15 of the Most Powerful and Rare Photos in U.S. History

April 1906 – San Francisco Earthquake

This rare photo from 1906 shows the terrifying remains after the earthquake that destroyed San Francisco. The event caused 3,000 deaths and destroyed 80% of the city.

1870 — Bison Skulls Used as Fertilizer

In the 19th century, American bison were hunted to near extinction. Entrepreneurs and hunters killed the animals for their prized skins and left their bodies behind to decay. In this picture, a poacher is seen standing on a pile of around 100,000 bison skulls.

May 6, 1937 — Hindenburg Disaster

In this 1937 photo, the passenger-carrying airship Hindenburg is seen at the moment of exploding midair in Lakehurst, New Jersey. The disaster claimed the lives of 36 and marked the end of the era of passenger-carrying airships.

June 6, 1944 — Allies Invade Normandy

Taken on the morning of June 6, 1944, a military vehicle called an LCVP disembarks troops of Company E, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division (the Big Red One) onto Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. This very moment right here marked the end of World War II – all thanks to these soldiers.

Feb. 23, 1945 — Raising the American Flag on Iwo Jima

Taken on the island of Iwo Jima, Japan, U.S. Marines and a United States Navy hospital corpsman, raise a U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi. These men fought alongside more than 70,000 Marines, sailors during the closing months of World War II.

1957 — Little Rock Nine

In this 1957 picture, Elizabeth Eckford of what became known as “The Little Rock Nine” is seen being followed and threatened by an angry white mob on her way to class. She was one of the first African-American students to ever attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Nov. 22, 1963 — Assassination of President John F. Kennedy

President John F. Kennedy slumps down in the backseat of his presidential limousine in Dallas after being fatally shot by a sniper. First lady Jacqueline Kennedy leans over the president as Secret Service agent Clint Hill pushes her back to her seat.

May 25, 1965 — Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston

Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali stands over fallen challenger Sonny Liston, shortly after dropping Liston with a short hard right to the jaw. The bout lasted only one minute into the first round.

Oct. 26, 1967 — “Flower Power”

Antiwar demonstrators tried “flower power” on MPs blocking the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, on Oct. 26, 1967.

Dec. 24, 1968 — “Earthrise”

Taken by Apollo 8 crew member Bill Anders while in orbit around the moon, this picture shows Earth rising above the lunar horizon.

Fall 1992 — Bill Clinton runs for president

Hillary Rodham Clinton sits on the lap of her husband, then Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton, as she jokes with vice presidential candidate Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, during a brief rest on their bus in Durham, North Carolina.

Sept. 11, 2001 — President Bush is Notified of the Terror Attacks

President Bush’s Chief of Staff Andy Card whispers into the ear of the president to give him word of the plane crashes into the World Trade Center, during a visit to the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida.

Sept. 11, 2001 — “Dust Lady”

Marcy Borders is seen covered entirely in yellow dust as she takes refuge in an office building after one of the World Trade Center towers collapsed in New York. Borders was caught outside on the street as the cloud of smoke and dust enveloped the area.

Sept. 4, 2005 — Hurricane Katrina

A man clings to the top of a vehicle before being rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard from the flooded streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

May 1, 2011 — Situation Room

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team in one of the conference rooms of the White House Situation Room, receive an update on Operation Neptune’s Spear, a mission to kill terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.

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