Today in History

Today in History

Today is Thursday, Dec. 10, the 345th day of 2020. There are 21 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 10, 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. received his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, saying he accepted it “with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind.”

On this date:

In 1861, the Confederacy admitted Kentucky as it recognized a pro-Southern shadow state government that was acting without the authority of the pro-Union government in Frankfort.

In 1869, women were granted the right to vote in the Wyoming Territory.

In 1898, a treaty was signed in Paris officially ending the Spanish-American War.

In 1946, newspaperman Damon Runyon, known for his short stories featuring colorful Broadway denizens, died at a New York hospital at age 66.

In 1950, Ralph J. Bunche was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the first Black American to receive the award.

In 1967, singer Otis Redding, 26, and six others were killed when their plane crashed into Wisconsin’s Lake Monona; trumpeter Ben Cauley, a member of the group the Bar-Kays, was the only survivor.

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev concluded three days of summit talks in Washington. Violinist Jascha Heifetz died in Los Angeles at age 86.

In 1994, Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin received the Nobel Peace Prize, pledging to pursue their mission of healing the anguished Middle East.

In 1996, South African President Nelson Mandela signed the country’s new constitution into law during a ceremony in Sharpeville.

In 2007, suspended NFL star Michael Vick was sentenced by a federal judge in Richmond, Virginia, to 23 months in prison for bankrolling a dogfighting operation and killing dogs that underperformed (Vick served 19 months at Leavenworth). Former Vice President Al Gore accepted the Nobel Peace Prize with a call for humanity to rise up against a looming climate crisis and stop waging war on the environment.

In 2009, President Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize with a humble acknowledgment of his scant accomplishments and a robust defense of the U.S. at war. James Cameron’s 3-D film epic “Avatar” had its world premiere in London.

In 2013, South Africa held a memorial service for Nelson Mandela, during which U.S. President Barack Obama energized tens of thousands of spectators and nearly 100 visiting heads of state with a plea for the world to emulate “the last great liberator of the 20th century.” (The ceremony was marred by the presence of a sign-language interpreter who deaf advocates said was an impostor waving his arms around meaninglessly.) General Motors named product chief Mary Barra its new CEO, making her the first woman to run a U.S. car company.

Ten years ago: The Norwegian Nobel Committee honored Chinese literary critic Liu Xiaobo (lee-OO’ show-BOH’), imprisoned for urging political reform, by presenting his $1.4 million Nobel Peace Prize diploma and medal to an empty chair. A federal jury in Salt Lake City convicted street preacher Brian David Mitchell of kidnapping and raping Elizabeth Smart. (Mitchell was later sentenced to life in prison.)

Five years ago: The Senate Judiciary Committee rebuked Donald Trump by endorsing a nonbinding amendment, 16-4, that said barring individuals from entering the United States based on religion would be un-American (the Republican presidential front-runner had called for blocking Muslims from entering the country in the aftermath of attacks in the United States and abroad.)

One year ago: House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, declaring that he “betrayed the nation” with his actions toward Ukraine and an obstruction of Congress’ investigation; Trump responded with a tweet of “WITCH HUNT!” At an evening rally in Pennsylvania, Trump mocked the impeachment effort and predicted it would lead to his reelection in 2020. House Democrats and the White House announced agreement on a modified North American trade pact to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. A man and a woman burst into a kosher market in Jersey City, N.J., with assault weapons, killing three people in the store after earlier killing a police officer at a nearby cemetery; they then died in an hours-long exchange of gunfire with police. (Authorities said the pair acted out of hatred for Jews and law enforcement.) A Pennsylvania appeals court rejected Bill Cosby’s bid to overturn his sexual assault conviction.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Tommy Kirk is 79. Actor Fionnula Flanagan is 79. Pop singer Chad Stuart (Chad and Jeremy) is 79. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ralph Tavares is 79. Actor-singer Gloria Loring is 74. Pop-funk musician Walter “Clyde” Orange (The Commodores) is 74. Country singer Johnny Rodriguez is 69. Actor Susan Dey is 68. Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is 64. Jazz musician Paul Hardcastle is 63. Actor John York (TV: “General Hospital”) is 62. Actor-director Kenneth Branagh (BRAH’-nah) is 60. Actor Nia Peeples is 59. TV chef Bobby Flay is 56. Rock singer-musician J Mascis is 55. Rock musician Scot Alexander (Dishwalla) is 49. Actor-comedian Arden Myrin is 47. Rock musician Meg White (The White Stripes) is 46. Actor Emmanuelle Chriqui is 45. Rapper Kuniva (D12) is 45. Actor Gavin Houston is 43. Actor Alano Miller is 41. Violinist Sarah Chang is 40. Actor Patrick John Flueger is 37. Country singer Meghan Linsey is 35. Actor Raven-Symone is 35. Actor/singer Teyana Taylor is 30. Actor Kiki Layne is 29.

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