Glen Godwin, a young business owner, is convicted of murder in Riverside County, California, and sentenced to 26-years-to-life in prison. According to his roommate’s testimony, Godwin stomped on, choked, and then stabbed Kim LeValley, an acquaintance and local drug dealer, 28 times before using homemade explosives to blow up his body in the desert near Palm Springs. Godwin, who had no previous record, eventually found his way onto the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List.
In 1985, while serving his sentence at Soledad Prison, Godwin married Shelley Rose. He was then transferred to Folsom Prison, a maximum-security facility, where he escaped through a 300-yard storm drain and floated across the American River on a raft to freedom in June 1987. Apparently gaining assistance from someone who cut the iron bars on the storm drain from the outside, Godwin was the third person to escape from Folsom in 25 years. Lorenz Karlic, who had once shared a cell with Godwin, was arrested in Hesperia, California, for aiding Godwin in his escape.
After two years without any leads on either Glen or Shelley, who was last seen renting a car at the San Jose Airport, authorities were notified of a man in a Mexican prison under the name of Stewart Carrera, whose fingerprints matched those of Godwin’s. Reportedly, Mexican authorities had arrested Glen on drugs and weapons charges six months after his escape.
While California officials were working to have Godwin extradited back to the United States, he murdered a fellow inmate in Puerto Vallarta Prison—an attempt to avoid returning to the high security prisons in California. Shortly thereafter, he escaped from the Mexican jail.
In December 1996, Godwin appeared on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. Shelley Godwin, who, unbeknownst to California law enforcement officials, had divorced her husband and remarried in Texas, was apprehended in Dallas when a story on the Godwin case appeared on television’s America’s Most Wanted, but Glen Godwin remains at large.
He was removed from the Most Wanted List in May 2016.
On June 30, 1989, the writer-director Spike Lee’s celebrated third feature film, Do the Right Thing—a provocative drama that takes place on one block in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, on the hottest day of the year—is released in U.S. theaters.
The block in question is home to Sal’s Famous Pizzeria, the only white-owned business in the neighborhood. Mookie (played by Lee) delivers pizza for Sal (Danny Aiello); he is friendly with Sal’s younger son, Vito (Richard Edson), a fact that angers Vito’s brother, Pino (John Turturro), who resents the Black majority in the neighborhood. As various characters talk and circulate around Sal’s and the nearby Korean-owned convenience store, tensions build to the breaking point, and violence breaks out, with tragic consequences. Among Do the Right Thing’s memorable supporting characters are the neighborhood staples Da Mayor and Mother-Sister (real-life couple Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee); Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn), who continually blasts Public Enemy’s rap song “Fight the Power” from his massive boom box; Mookie’s sister (Joie Lee, Spike’s own sister); his Puerto Rican girlfriend Tina (Rosie Perez, making her feature film debut); and the smooth-talking radio disc jockey Mister Señor Love Daddy (Samuel L. Jackson).
Upon its release, Do the Right Thing caused a sensation for its incendiary portrayal of race relations, including specific allusions to some notorious recent events in New York. Some critics, including David Denby (then of New York magazine) speculated that the film would incite Black audiences to anger and violence. In an interview with New York magazine in April 2008, Lee recalled of the controversy: “One of the big criticisms was that I had not provided an answer for racism in the movie, which is insane. And what’s even more insane is people like Joe Klein [who also wrote about the film for New York] and David Denby felt that this film was going to cause riots. Young Black males were going to emulate Mookie and throw garbage cans through windows. Like, ‘How dare you release this film in summertime: You know how they get in the summertime, this is like playing with fire.’ I hold no grudges against them. But that was 20 years ago and it speaks for itself.”
Nominated for two Oscars—Best Supporting Actor for Aiello and Best Original Screenplay for Lee—Do the Right Thing was later called “culturally significant” by the U.S. Library of Congress and stands to this day as one of Hollywood’s most notable portrayals of modern-day racial tensions.
Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, one of the best-selling novels of all time and the basis for a blockbuster 1939 movie, is published on June 30, 1936.
In 1926, Mitchell was forced to quit her job as a reporter at the Atlanta Journal to recover from a series of physical injuries. With too much time on her hands, Mitchell soon grew restless. Working on a Remington typewriter, a gift from her second husband, John R. Marsh, in their cramped one-bedroom apartment, Mitchell began telling the story of an Atlanta belle named Pansy O’Hara.
In tracing Pansy’s life from the antebellum South through the Civil War and into the Reconstruction era, Mitchell drew on the tales she had heard from her parents and other relatives, as well as from Confederate war veterans she had met as a young girl. The story presents a romanticized view of the Old South and does not engage with the horrors of slavery. While she was extremely secretive about her work, Mitchell eventually gave the manuscript to Harold Latham, an editor from New York’s MacMillan Publishing. Latham encouraged Mitchell to complete the novel, with one important change: the heroine’s name. Mitchell agreed to change it to Scarlett.
Published in 1936, Gone With the Wind caused a sensation in Atlanta and went on to sell millions of copies in the United States and throughout the world. The book drew criticism for its whitewashed depictions of slavery. Mitchell nonetheless won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937, and by that time a movie project was already in the works. The film was produced by Hollywood giant David O. Selznick, who paid Mitchell a record-high $50,000 for the film rights to her book.
After testing hundreds of unknowns and big-name stars to play Scarlett, Selznick hired British actress Vivien Leigh days after filming began.
Though she didn’t take part in the film adaptation of her book, Mitchell did attend its premiere in December 1939 in Atlanta. She died just 10 years later, after she was struck by a speeding car while crossing Atlanta’s Peachtree Street.
In Germany, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler orders a bloody purge of his own political party, assassinating hundreds of Nazis whom he believed had the potential to become political enemies in the future. The leadership of the Nazi Storm Troopers (SA), whose four million members had helped bring Hitler to power in the early 1930s, was especially targeted. Hitler feared that some of his followers had taken his early “National Socialism” propaganda too seriously and thus might compromise his plan to suppress workers’ rights in exchange for German industry making the country war-ready.
In the early 1920s, the ranks of Hitler’s Nazi Party swelled with resentful Germans who sympathized with the party’s bitter hatred of Germany’s democratic government, leftist politics, and Jews. In November 1923, after the German government resumed the payment of war reparations to Britain and France, the Nazis launched the “Beer Hall Putsch“—their first attempt at seizing the German government by force. Hitler hoped that his nationalist revolution in Bavaria would spread to the dissatisfied German army, which in turn would bring down the government in Berlin. However, the uprising was immediately suppressed, and Hitler was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison for high treason.
Sent to Landsberg jail, he spent his time dictating his autobiography, Mein Kampf, and working on his oratorical skills. After nine months in prison, political pressure from supporters of the Nazi Party forced his release. During the next few years, Hitler and the other leading Nazis reorganized their party as a fanatical mass movement. In 1932, President Paul von Hindenburg defeated a presidential bid by Hitler, but in January 1933 he appointed Hitler chancellor, hoping that the powerful Nazi leader could be brought to heel as a member of the president’s cabinet.
However, Hindenburg underestimated Hitler’s political audacity, and one of the new chancellor’s first acts was to use the burning of the Reichstag building as a pretext for calling general elections. The police, under Nazi Hermann Goering, suppressed much of the party’s opposition before the election. The Nazi Party joined forces with the German National People’s Party (DNVP), to gain a bare working majority in the Reichstag. Shortly after, Hitler took on absolute power through the Enabling Acts. In 1934, Hindenburg died, and the last remnants of Germany’s democratic government were dismantled, leaving Hitler the sole master of a nation intent on war and genocide.
The three Soviet cosmonauts who served as the first crew of the world’s first space station die when their spacecraft depressurizes during reentry.
On June 6, the cosmonauts Georgi Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov and Viktor Patsayev were launched into space aboard Soyuz 11 on a mission to dock and enter Salyut 1, the Soviet space station that had been placed in orbit in April. The spacecraft successfully docked with the station, and the cosmonauts spent 23 days orbiting the earth. On June 30, they left Salyut 1 and began reentry procedures. When they fired the explosive bolts to separate the Soyuz 11 reentry capsule from another stage of the spacecraft, a critical valve was jerked open.
One hundred miles above the earth, the capsule was suddenly exposed to the nearly pressureless environment of space. As the capsule rapidly depressurized, Patsayev tried to close the valve by hand but failed. Minutes later, the cosmonauts were dead. As a result of the tragedy, the Soviet Union did not send any future crews to Salyut 1, and it was more than two years before they attempted another manned mission.