On this day: February 7

POSTED: 04:01 PM PST Feb 06, 2013    UPDATED: 11:00 PM PST Feb 06, 2014 

The Mississippi River is rocked by earthquakes, Baltimore burns, Chaplin debuts "The Tramp," The Beatles arrive in America, and space shuttle astronauts make the first untethered spacewalk, all on this day.

OTD February 7 - J'accuse
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Public domain

1898: French writer Émile Zola is brought to trial for libel for publishing "J'Accuse" an open letter published on Jan. 13, 1898, in the newspaper L'Aurore. In the letter, Zola addressed French President Félix Faure and accused the government of anti-Semitism and the unlawful jailing of Alfred Dreyfus, a French Army officer sentenced to penal servitude for life for espionage. Zola would be found guilty of libel on Feb. 23 and fled to England to avoid imprisonment. He returned home in June 1899 and accepted a pardon. In 1906, Dreyfus was posthumously exonerated by the French Supreme Court.

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