12 November 1954

Ellis Island ceases operations

Ellis Island is a small island located in New York Harbor, near the Statue of Liberty. It played a significant role in American history as the primary entry point for immigrants arriving in the United States from the late 19th century to the early 20th century.

Immigration Station: Ellis Island served as the main federal immigration station from 1892 to 1954. During this time, over 12 million immigrants passed through its facilities. The majority of these immigrants were coming from Europe, seeking better economic opportunities and escaping political or religious persecution.

Opening and Expansion: The first immigration station on Ellis Island opened on January 1, 1892, replacing the earlier Castle Garden Immigration Depot. The original wooden buildings were soon destroyed by fire, and a new, larger brick and limestone structure was completed in 1900.

Inspection Process: Upon arrival at Ellis Island, immigrants underwent a medical and legal inspection. Medical inspections were conducted to identify and quarantine those with contagious diseases, and legal inspections aimed to determine if individuals met the criteria for admission, such as having a job or a sponsor.

The Great Hall: The Great Hall was the main processing area on Ellis Island, where immigrants were processed and interviewed. It is a large, open room that has been restored and is now part of the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration.

Immigration Act of 1924: The Immigration Act of 1924 significantly reduced the number of immigrants allowed into the United States and altered the demographic makeup of those who were admitted. The act imposed quotas based on national origin, favoring immigrants from northern and western Europe over those from southern and eastern Europe.

Closure: Ellis Island’s role as an immigration processing center declined in the 1920s and 1930s, and it eventually closed in 1954. The buildings fell into disrepair until the 1980s when efforts began to restore the island and open it to the public.

National Park Service: Ellis Island is now part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and is administered by the National Park Service. The museum on the island preserves and shares the history of immigration in the United States.

15 September 1954

Marilyn Monroe’s iconic skirt scene is shot during filming for The Seven Year Itch.

Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926, and died on August 5, 1962, was an iconic American actress, model, and singer. She is one of the most enduring and celebrated sex symbols in the history of popular culture.

Early Life: Marilyn Monroe was born in Los Angeles, California, and had a challenging upbringing. She spent much of her childhood in foster homes and orphanages. She later married at a young age but divorced before embarking on her career in entertainment.

Modeling Career: Marilyn began her career as a model, initially working for various agencies in Los Angeles. Her beauty and charisma helped her gain attention, and she appeared on the covers of popular magazines.

Acting Career: Marilyn Monroe made her film debut in a bit part in the 1947 film “Dangerous Years.” However, her breakthrough came with roles in films like “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953), “The Seven Year Itch” (1955), and “Some Like It Hot” (1959). Her performances in these movies showcased her comedic talent and sultry appeal.

Iconic Roles: Monroe’s most iconic roles often portrayed her as a glamorous, somewhat ditzy blonde bombshell, but she also displayed depth and vulnerability in films like “Bus Stop” (1956) and “The Misfits” (1961).

Personal Life: Marilyn Monroe’s personal life was marked by tumultuous relationships and struggles with mental health. She was married three times, including to baseball legend Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller. She battled depression and substance abuse throughout her life.

Music Career: In addition to acting, Monroe had a music career and recorded several songs. Her rendition of “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” for President John F. Kennedy in 1962 became particularly famous.

Legacy: Marilyn Monroe’s tragic death at the age of 36 has contributed to her enduring mystique. She remains an iconic figure and continues to influence popular culture. Her image is frequently referenced in fashion, art, and media.

Cultural Impact: Monroe’s image and persona have been widely studied and analyzed by scholars and cultural critics. She is often seen as a symbol of femininity, sexuality, and the American dream. Her life and career have inspired countless books, documentaries, and biopics.

Posthumous Fame: Despite her untimely death, Marilyn Monroe’s popularity has not waned. Her films are still widely watched, and her memorabilia, including photographs and personal items, are highly sought after by collectors.

Marilyn Monroe Institute: In her memory, the Marilyn Monroe Institute was established to research and promote mental health and well-being, given her struggles with mental health during her lifetime.

16 August 1954

The first issue of Sports Illustrated is published.

Sports Illustrated is an American sports media franchise owned by Authentic Brands Group, primarily known for its magazine that covers a wide range of sports-related content.

Magazine: Sports Illustrated (SI) magazine was first published in 1954 by Henry Luce, the co-founder of Time Inc. The magazine quickly gained popularity for its in-depth coverage of sports events, athletes, and issues. The cover of the magazine often features famous athletes and sports personalities.

Content: The magazine covers a broad spectrum of sports, including football, basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey, golf, tennis, and more. It provides feature stories, investigative journalism, athlete profiles, opinion pieces, and stunning sports photography. It also publishes special issues, such as the annual “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue,” which features models and celebrities in swimwear.

Awards and Honors: Sports Illustrated presents various awards to athletes and teams, with some of the most notable being the “Sportsman of the Year” and the “Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year” awards. These awards recognize individuals or teams that have made significant contributions to the world of sports in a given year.

Digital Presence: With the rise of digital media, Sports Illustrated has expanded its presence online. The official website features articles, videos, interviews, and multimedia content, allowing fans to stay updated on the latest sports news and developments.

Ownership Changes: Over the years, Sports Illustrated has changed ownership multiple times. In 2019, Authentic Brands Group acquired the brand from Meredith Corporation. This transition marked a shift in the way Sports Illustrated operates and produces content.

Expansion and Spin-offs: In addition to the magazine and website, Sports Illustrated has expanded into various other media platforms, including television shows, documentaries, podcasts, and more. It has created a diverse range of content to engage sports enthusiasts across different mediums.

Impact and Legacy: Sports Illustrated has had a significant impact on sports journalism and popular culture. Its iconic covers and in-depth stories have become part of the sports landscape, influencing the way fans and media interact with sports events and athletes.

Challenges: Like many traditional media outlets, Sports Illustrated has faced challenges due to the changing media landscape and declining print circulation. The digital age and the proliferation of online sports news sources have prompted the brand to adapt its strategies to remain relevant and competitive.

7 April 1954

United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower gives his “domino theory” speech during a news conference.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, serving from 1953 to 1961. In 1954, during the early years of the Cold War, he delivered a speech in which he articulated what would come to be known as the “domino theory.”

The speech was delivered on April 7, 1954, at a press conference in Washington, D.C. Eisenhower was responding to a question about the situation in Indochina, where the French were fighting a war against communist forces in Vietnam. The president expressed concern that if Vietnam were to fall to communism, it would set off a chain reaction in Southeast Asia and beyond.

Eisenhower said: “You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences.”

The “domino theory” was a metaphor for the idea that if one country in a region were to fall to communism, neighboring countries would be at risk of falling as well, creating a chain reaction that could ultimately lead to the spread of communism around the world. The theory was used to justify U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, as the U.S. sought to prevent the spread of communism in Southeast Asia.

The domino theory became a controversial concept, and some critics argued that it was an oversimplification of the complex political and economic factors that influenced the spread of communism. However, the theory remained influential in U.S. foreign policy for several decades, shaping U.S. intervention in conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, and other parts of the world.

6 May 1954

Roger Bannister becomes the first person to run the mile in under four minutes.

In the sport of athletics, a four-minute mile means completing a mile run in less than four minutes. It was first achieved in 1954 by Roger Bannister in 3:59.4. The “four-minute barrier” has since been broken by over 1,400 male athletes, and is now the standard of all male professional middle distance runners in cultures that use Imperial units. In the 64 years since, the mile record has been lowered by almost 17 seconds, and currently stands at 3:43.13. Running a mile in four minutes translates to a speed of 15 miles per hour 24.14 km/h, or 2:29.13 minutes per kilometre, or 14.91 seconds per 100 metres. It also equals 22 feet per second.

Breaking the four-minute barrier was first achieved on 6 May 1954 at Oxford University’s Iffley Road Track, by Englishman Roger Bannister, with the help of fellow-runners Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher as pacemakers.

Two months later, during the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games hosted in Vancouver, B.C., two competing runners, Australia’s John Landy and Bannister, ran the distance of one mile in under four minutes. The race’s end is memorialised in a photo, and later a statue, of the two, with Landy looking over his left shoulder, just as Bannister is passing him on the right. Landy thus lost the race. The statue was placed in front of the Pacific National Exhibition entrance plaza.