William Smith (1911 - 1970)

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Summary

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William Smith Biography & Family History

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Birth

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Gender

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Timeline

1911 - In the year that William Smith was born, British physicist Ernest Rutherford (born in New Zealand), along with German physicist Hans Geiger, discovered the structure of an atom. He found that atoms had nuclei (a nucleus) and were circled by electrons, much as planets orbit the sun.

1924 - When he was merely 13 years old, in May, wealthy college students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb kidnapped and killed 14 year old Robert Franks "in the interest of science". Leopold and Loeb thought that they were intellectually superior and that they could commit the perfect crime and not be caught. They were brought in for questioning within 8 days and quickly confessed. Clarence Darrow was hired as their defense lawyer, getting them life imprisonment instead of a death sentence. Loeb was eventually killed in prison - Leopold was released after 33 years, dying of a heart attack at age 66.

1947 - He was 36 years old when on April 15th, Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, playing first base. He was the first black man to play in the Major Leagues. Since the 1880's, professional baseball had been segregated and blacks played in the "Negro leagues". He went on to play for 10 years.

1962 - By the time he was 51 years old, on October 1st, African-American James H. Meredith, escorted by federal marshals, registered at the University of Mississippi - becoming the first African-American student admitted to the segregated college. He had been inspired by President Kennedy's inaugural address to apply for admission.

1970 - In the year of William Smith's passing, on May 4th, four students at Kent State University in Ohio were shot and killed by National Guardsmen. The students were at a peaceful demonstration protesting the invasion of Cambodia by US forces. There had been precedent for the killing of American college students. The previous year, on May 15th, Alameda County Sheriffs used shotguns against U.C. Berkeley students at a protest for People's Park. One student died, one was blinded, 128 were injured.

William Smith Family Tree

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Obituary

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William Smith died in August 1970 at 59 years old. No cause of death has been listed for William. He was born on January 11, 1911. There is no information about William's family or relationships.

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