Today in History

Today in History

Today is Thursday, Aug. 20, the 233rd day of 2020. There are 133 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 20, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act, a nearly $1 billion anti-poverty measure.

On this date:

In 1862, the New York Tribune published an open letter by editor Horace Greeley calling on President Abraham Lincoln to take more aggressive measures to free the slaves and end the South’s rebellion.

In 1920, pioneering American radio station 8MK in Detroit (later WWJ) began daily broadcasting.

In 1940, exiled Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky was assassinated in Coyoacan, Mexico by Ramon Mercader, a Spanish Communist agent working at the behest of Josef Stalin. (Trotsky died the next day.)

In 1953, the Soviet Union publicly acknowledged it had tested a hydrogen bomb.

In 1955, hundreds of people were killed in anti-French rioting in Morocco and Algeria.

In 1968, the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations began invading Czechoslovakia to crush the “Prague Spring” liberalization drive.

In 1981, Michael Devine, a member of the Irish National Liberation Army, died after a 60-day hunger strike at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland; he was the tenth and last hunger-striker to die that year.

In 1986, postal employee Patrick Henry Sherrill went on a deadly rampage at a post office in Edmond, Okla., shooting 14 fellow workers to death before killing himself.

In 1989, entertainment executive Jose Menendez and his wife, Kitty, were shot to death in their Beverly Hills mansion by their sons, Lyle and Erik. Fifty-one people died when a pleasure boat sank in the River Thames (tehmz) in London after colliding with a dredger.

In 2005, Northwest Airlines mechanics went on strike rather than accept pay cuts and layoffs; Northwest ended up hiring replacement workers. San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Thomas Herrion, 23, died of a heart attack shortly after a preseason game against the Denver Broncos.

In 2008, a Spanish jetliner crashed during takeoff from Madrid, killing 154 people; 18 survived.

In 2017, actor, comic and longtime telethon host Jerry Lewis died of heart disease in Las Vegas at the age of 91.

Ten years ago: President Barack Obama invited Israel and the Palestinians to meet face-to-face in Washington the following month for talks aimed at achieving an agreement to establish an independent Palestinian state and secure peace for Israel.

Five years ago: With a broad smile and an upbeat attitude, former President Jimmy Carter told a news conference in Atlanta that he had cancer in his brain, and felt “perfectly at ease with whatever comes.” (In March 2016, Carter announced that recent scans had shown no signs of cancer and that he no longer needed to receive doses of an immune-boosting drug.)

One year ago: President Donald Trump abruptly canceled an upcoming trip to Denmark, which owns Greenland, after the Danish prime minister dismissed the idea of the United States purchasing the mostly frozen island.

Today’s Birthdays: Writer-producer-director Walter Bernstein is 101. Boxing promoter Don King is 89. Former Sen. George Mitchell, D-Maine, is 87. Former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is 85. Former MLB All-Star Graig Nettles is 76. Broadcast journalist Connie Chung is 74. Musician Jimmy Pankow (Chicago) is 73. Actor Ray Wise is 73. Actor John Noble is 72. Rock singer Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) is 72. Country singer Rudy Gatlin is 68. Singer-songwriter John Hiatt is 68. Actor-director Peter Horton is 67. TV weatherman Al Roker is 66. Actor Jay Acovone is 65. Actor Joan Allen is 64. Movie director David O. Russell is 62. TV personality Asha Blake is 59. Actor James Marsters is 58. Rapper KRS-One is 55. Actor Colin Cunningham is 54. Actor Billy Gardell is 51. Rock singer Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit) is 50. Actor Jonathan Ke Quan is 50. Rock musician Brad Avery is 49. Actor Misha Collins is 46. Rock singer Monique Powell (Save Ferris) is 45. Jazz/pop singer-pianist Jamie Cullum is 41. Actor Ben Barnes is 39. Actor Meghan Ory is 38. Actor Andrew Garfield is 37. Actor Brant Daugherty is 35. Actor-singer Demi Lovato is 28. Actor Christopher Paul Richards is 17.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Related Categories:

Back in the Day | National News

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up