August 6th marks the beginning of new eras in many ways – from the entry into the age of atomic weapons with the bombing of Hiroshima, to the space age with a Soviet cosmonaut spending a day in space, to the internet age with the birth of the world wide web, as well as a new era for African-Americans thanks to the Voting Rights Act signed on this day. It was also the end of an era, as the Ramones played their last concert in
Enola Gay Drops Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima
While the age of atomic weapons began in July during the Trinity testing at Alamogordo, New Mexico, its first use was on this day when the U.S. bomber Enola Gay dropped the “Little Boy” bomb to ignite over Hiroshima. The blast destroyed the city and, combined with the effects of radiation, killed up to 146,000 over the first four months after.
Soviet Cosmonaut Becomes First to Spend a Day in Space
In April 1961, Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space and the first to orbit the earth. American astronauts Alan Sheppard and Gus Grisom became the second and third humans in space shortly thereafter. On this day, Soviet Cosmonaut Gherman Titov, became the second to orbit the earth and the first to spend a whole day in space.
President Johnson Signs Voting Rights Act
Less than five months after Selma’s “Bloody Sunday” led President Johnson to address Congress on the need to voting rights legislation, he signed into law the Voting Rights Act. One element of the Act required districts with a history of voting rights abuses to get pre-clearance from the Justice Department before enacting any changes to voting requirements. The Act led to an immediate surge in African-American voting participation and office holding. In 2013, this was struck down by the Supreme Court in Shelby County, which opened the door to a wave of voter suppression measures primarily in Republican controlled states.
The World Wide Web is Born
Tim Berners-Lee launches the world’s first ever website – info.cern.ch – and web server. The first web page address was http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html, which centered on information regarding the world wide web project including how to use a browser and set up a web server. A panel of scientists rated this event as one of 80 cultural moments that shaped the world. As Berners-Lee explained, the web “does not just connect computers, it connects people.”
The Ramones Last Concert
The Ramones, the influential punk rock band from Queens, played their final concert at the Hollywood Palace in Los Angeles. The performance was used for their final album – We’re Out of Here. The show featured several special guests, including former band member Dee Dee, as well as members of bands who were influenced by the Ramones such as Lemmy from Motörhead, Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam, Tim Armstrong and Lars Frederiksen of Rancid, and Chris Cornell and Ben Shepherd of Soundgarden.