1893 — Daniel Hale Williams performs the second successful pericardium surgery

Daniel Hale Williams was one of the first afro-american men to achieve prominence as a surgeon. He served as the surgeon-in-chief of Freedman’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. from 1896 to 1898, and also established a teaching college for nurses at the hospital. Other notable achievements include being a charter member of the American College of Surgeons (and the first ever black member) and founding the first non-segregated hospital in America.

But he is best known for performing one of the earliest successful heart surgeries, a pericardium repair on a stabbing victim named James Cornish. Cornish convalesced for 55 days after the operation, but made a full recovery. Cardiac surgery would develop little for another 50 years, until World War Two prompted surgeons to investigate it more closely, and the pioneering work of Williams and others was belatedly recognized.

Referenced in:

Black Man — Stevie Wonder

1893 – Lizzie Borden is acquitted of murder charges

Lizzie Andrew Borden was never convicted of the murder by hatchet of her father and stepmother on August 4, 1892. And neither was anyone else. In fact, no one else was ever tried, or even arrested. But Borden herself was acquitted by a jury of her peers, largely due to a lack of evidence in the prosecution’s case.

Did she do it? We’ll never know. Certainly, Borden did not like her stepmother and was known to be disputing the terms of her father’s will with him at the time of his death. And she is known to have attempted to buy a poison (she claimed it was for cleaning a fur coat) shortly before the murders. And that jury of her peers? They too came from the town of Fall River, Massachusetts – where Andrew Borden was not popular.

On the other hand, the prosecution’s case was largely circumstantial, and the jury was perfectly within its rights to acquit.

So no, we don’t know, but even today, they say she done all of them in. They say she done it with an axe.

Referenced in:

Lizzie Borden — Chad Mitchell Trio
She Took An Axe — Flotsam & Jetsam
Oh, Mother Borden — The Dubious Brothers