Today in History
Today is Monday, June 7, the 158th day of 2021. There are 207 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On June 7, 1942, the Battle of Midway ended in a decisive victory for American naval forces over Imperial Japan, marking a turning point in the Pacific War.
On this date:
In 1712, Pennsylvania’s colonial assembly voted to ban the further importation of slaves.
In 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia offered a resolution to the Continental Congress stating “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.”
In 1892, Homer Plessy, a “Creole of color,” was arrested for refusing to leave a whites-only car of the East Louisiana Railroad. (Ruling on his case, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld “separate but equal” racial segregation, a concept it renounced in 1954.)
In 1929, the sovereign state of Vatican City came into existence as copies of the Lateran Treaty were exchanged in Rome.
In 1937, film star Jean Harlow died in Los Angeles at age 26.
In 1954, British mathematician, computer pioneer and code breaker Alan Turing died at age 41, an apparent suicide. (Turing, convicted in 1952 of “gross indecency” for a homosexual relationship, was pardoned in 2013.
In 1958, singer-songwriter Prince was born Prince Rogers Nelson in Minneapolis.
In 1965, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Griswold v. Connecticut, struck down, 7-2, a Connecticut law used to prosecute a Planned Parenthood clinic in New Haven for providing contraceptives to married couples.
In 1981, Israeli military planes destroyed a nuclear power plant in Iraq, a facility the Israelis charged could have been used to make nuclear weapons.
In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that religious groups could sometimes meet on school property after hours. Ground was broken for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
In 1998, in a crime that shocked the nation, James Byrd Jr., a 49-year-old Black man, was hooked by a chain to a pickup truck and dragged to his death in Jasper, Texas. (Two white men were later sentenced to death; one of them, Lawrence Russell Brewer, was executed in 2011 and the other, John William King, was executed in April, 2019. A third defendant received life with the possibility of parole.)
In 2004, a steady, near-silent stream of people circled through the rotunda of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, where the body of the nation’s 40th president lay in repose before traveling to Washington two days later for a state funeral.
Ten years ago: Moammar Gadhafi stood defiant in the face of the heaviest and most punishing NATO airstrikes to date, declaring in an audio address carried on Libyan state television, “We will not kneel!” Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, the al-Qaida mastermind behind the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, was killed at a security checkpoint in Mogadishu by Somali forces.
Five years ago: Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump claimed their parties’ presidential nominations following contests in New Jersey, California, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota. Five people were killed and four were injured when a pickup struck a large group of bicyclists from behind on a two-lane road in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. (The driver of the pickup, Charles Pickett Jr., who was under the influence of drugs, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison.)
One year ago: A majority of Minneapolis City Council members said they supported dismantling the police department. (The idea later stalled, but it became part of a national debate over police reform.) Peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd continued in New York City, as Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an end to the 8 p.m. curfew that had been in effect. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot lifted the city’s curfew and the city reopened downtown train stations following days of protests that largely remained peaceful. Thousands took to the streets of European cities to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement. A tally by Johns Hopkins University revealed that the worldwide death toll from COVID-19 had surpassed 400,000. Tropical Storm Cristobal came ashore in Louisiana, sending dangerous weather much farther east through coastal Mississippi and Alabama and spawning a tornado in Florida.
Today’s Birthdays: Movie director James Ivory is 93. Actor Virginia McKenna is 90. Singer Tom Jones is 81. Poet Nikki Giovanni is 78. Former talk show host Jenny Jones is 75. Americana singer-songwriter Willie Nile is 73. Actor Anne Twomey is 70. Actor Liam Neeson is 69. Actor Colleen Camp is 68. Author Louise Erdrich (UR’-drihk) is 67. Actor William Forsythe is 66. Record producer L.A. Reid is 65. Latin pop singer Juan Luis Guerra is 64. Former Vice President Mike Pence is 62. Rock singer-musician Gordon Gano (The Violent Femmes) is 58. Rock musician Eric Kretz (Stone Temple Pilots) is 55. Rock musician Dave Navarro is 54. Actor Helen Baxendale is 51. Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., is 49. Actor Karl Urban is 49. TV personality Bear Grylls is 47. Rock musician Eric Johnson (The Shins) is 45. Actor Adrienne Frantz is 43. Actor-comedian Bill Hader is 43. Actor Anna Torv is 42. Actor Larisa Oleynik (oh-LAY’-nihk) is 40. Former tennis player Anna Kournikova is 40. Actor Michael Cera is 33. Actor Shelley Buckner is 32. Rapper Iggy Azalea is 31. Actor-model Emily Ratajkowski is 30. Rapper Fetty Wap is 30.
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