Today in History

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, June 30, the 181st day of 2021. There are 184 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On June 30, 1971, the Supreme Court ruled, 6-3, that the government could not prevent The New York Times or The Washington Post from publishing the Pentagon Papers.

On this date:

In 1865, eight people, including Mary Surratt and Dr. Samuel Mudd, were convicted by a military commission of conspiring with John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. (Four defendants, including Surratt, were executed; Mudd was sentenced to life in prison, but was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson in 1869.)

In 1908, the Tunguska Event took place in Russia as an asteroid exploded above Siberia, leaving 800 square miles of scorched or blown-down trees.

In 1917, singer, actor and activist Lena Horne was born in Brooklyn, New York.

In 1918, labor activist and socialist Eugene V. Debs was arrested in Cleveland, charged under the Espionage Act of 1917 for a speech he’d made two weeks earlier denouncing U.S. involvement in World War I. (Debs was sentenced to prison and disenfranchised for life.)

In 1934, Adolf Hitler launched his “blood purge” of political and military rivals in Germany in what came to be known as “The Night of the Long Knives.”

In 1958, the U.S. Senate passed the Alaska statehood bill by a vote of 64-20.

In 1971, a Soviet space mission ended in tragedy when three cosmonauts aboard Soyuz 11 were found dead of asphyxiation inside their capsule after it had returned to Earth.

In 1982, the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution expired, having failed to receive the required number of ratifications for its adoption, despite having its seven-year deadline extended by three years.

In 1985, 39 American hostages from a hijacked TWA jetliner were freed in Beirut after being held 17 days.

In 1986, the Supreme Court, in Bowers v. Hardwick, ruled 5-4 that states could outlaw homosexual acts between consenting adults (however, the nation’s highest court effectively reversed this decision in 2003 in Lawrence v. Texas).

In 2009, American soldier Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl went missing from his base in eastern Afghanistan, and was later confirmed to have been captured by insurgents. (Bergdahl was released on May 31, 2014 in exchange for five Taliban detainees.)

In 2013, 19 elite firefighters known as members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed battling a wildfire northwest of Phoenix after a change in wind direction pushed the flames back toward their position.

Ten years ago: The U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon issued an indictment naming four suspects in the assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri (rah-FEEK’ hah-REER’-ee), including a high-ranking Hezbollah militant linked to the 1983 truck bombings at the U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait. Conservative TV commentator Glenn Beck said goodbye to Fox News Channel, airing his final show before going into business for himself.

Five years ago: Saying it was the right thing to do, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that transgender people would be allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military, ending one of the last bans on service in the armed forces. President Barack Obama signed a rescue package for financially strapped Puerto Rico, which was facing more than $70 billion in debt and a major payment due the next day. Rodrigo Duterte (doo-TEHR’-tay) was sworn as president of the Philippines.

One year ago: An international disaster relief organization reported the first confirmed case of COVID-19 among migrants in a tent encampment of asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border. Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, bluntly called on President Donald Trump to start wearing a mask, at least some of the time, to set a good example. Trump came under growing pressure to respond to allegations that Russia had offered bounties for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan; the White House said the allegations hadn’t been confirmed. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a landmark bill retiring the last state flag bearing the Confederate battle emblem. Boston’s arts commission voted unanimously to remove a statue depicting a freed slave kneeling at Abraham Lincoln’s feet. Baseball’s minor leagues canceled their season because of the pandemic; more than half of the 160 teams were said to be in danger of failing.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Lea Massari is 88. Actor Nancy Dussault (doo-SOH’) is 85. Songwriter Tony Hatch is 82. Singer Glenn Shorrock is 77. Actor Leonard Whiting is 71. Jazz musician Stanley Clarke is 70. Actor David Garrison is 69. Rock musician Hal Lindes (Dire Straits) is 68. Actor-comedian David Alan Grier is 65. Actor Vincent D’Onofrio is 62. Actor Deirdre Lovejoy is 59. Actor Rupert Graves is 58. Former boxer Mike Tyson is 55. Actor Peter Outerbridge is 55. Rock musician Tom Drummond (Better Than Ezra) is 52. Actor-comedian Tony Rock (TV: “Living Biblically”) is 52. Actor Brian Bloom is 51. Actor Monica Potter is 50. Actor Molly Parker is 49. Actor Rick Gonzalez is 42. Actor Tom Burke is 40. Actor Lizzy Caplan is 39. Actor Susannah Flood is 39. Rock musician James Adam Shelley (American Authors) is 38. Country singer Cole Swindell is 38. R&B singer Fantasia is 37. Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps is 36. Actor Sean Marquette (TV: “The Goldbergs”) is 33.

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