1948 in the United States
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Events from the year 1948 in the United States.
- President: Harry S. Truman (D–Missouri)
- Vice President: vacant
- Chief Justice: Fred M. Vinson (Kentucky)
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: Joseph William Martin, Jr. (R–Massachusetts)
- Senate Majority Leader: Wallace H. White, Jr. (R–Maine)
- Congress: 80th
- January 17th – The latest New Jersey State Constitution goes into effect.
- January 29 – Plane crash at Los Gatos Creek, California kills 4 US citizens and 28 deportees, commemorated in a song by Woody Guthrie.
- February 1 – The Soviet Union begins to jam Voice of America broadcasts.
- February 21 – The stock car racing organization NASCAR is founded by Bill France Sr. with other drivers meeting at the Streamline Hotel, Daytona Beach, Florida.
- March 8 – McCollum v. Board of Education: The United States Supreme Court rules that religious instruction in public schools violates the U.S. Constitution.
- March 17 – The Hells Angels motorcycle gang is founded in California.
- March 20 – Renowned Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini makes his television debut, conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra in an all-Wagner program.
- April 3:
- President Harry Truman signs the Marshall Plan, which authorizes $15 billion in aid for 16 countries.
- Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is played on television in its entirety for the first time, in a concert featuring Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra. The chorus is conducted by Robert Shaw.
- April 22 – WTVR begins television services. WTVR is the first TV station south of Washington D.C., giving it the nickname "The South's First Television station".
- April 30 – 21 American countries sign the Charter of the Organization of American States establishing the Organization of American States (in effect December 1, 1951).
- May 14 – The United States recognizes Israel as a country.
- May 19 – Mundt–Nixon Bill of 1948 passes the House (but soon after fails to reach a Senate vote. In 1950, the Mundt–Ferguson Communist Registration Bill also fails to pass both chambers–but many parts go into the McCarran Internal Security Act, which passed in 1950)
- May 26 – The U.S. Congress passes Public Law 557, which permanently establishes the Civil Air Patrol as the auxiliary of the United States Air Force.
- May 27 – Walt Disney Productions' tenth feature film, Melody Time, is released. It is Disney's fifth of six package films to be released through the 1940s.
- May 30 – A dike along the Columbia River breaks, obliterating Vanport, Oregon within minutes: 15 people die and tens of thousands are left homeless.
- June 3 – The Palomar Observatory telescope is finished in California.
- June 11 – The first monkey astronaut, Albert I, is launched into space from White Sands, New Mexico.
- June 12:
- June 17 – A Douglas DC-6 carrying United Air Lines Flight 624 crashes near Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, killing all 43 people on board.
- June 20 – The U.S. Congress recesses for the remainder of 1948, after an overtime session closes at 7:00 a.m. D.C. time (to be shortly interrupted by Truman's recall from Congressional recess for July 20, 1948).
- June 21-25 – 1948 Republican National Convention (Philadelphia)
- June 24 – The Berlin Blockade begins; in response, the U.S. orders the launch of Operation Vittles, the U.S. action of the Berlin Airlift.
- June 28 – David Lean's Oliver Twist, based on Charles Dickens's famous novel, premieres in the UK. It is banned for 3 years in the U.S. because of alleged anti-Semitism in depicting master criminal Fagin, played by Alec Guinness.
- July 12–14 – 1948 Democratic National Convention (Philadelphia)
- July 17 – Dixiecrat National Convention (Birmingham)
- July 20 – Cold War: President Harry S. Truman issues the second peacetime military draft in the United States, amid increasing tensions with the Soviet Union (the first peacetime draft occurred in 1940 under President Roosevelt).
- July 23–25 – 1948 Progressive National Convention (Philadelphia)
- July 26:
- U.S. President Truman signs Executive Order 9981, ending racial segregation in the United States Armed Forces.
- Turnip Day Session – Truman exhorts 80th United States Congress to pass legislation
- July 31:
- August 1 – The U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations is founded.
- August 3 – In an appearance before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), Whittaker Chambers, a senior editor at Time magazine and a former Communist, accuses Alger Hiss of having been a member of "an underground organization of the United States Communist Party".
- August 25 – The House Un-American Activities Committee holds its first-ever televised congressional hearing, featuring "Confrontation Day" between Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss.
- October 1 – National Guard Bureau made a Bureau of the Depart. of the United States Army and an Agency of the Dept. of the Air Force.
- October 11 – The Cleveland Indians defeat the Boston Braves to win the World Series, 4 games to 2.
- October 16 – The 57th Street Art Fair, the oldest juried art fair in the American Midwest, is founded.
- October 26 – Killer smog settles into Donora, Pennsylvania.
- November 2 – 1948 United States presidential election: Democratic incumbent Harry S. Truman defeats Republican Thomas E. Dewey and 'Dixiecrat' Strom Thurmond.
- December 4 – The 6.3 ML Desert Hot Springs earthquake affected Southern California with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VII (Very strong), causing minor damage and several injuries.
- December 10 – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris.
- December 15 – The United States Department of Justice indicts Alger Hiss on two counts of perjury.
- The Fresh Kills Landfill, the world's largest, opens in Staten Island, New York.
- The first of the Kinsey Reports, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, is published.
- Charles Lazarus starts Children's Supermart, the predecessor of Toys "R" Us, in Washington, D.C. as a baby-furniture retailer.
- January 1 – Joe Petagno, American illustrator
- January 2
- January 5 – Ted Lange, African-American actor, director (The Love Boat)
- January 7 – Kenny Loggins, American rock singer
- January 10
- January 11 – Larry Harvey, American co-founder of Burning Man (d. 2018)
- January 14
- January 15 – Ronnie Van Zant, American rock musician (Lynyrd Skynyrd) (d. 1977)
- January 16 – John Carpenter, American film director, producer, screenwriter and composer
- January 18 – M. C. Gainey, American actor
- January 20 – Jerry L. Ross, United States Air Force Officer, engineer and NASA Astronaut
- January 23
- January 24 – Elliott Abrams, American attorney and conservative policy analyst
- January 31 – Paul Jabara, American actor, singer and songwriter (d. 1992)
- February 1 – Rick James, African-American urban singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer (d. 2004)
- February 2 – Ina Garten, American cooking author
- February 4
- February 5
- February 7 – Jimmy Greenspoon, American singer-songwriter and keyboard player (Three Dog Night) (d. 2015)
- February 8 – Dan Seals, American musician (d. 2009)
- February 9 – Greg Stafford, American game designer, publisher (d. 2018)
- February 11 – Chris Rush, American stand-up comedian
- February 12 – Raymond Kurzweil, American inventor, author
- February 13 – Kitten Natividad, Mexican-American film actress
- February 14
- February 15
- February 20 – Jennifer O'Neill, American model, actress
- February 22
- February 28
- February 29
- March 2 – R. T. Crowley, American pioneer of electronic commerce
- March 4
- March 5 – Leslie Marmon Silko, Native American author
- March 6 – Anna Maria Horsford, African-American actress
- March 9 – Jeffrey Osborne, African-American singer (On the Wings of Love)
- March 11 – Kent Conrad, American politician
- March 12 – James Taylor, American singer, songwriter (Fire and Rain)
- March 14
- March 17 – William Gibson, American/Canadian writer
- March 20 – John de Lancie, American actor
- March 22 – Wolf Blitzer, American television journalist (CNN)
- March 25 – Bonnie Bedelia, American actress
- March 26 – Steven Tyler, American rock singer, songwriter (Aerosmith)
- March 28
- March 29
- March 31
- April 2 – Bob Lienhard, American basketball player (d. 2018)
- April 4
- April 5 – Neil Portnow, American President of The Recording Academy (NARAS)
- April 7 – John Oates, American rock singer, guitarist (Hall & Oates)
- April 12 – Don Fernando, American pornographic film actor, director
- April 15 – Michael Kamen, American composer (d. 2003)
- April 20 – Paul Milgrom, American economist, Nobel Prize laureate
- April 21 – Paul Davis, American singer, songwriter (Cool Night) (d. 2008)
- April 27
- April 28 – Marcia Strassman, American actress, singer (Welcome Back, Kotter) (d. 2014)
- May 2 – Larry Gatlin, American singer, songwriter
- May 3
- May 4 – Tanya Falan, American singer
- May 5
- May 8 – Steve Braun, American baseball player and coach
- May 9
- May 12 – Lindsay Crouse, American actress
- May 17 – Penny DeHaven, American country singer (d. 2014)
- May 18
- May 21 – D'Jamin Bartlett, American musical theatre actress
- May 26 – Stevie Nicks, American singer-songwriter (Fleetwood Mac)
- June 1
- June 2
- June 4 – David Haskell, American actor (d. 2000)
- June 9 – Gary Thorne, American play-by-play announcer
- June 11 – Dave Cash, American baseball player
- June 14 – Laurence Yep, American author
- June 19 – Phylicia Rashad, African-American actress (The Cosby Show)
- June 21 – Greg Hyder, American professional basketball player
- June 22
- June 23
- Larry Coker, American football player, coach
- Jim Heacock, American defensive coordinator
- Luther Kent, American blues singer
- Clarence Thomas, African-American Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
- June 25
- June 27 – Camile Baudoin, American rock guitarist
- June 28 – Kathy Bates, American actress
- June 29 – Fred Grandy, American actor, politician
- June 30 – Raymond Leo Burke, American cardinal, prelate
- July 5
- July 6
- July 7 – Jerry Sherk, American football defensive tackle
- July 10 – Rich Hand, American professional baseball player
- July 12
- July 13 – Daphne Maxwell Reid, African-American actress
- July 14 – Tom Latham, American politician
- July 16 – Jeff Van Wagenen, American professional golfer
- July 17 – Doug Berry, American-Canadian football coach
- July 20 – Muse Watson, American actor
- July 21
- July 22 – Susan Eloise Hinton, American author
- July 25
- July 27 – Peggy Fleming, American figure skater
- July 28
- August 1 – Jim Carroll, American author, poet and musician (d. 2009)
- August 2 – Dennis Prager, American radio talk show host, author
- August 7 – James P. Allison, American immunologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2018
- August 13 – Kathleen Battle, African-American soprano
- August 17 – Edward Lazear, American economist (d. 2020)
- August 19
- August 20 – Barbara Allen Rainey (b. Barbara Ann Allen), American aviator, first female pilot in the U.S. armed forces (d. 1982)
- August 27 – Sgt. Slaughter, American professional wrestler
- August 30
- August 31 – Cyril Jordan, American musician
- September 1 – James Rebhorn, American actor (d. 2014)
- September 2
- September 3 – Don Brewer, American drummer (Grand Funk Railroad)
- September 4 – Michael Berryman, American actor
- September 7 – Susan Blakely, American actress
- September 10
- September 13 – Nell Carter, African-American singer, actress (Gimme a Break!) (d. 2003)
- September 16 – Ron Blair, American bassist (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)
- September 17 – John Ritter, American actor and comedian (d. 2003)
- September 18
- September 20 – George R. R. Martin, American novelist and short-story writer
- September 22 – Jim Byrnes, American voice actor, blues musician and actor
- September 27 – A Martinez, American actor, singer
- September 29
- October 1 – Mark Landon, American actor (d. 2009)
- October 2
- October 4 – Meg Bennett, American soap opera writer
- October 7 – Diane Ackerman, American poet, essayist
- October 8 – Johnny Ramone, American guitarist (Ramones) (d. 2004)
- October 9 – Jackson Browne, American rock musician (Running on Empty)
- October 11
- October 13
- October 14 – David Ruprecht, American actor, writer (Supermarket Sweep)
- October 16 – Leo Mazzone, American baseball coach
- October 17
- October 18 – Ntozake Shange, African-American playwright, poet (d. 2018)
- October 19 – Patrick Simmons, American musician (The Doobie Brothers)
- October 21
- October 22
- October 25
- October 26 – Toby Harrah, American baseball player
- October 28 – Telma Hopkins, African-American actress, singer (Tony Orlando and Dawn)
- October 29 – Kate Jackson, American actress (Charlie's Angels)
- November 1 – Anna Stuart, American actress
- November 5
- November 6 – Glenn Frey, American guitarist, singer (The Eagles) (d. 2016)
- November 7 – Jim Houghton, American actor, director
- November 9 – Kelly Harmon, American actress and model
- November 10 – Vincent Schiavelli, American actor (d. 2005)
- November 12
- November 14
- November 16 – Chi Coltrane, American musician (Thunder and Lightning)
- November 17 – Howard Dean, American politician
- November 20
- November 21 – Alphonse Mouzon, American jazz drummer (d. 2016)
- November 23 – Ron Bouchard, American NASCAR driver (d. 2015)
- November 24 – Joe Howard, American actor
- November 26 – Gayle McCormick, American singer (Smith) (d. 2016)
- December 2 – T. Coraghessan Boyle, American writer
- December 3 – Rick Cua, American singer, evangelist
- December 6
- December 7
- December 9 – Gray H. Miller, Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
- December 11 – Chester Thompson, American rock drummer
- December 12 – David K. Karnes, American politician
- December 13 – Ted Nugent, American musician, singer, songwriter and political activist
- December 16 – Pat Quinn, Lawyer and 41st governor of Illinois
- December 18 – Edmund Kemper, American serial killer
- December 21 – Samuel L. Jackson, American actor and producer
- December 22
- December 23 – Jim Ferguson, American guitarist, composer, educator, author and music journalist
- December 25 – Barbara Mandrell, American country singer, musician, and actress
- December 27 – Ronnie Caldwell, American soul music, rhythm and blues musician (d. 1967)
- December 28 – Mary Weiss, American singer (The Shangri-Las)
- December 31
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- January 30 – Orville Wright, pioneer aviator (born 1871)
- July 4 – Albert Bates, criminal (born 1893)
- July 5
- July 11 – Franz Weidenreich, anatomist (born 1873 in Germany)
- July 23 - D. W. Griffith, film director (born 1875)
- August 16 – Babe Ruth, baseball player (born 1895)
- August 17 – Mariette Rheiner Garner, Second Lady of the United States as wife of John Nance Garner (born 1869)
- August 27 – Charles Evans Hughes, 11th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (born 1862)
- June 9 – Edith Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States and Second Lady of the United States as wife of Theodore Roosevelt (born 1861)
- November 24 – Anna Jarvis, social activist (born 1864)
- "History of NASCAR". NASCAR. 2010-08-17. Archived from the original on 2015-05-30. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
- "On This Day", New York Times, retrieved 24 August 2016
- "Driver Tom Sneva Career Statistics". Racing-Reference.info. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
- "Miller, Gray Hampton - Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
- Media related to 1948 in the United States at Wikimedia Commons