July 8

1776

The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence was given in Philadelphia, Pa.

1777

Vermont became the first colony to abolish slavery.

1889

The Wall Street Journal began publication.

1950

General Douglas MacArthur was named commander-in-chief of the United Nations forces in Korea.

1958

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) awarded the first official gold album. It was for the Oklahoma soundtrack.

1986

Kurt Waldheim was inaugurated as president of Austria.

2011

The space shuttle Atlantis launches into space for the last time from the Kennedy Space Center. It is the 135th and final flight of the space shuttle program, which started in 1981. For its final mission, the Atlantis is carrying 8,000 lbs of spare parts and supplies to the International Space Station. The space shuttle program officially ends when the Atlantis returns two weeks later.

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