In 1775, the Continental Congress established a Post Office and appointed Benjamin Franklin its Postmaster-General.
In 1847, the western African country of Liberia, founded by freed American slaves, declared its independence.
In 1863, Sam Houston, former president of the Republic of Texas, died in Huntsville at age 70.
In 1945, the Potsdam Declaration warned Imperial Japan to unconditionally surrender, or face “prompt and utter destruction.” Winston Churchill resigned as Britain’s prime minister after his Conservatives were soundly defeated by the Labour Party; Clement Attlee succeeded him.
In 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act, which reorganized America’s armed forces as the National Military Establishment and created the Central Intelligence Agency.
In 1953, Fidel Castro began his revolt against Fulgencio Batista (fool-HEN’-see-oh bah-TEES’-tah) with an unsuccessful attack on an army barracks in eastern Cuba. (Castro ousted Batista in 1959.)
In 1956, the Italian liner Andrea Doria sank off New England, some 11 hours after colliding with the Swedish liner Stockholm; at least 51 people died, from both vessels.
In 1971, Apollo 15 was launched from Cape Kennedy on America’s fourth successful manned mission to the moon.
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In 2002, the Republican-led House voted, 295-132, to create an enormous Homeland Security Department in the biggest government reorganization in decades.
In 2013, Ariel Castro, the man who’d imprisoned three women in his Cleveland home, subjecting them to a decade of rapes and beatings, pleaded guilty to 937 counts in a deal to avoid the death penalty. (Castro later committed suicide in prison.)
In 2020, a processional with the casket of the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama, where Lewis and other civil rights marchers were beaten 55 years earlier. Authorities declared a riot in Portland, Oregon, after protesters breached a fence surrounding the city’s federal courthouse; thousands had gathered for another night of protests over the killing of George Floyd and the presence of federal agents.
Ten years ago: The White House said President Barack Obama would not push for stricter gun laws, one day after his impassioned remarks about the need to keep assault weapons off the streets. With the Olympics Games as a backdrop, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney held a day of meetings with Britain’s most powerful people; however, Romney rankled his hosts with comments he’d made upon his arrival calling London’s problems with the games’ preparation “disconcerting.”
Five years ago: President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he would not “accept or allow” transgender people to serve in the U.S. military. (After a legal battle, the Defense Department approved a policy requiring most individuals to serve in their birth gender; that policy was reversed by the Biden administration, which allowed transgender people who met military standards to enlist and serve openly in their self-identified gender.) A thrill ride broke apart at the Ohio State Fair, killing an 18-year-old high school student and injuring seven others. Actor June Foray, the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel and hundreds of other cartoon characters, died in a Los Angeles hospital at the age of 99.
One year ago: Caeleb Dressel won his first of five gold medals in swimming at the Tokyo Olympics by leading the United States to victory in the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay. California and New York City announced that they would require all government employees to get the coronavirus vaccine or face weekly COVID-19 testing. A relative reported that the final victim of the condo collapse in Florida had been identified, more than a month after the catastrophe that claimed 98 lives.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Robert Colbert is 91. Actor-singer Darlene Love is 81. Singer Brenton Wood is 81. Rock star Mick Jagger is 79. Movie director Peter Hyams is 79. Actor Helen Mirren is 77. Rock musician Roger Taylor (Queen) is 73. Actor Susan George is 72. Olympic gold medal figure skater Dorothy Hamill is 66. Actor Nana Visitor is 65. Actor Kevin Spacey is 63. Rock singer Gary Cherone is 61. Actor Sandra Bullock is 58. Actor-comedian Danny Woodburn is 58. Rock singer Jim Lindberg (Pennywise) is 57. Actor Jeremy Piven is 57. Rapper-reggae singer Wayne Wonder is 56. Actor Jason Statham (STAY’-thum) is 55. Actor Cress Williams is 52. TV host Chris Harrison is 51. Actor Kate Beckinsale is 49. Actor Gary Owen is 49. Rock musician Dan Konopka (OK Go) is 48. Gospel/Contemporary Christian singer Rebecca St. James is 45. Actor Eve Myles is 44. Actor Juliet Rylance is 43. Actor Monica Raymund is 36. Actor Caitlin Gerard is 34. Actor Francia Raisa is 34. Actor Bianca Santos is 32. Actor-singer Taylor Momsen is 29. Actor Elizabeth Gillies is 29.