Today in History
Today is Saturday, July 18, the 200th day of 2020. There are 166 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On July 18, 2013, Detroit, which was once the very symbol of American industrial might, became the biggest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy, its finances ravaged and its neighborhoods hollowed out by a long, slow decline in population and auto manufacturing.
On this date:
In 1863, during the Civil War, Union troops spearheaded by the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, made up of Black soldiers, charged Confederate-held Fort Wagner on Morris Island, S.C. The Confederates were able to repel the Northerners, who suffered heavy losses; the 54th’s commander, Col. Robert Gould Shaw, was among those who were killed.
In 1872, Britain enacted voting by secret ballot.
In 1913, comedian Red Skelton was born in Vincennes, Ind.
In 1918, South African anti-apartheid leader and president Nelson Mandela was born in the village of Mvezo.
In 1940, the Democratic National Convention at Chicago Stadium nominated President Franklin D. Roosevelt (who was monitoring the proceedings at the White House) for an unprecedented third term in office; earlier in the day, Eleanor Roosevelt spoke to the convention, becoming the first presidential spouse to address such a gathering.
In 1944, Hideki Tojo was removed as Japanese premier and war minister because of setbacks suffered by his country in World War II. American forces in France captured the Normandy town of St. Lo.
In 1964, nearly a week of rioting erupted in New York’s Harlem neighborhood following the fatal police shooting of a Black teenager, James Powell, two days earlier.
In 1969, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., left a party on Chappaquiddick (chap-uh-KWIH’-dihk) Island near Martha’s Vineyard with Mary Jo Kopechne (koh-PEHK’-nee), 28; some time later, Kennedy’s car went off a bridge into the water. Kennedy was able to escape, but Kopechne drowned.
In 1984, gunman James Huberty opened fire at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro (ee-SEE’-droh), California, killing 21 people before being shot dead by police. Walter F. Mondale won the Democratic presidential nomination in San Francisco.
In 1986, the world got its first look at the wreckage of the RMS Titanic resting on the ocean floor as videotape of the British luxury liner, which sank in 1912, was released by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
In 1994, a bomb hidden in a van destroyed a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 85. Tutsi rebels declared an end to Rwanda’s 14-week-old civil war.
In 2018, FBI Director Christopher Wray said Russia was continuing to use fake news, propaganda and covert operations to sow discord in the United States. European regulators fined Google a record $5 billion for forcing cellphone makers that use the company’s Android operating system to install Google’s search and browser apps.
Ten years ago: Pakistan and Afghanistan sealed a landmark trade deal in the presence of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who pushed the two neighbors to step up civilian cooperation and work together against al-Qaida and the Taliban. A suicide bomber struck anti-al-Qaida Sunni fighters waiting for paychecks southwest of Baghdad, killing 45. Gunmen fired indiscriminately into a crowd of mainly young people in a rented hall in Torreon, Mexico, killing 17 people. Louis Oosthuizen (WUHST’-hy-zen) of South Africa shot a 1-under 71 for a seven-stroke victory at 16-under 272 in the British Open.
Five years ago: Saudi Arabia announced it had broken up planned Islamic State attacks in the kingdom and arrested more than 400 suspects in an anti-terrorism sweep, a day after a powerful blast in neighboring Iraq killed more than 100 people in one of the country’s deadliest single attacks since U.S. troops pulled out in 2011. Actor Alex Rocco, 79, died in Los Angeles.
One year ago: A man stormed into an animation studio in the Japanese city of Kyoto, setting it on fire and leaving 34 people dead. President Donald Trump announced that he would nominate Eugene Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to be his new labor secretary. (Scalia was confirmed in September.) Trump said a U.S. warship had destroyed an Iranian drone on the Stait of Hormuz after it threatened the ship, the latest escalation of tensions between the countries less than a month after Iran downed an American drone. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said temperatures in June, worldwide, were the hottest on record for that month.
Today’s Birthdays: Skating champion and commentator Dick Button is 91. Olympic gold medal figure skater Tenley Albright is 85. Movie director Paul Verhoeven is 82. Musician Brian Auger is 81. Singer Dion DiMucci is 81. Actor James Brolin is 80. Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Torre is 80. Singer Martha Reeves is 79. Pop-rock musician Wally Bryson (The Raspberries) is 71. Country-rock singer Craig Fuller (Pure Prairie League) is 71. Business mogul Richard Branson is 70. Actress Margo Martindale is 69. Singer Ricky Skaggs is 66. Actress Audrey Landers is 64. World Golf Hall of Famer Nick Faldo is 63. Rock musician Nigel Twist (The Alarm) is 63. Actress Anne-Marie Johnson is 60. Actress Elizabeth McGovern is 59. Rock musician John Hermann (Widespread Panic) is 58. Rock musician Jack Irons is 58. Talk show host-actress Wendy Williams is 56. Actor Vin Diesel is 53. Actor Grant Bowler is 52. Retired NBA All-Star Penny Hardaway is 49. Bluegrass musician Jesse Brock (The Gibson Brothers) is 48. Alt-country singer Elizabeth Cook is 48. Actor Eddie Matos is 48. Dance music singer-songwriter M.I.A. is 45. Rock musician Daron Malakian (System of a Down; Scars on Broadway) is 45. Actress Elsa Pataky (“The Fast and the Furious” films) is 44. Rock musician Tony Fagenson (formerly with Eve 6) is 42. Movie director Jared Hess is 41. Actor Jason Weaver is 41. Actress Kristen Bell is 40. Actor Michiel Huisman (MIHK’-heel HOWS’-man) is 39. Rock singer Ryan Cabrera is 38. Actress Priyanka Chopra is 38. Christian-rock musician Aaron Gillespie (Underoath) is 37. Actor Chace Crawford is 35. Actor James Norton is 35. Musician Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers) is 34. Actor Travis Milne is 34. Bluegrass musician Joe Dean Jr. (formerly with Dailey & Vincent) is 31.