October 16

Published in On this Day listing

  • 1941 Sixteen soldiers were killed in an explosion while conducting tests with anti-tank mines in the Glen of Imaal, Co. Wicklow—the worst disaster in the annals of the Irish Defence Forces.
  • 1968 African-American athletes Tommie Smith and Juan Carlos raised black-gloved fists as the Star-Spangled Banner played during their medal ceremony at the Olympic Games in Mexico City. The gesture was not a ‘Black Power’ salute, Smith later declared, but a ‘human rights salute’.
  • 1964 Harold Wilson (Labour) became British prime minister.
  • 1859 John Brown, American abolitionist, with 21 followers seized the US armoury at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.
  • 1854 Oscar Wilde born in Dublin.
  • 1888 Birth of playwright and Nobel laureate Eugene O’Neill in New York. He is best known for the epic (and autobiographical) Long day’s journey into night, depicting the travails of a ‘lace-curtain’ Irish-American family.

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