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Cecil Whig - - ACCENT -

On this day 203 years ago, the United States got its nick­name “Un­cle Sam.”

Through­out the war of 1812, the U.S. Army pe­ri­od­i­cally re­ceived ship­ments of beef from a New York meat­packer named Sa­muel Wil­son, who sent the bar­rels with “U.S.” stamped on the side, for “United States.” Sol­diers, how­ever, be­gan re­fer­ring to the meat bar­rels as “Un­cle Sam’s,” and once a lo­cal news­pa­per picked up on the story, the nick­name spread.

Some five decades later, po­lit­i­cal car­toon­ist Thomas Nast pop­u­lar­ized the im­age and then, in the 1910s, James Mont­gomery Flagg cre­ated the iconic “I Want You For U.S. Army” re­cruit­ment ver­sion that many think of to­day.

On Sept. 9, 1919, Bos­ton got a taste of 20th-cen­tury life with­out law en­force- ment. The city’s po­lice de­part­ment went on strike, which opened the door to loot­ing and other crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity, as well as na­tional re­form.

Sur­pris­ingly enough, no ma­jor, vi­o­lent up­ris­ing oc­curred, but that’s thought to be the re­sult of a quick re­sponse from then-Mas­sachusetts Gov­er­nor Calvin Coolidge. He wasted lit­tle time in call­ing the mili­tia to as­sist Har­vard stu­dents and fac­ulty, who were act­ing as a makeshift vol­un­teer po­lice force. Coolidge would later use this timely ac­tion to pro­pel him to the pres­i­dency. To­day, while po­lice can form unions, it is il­le­gal for them to strike.

He may be known for more con­tro­ver­sial parts of his base­ball ca­reer now, but on Sept. 11, 1985, Pete Rose cap­tured head­lines in a much more pos­i­tive light. He broke Ty Cobb’s 57-year-old ma­jor league record of 4,191 hits.

As a player in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, Rose es­tab­lished a rep­u­ta­tion of per­sis­tent work ethic, even earn­ing the nick­name “Char­lie Hus­tle” af­ter sprint­ing to first fol­low­ing a spring train­ing game walk by Whitey Ford. The scrappy sec­ond base­man was a big part of the suc­cess of the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970s, and he won the World Se­ries with them in back-to-back years in 1975 and 1976. He won an­other World Se­ries with the Philadel­phia Phillies in 1980.

He re­tired as a player in 1986 but stayed with the Reds as a man­ager un­til 1989, when he was found to have gam­bled ex­ten­sively on his own games and banned from base­ball for life.

On Sept. 13, 1996, hip hop lost one of its ear­li­est su­per­stars: Tu­pac Shakur.

At the time of his death, Shakur, a 25-year-old West Coast-based rap­per, was al­ready one of the most in­flu­en­tial MC’s in the genre’s his­tory. He’d been shot nearly a week ear­lier at a stop­light in Las Ve­gas, and fi­nally died of those in­juries.

The shoot­ing — for which po­lice have made no ar­rests — came at the height of the mid-1990s East Coast v. West Coast rap feud, which was per­pet­u­ated most vis­i­bly by Shakur and his ri­val Christo­pher Wal­lace (The Notorious B.I.G.), who was sim­i­larly shot and killed some six months later.

De­spite rel­a­tively short ca­reers, both have main­tained their le­gend rep­u­ta­tions in the hip hop world, and their work con­tin­ues to in­flu­ence the genre.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE U.S. LI­BRARY OF CONGRESS

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