. history. Here is our take on the most interesting and valuable of them.

1889 – North and South Dakota admitted as states

These territories with a rich Native American background (as different tribes have lived there from around the 11th century) that later became parts of Spanish Louisiana (between 1762 and 1802), then – for a very short period of time – were French and were eventually sold to the U.S. as part of the Louisiana Purchase back in 1803, weren’t official parts of the country for more than 80 years. And, to be honest, throughout the most part of the 19th century, the Dakota territories were pretty useless.

European Americans settled in Dakota Territory only sparsely until the late years of the century, but then the railroads opened up the region, leading it to a new era of colonization. With the advantage of land grants, they vigorously marketed their properties, extolling the region as ideal for agriculture.

Both North Dakota and South Dakota are now considered as peaceful rural states with one of the lowest crime rates among all states. They tend to vote Republican, and both states have three votes in the Electoral College in presidential elections. Interestingly, though, North Dakota's at-large congressional district is considered to be one of the biggest in the country.

1947 - Hughes H-4 Hercules first flight

It was a true American story when the true American airplane the H-4 Hercules strategic airlift flying boat took off from the water and flew for about a mile near Cabrillo Beach in L.A., California.

Not very impressive, true, yet, what made it American was not the length of the H-4 Hercules’s sole flight, but the personality of its constructor, an American business magnate, investor, aviation pioneer, record-setting pilot, engineer, film director, and philanthropist Howard Hughes, as he was an image of the American dream.

The story of his life was pretty well-shown in the five-times Academy Award winning movie The Aviator (2004) directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes himself, Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn, and Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner. The historical H-4 Hercules flight was also depicted in the film.

1983 - Martin Luther King Jr. Day established

Although President Reagan initially opposed creation the holiday that would become Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as he claimed the African American philosopher was a communist sympathizer, 35 years ago on this day he eventually signed a bill introducing the day as a national holiday.

Representative Katie Hall of Indiana proposed honoring the remarkable Mr. King and dedicating a holiday to him. The bill passed the House by a count of 338 to 90 — a veto-proof margin.

Yet, it was more than two years before the holiday was actually observed for the first time on January 20, 1986.

An interesting detail: while all states now observe the holiday, some did not name the day after the African American philosopher and activist. For example, in the state of New Hampshire, the holiday was celebrated simply as Civil Rights Day until 1999, when the State Legislature voted to change the title of the holiday to Martin Luther King Day.

The most amazing type of celebration takes place in Mississippi, where they celebrate Martin Luther King's and Robert E. Lee's birthdays on the same day. What an eclectic day! 

These are the most notable events in U.S. history that occurred on November 2, at least in our view.

Author: USA Really