Today in History: Feb. 2

Punxsutawney Phil, Ron Ploucha
In 1887, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, held its first Groundhog Day festival. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) (AP)
FILE -- In this 1925 file photo, Gunnar Kaasen poses with his original dog team which he drove through a blinding blizzard to deliver life-saving serum Nome, Alaska. Kaasen's lead dog Balto is shown in top row, second from left. In January 1925, sled dog relay teams delivered the serum after a deadly outbreak of diphtheria in the old gold rush town of Nome on the state's wind-pummeled western coast. The 5 ½-day run is detailed in "Icebound," a documentary by New York filmmaker Daniel Anker. The 95-minute film, narrated by actor Patrick Stewart, is opening the Anchorage International Film Festival on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. (AP Photo, File)
In 1925, the legendary Alaska Serum Run ended as the last of a series of dog mushers brought a life-saving treatment to Nome, the scene of a diphtheria epidemic, six days after the drug left Nenana. In this 1925 file photo, Gunnar Kaasen poses with his original dog team which he drove through a blinding blizzard to deliver life-saving serum Nome, Alaska. Kaasen’s lead dog Balto is shown in top row, second from left. (AP Photo, File) (AP)
Major General Idi Amin, the new military leader of Uganda gives his first press conference in Kampala, January 26, 1971.       Amin led a successful military coup ousting former President Milton Obote. (AP Photo / Brian Calvert).
In 1971, Idi Amin, having seized power in Uganda, proclaimed himself president. Here, Amin gives his first press conference in Kampala, January 26, 1971.  (AP Photo / Brian Calvert). (AP/Brian Calvert)
South African State President F W de Klerk, left,  and Deputy President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela, right,  at a photocall on Wednesday, May 2, 1990 in Cape Town, South Africa, prior to meeting for talks which will last till Friday. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)
In 1990, in a dramatic concession to South Africa’s black majority, President F.W. de Klerk lifted a ban on the African National Congress and promised to free Nelson Mandela. Here, de Klerk, left, and Mandela, right, are seen at a photocall on Wednesday, May 2, 1990 in Cape Town, South Africa. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/Denis Farrell)
South African State President F.W. de Klerk, announces the unconditional release of jailed ANC leader Nelson Mandela, the unbanning of the ANC, PAC and South African Communist party and the lifting of the state of emergency during parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, Feb. 2, 1990. (AP Photo/Dana Le Roux-Argus)
South African State President F.W. de Klerk, announces the unconditional release of jailed ANC leader Nelson Mandela, the unbanning of the ANC, PAC and South African Communist party and the lifting of the state of emergency during parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, Feb. 2, 1990. (AP Photo/Dana Le Roux-Argus) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/Dana Le Roux-Argus)
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46, was found dead in his New York apartment from a combination of heroin, cocaine and other drugs. FILE – In this Jan. 19, 2014 file photo, Philip Seymour Hoffman poses for a portrait during the Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Utah. After Hoffman’s death from an overdose in on Feb. 2, 2014, his will asked that his offspring grow up in Manhattan, Chicago or San Francisco, to be exposed to their arts and architecture. (AP Photo/Victoria Will/Invision/AP, File) (VICTORIA WILL/INVISION/AP)
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Punxsutawney Phil, Ron Ploucha
FILE -- In this 1925 file photo, Gunnar Kaasen poses with his original dog team which he drove through a blinding blizzard to deliver life-saving serum Nome, Alaska. Kaasen's lead dog Balto is shown in top row, second from left. In January 1925, sled dog relay teams delivered the serum after a deadly outbreak of diphtheria in the old gold rush town of Nome on the state's wind-pummeled western coast. The 5 ½-day run is detailed in "Icebound," a documentary by New York filmmaker Daniel Anker. The 95-minute film, narrated by actor Patrick Stewart, is opening the Anchorage International Film Festival on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. (AP Photo, File)
Major General Idi Amin, the new military leader of Uganda gives his first press conference in Kampala, January 26, 1971.       Amin led a successful military coup ousting former President Milton Obote. (AP Photo / Brian Calvert).
South African State President F W de Klerk, left,  and Deputy President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela, right,  at a photocall on Wednesday, May 2, 1990 in Cape Town, South Africa, prior to meeting for talks which will last till Friday. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)
South African State President F.W. de Klerk, announces the unconditional release of jailed ANC leader Nelson Mandela, the unbanning of the ANC, PAC and South African Communist party and the lifting of the state of emergency during parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, Feb. 2, 1990. (AP Photo/Dana Le Roux-Argus)
Philip Seymour Hoffman

Today is Saturday, Feb. 2, the 33rd day of 2019.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 2, 1990, in a dramatic concession to South Africa’s black majority, President F.W. de Klerk lifted a ban on the African National Congress and promised to free Nelson Mandela.

On this date:

In 1653, New Amsterdam — now New York City — was incorporated.

In 1887, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, held its first Groundhog Day festival.

In 1914, Charles Chaplin made his movie debut as the comedy short “Making a Living” was released by Keystone Film Co. The musical “Shameen Dhu,” featuring the song “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral,” opened on Broadway.

In 1925, the legendary Alaska Serum Run ended as the last of a series of dog mushers brought a life-saving treatment to Nome, the scene of a diphtheria epidemic, six days after the drug left Nenana.

In 1932, Duke Ellington and His Orchestra recorded “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” for Brunswick Records.

In 1942, a Los Angeles Times column by W.H. Anderson urged security measures against Japanese-Americans, arguing that a Japanese-American “almost inevitably — grows up to be a Japanese, not an American.”

In 1943, the remainder of Nazi forces from the Battle of Stalingrad surrendered in a major victory for the Soviets in World War II.

In 1948, President Harry S. Truman sent a 10-point civil rights program to Congress, where the proposals ran into fierce opposition from southern lawmakers.

In 1964, Ranger 6, a lunar probe launched by NASA, crashed onto the surface of the moon as planned, but failed to send back any TV images.

In 1971, Idi Amin, having seized power in Uganda, proclaimed himself president.

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan pressed his case for additional aid to the Nicaraguan Contras a day ahead of a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives. (The three major broadcast TV networks declined to carry the speech, which was covered by CNN; a divided House voted to reject Reagan’s request for $36.2 million in new aid.)

In 2002, inside the World Economic Forum in New York, foreign economic leaders criticized the United States for protectionist policies while outside, thousands of protesters demonstrated against global capitalism.

Ten years ago: Hillary Rodham Clinton was sworn in as U.S. secretary of state. The Senate confirmed Eric Holder, 75-21, to be attorney general. President Barack Obama’s choice for health secretary, Tom Daschle, apologized for failing to pay more than $120,000 in taxes. (Daschle ended up withdrawing his nomination.) Gunmen abducted American U.N. worker John Solecki in Quetta, Pakistan, killing his driver. (Solecki was released unharmed two months later.) Moammar Gadhafi of Libya was elected leader of the African Union. Iran sent its first domestically made satellite, Omid (”hope”), into orbit.

Five years ago: Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46, was found dead in his New York apartment from a combination of heroin, cocaine and other drugs. The Seattle Seahawks won their first Super Bowl title, crushing the favored Denver Broncos 43-8.

One year ago: At the sentencing hearing in Michigan for former sports doctor Larry Nassar, a distraught father of three girls who’d been sexually abused tried to attack Nassar before being tackled by sheriff’s deputies and hauled out of court. (Randall Margraves later apologized; the judge said there was “no way” she would fine him or send him to jail for trying to attack Nassar.) The Dow industrials fell more than 650 points as the stock market completed its worst week in two years amid fears of inflation and disappointing quarterly results from technology and energy giants.

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