Today in History


Today is Wednesday, Feb. 1, the 32nd day of 2023. There are 333 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

In Feb. 1, 2003, the space shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry, killing all seven of its crew members: commander Rick Husband; pilot William McCool; payload commander Michael Anderson; mission specialists Kalpana Chawla, David Brown and Laurel Clark; and payload specialist Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli in space.

On this date:

In 1790, the U.S. Supreme Court convened for the first time in New York. (However, since only three of the six justices were present, the court recessed until the next day.)

In 1862, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” a poem by Julia Ward Howe, was published in the Atlantic Monthly.

In 1865, abolitionist John S. Rock became the first Black lawyer admitted to the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1943, during World War II, one of America’s most highly decorated military units, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, made up almost exclusively of Japanese-Americans, was authorized.

In 1959, men in Switzerland rejected giving women the right to vote by a more than 2-1 referendum margin. (Swiss women gained the right to vote in 1971.)

In 1960, four Black college students began a sit-in protest at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, where they’d been refused service.

In 1979, Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (hoh-MAY’-nee) received a tumultuous welcome in Tehran as he ended nearly 15 years of exile.

In 1991, 34 people were killed when an arriving USAir jetliner crashed atop a commuter plane on a runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

In 1994, Jeff Gillooly, Tonya Harding’s ex-husband, pleaded guilty in Portland, Oregon, to racketeering for his part in the attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan in exchange for a 24-month sentence (he ended up serving six months) and a $100,000 fine.

In 2011, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced he would not run for a new term in September elections but rejected protesters’ demands he step down immediately and leave the country, after a dramatic day in which a quarter-million Egyptians staged their biggest protest to date calling on him to go.

In 2016, the World Health Organization declared a global emergency over the explosive spread of the Zika virus, which was linked to birth defects in the Americas, calling it an “extraordinary event” that posed a public health threat to other parts of the world.

In 2020, as China’s death toll from the new coronavirus rose to 259, Beijing criticized Washington’s order barring entry to most foreigners who had visited China in the past two weeks. A World Health Organization official said governments needed to prepare for “domestic outbreak control.”

Ten years ago: Hillary Rodham Clinton formally resigned as America’s 67th secretary of state, capping a four-year tenure that saw her shatter records for the number of countries visited. The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 14,009.79, above the 14,000 mark for the first time in more than five years. Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch died at age 88.

Five years ago: Republican State Rep. Don Shooter was expelled from the Arizona House because of a lengthy pattern of sexual misconduct, making him the first state lawmaker in the U.S. to be booted out since the #MeToo movement emerged. Sheriff’s officials in Los Angeles said new witnesses had emerged in the 1981 drowning death of actress Natalie Wood, prompting investigators to name her former husband, Robert Wagner, a “person of interest” in what they considered a “suspicious death.” (Detectives later said the evidence hadn’t reached the threshold for a murder investigation and that they had no plans to file criminal charges.)

One year ago: Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. and its allies of ignoring Russia’s top security demands but signaled he was willing to engage in more diplomacy to ease tensions in Ukraine. (Russia would invade Ukraine on Feb. 24.) Quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement from the NFL after winning seven Super Bowls and an unprecedented 22-year career. (Six weeks later he would reverse course and announce he would return for a 23rd season). ABC News announced that Whoopi Goldberg would be suspended for two weeks as co-host of “The View” over remarks a day earlier about Jews and the Holocaust that the network called “wrong and hurtful.”

Today’s birthdays: Today’s birthdays: Actor Garrett Morris is 86. Bluegrass singer Del McCoury is 84. TV personality-singer Joy Philbin is 82. Political commentator Fred Barnes is 80. Rock musician Mike Campbell (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) is 73. Blues singer-musician Sonny Landreth is 72. Actor-writer-producer Bill Mumy (MOO’-mee) is 69. Rock singer Exene Cervenka is 67. Actor Linus Roache is 59. Princess Stephanie of Monaco is 58. Actor Sherilyn Fenn is 58. Comedian-actor Pauly Shore is 55. Actor Brian Krause is 54. Jazz musician Joshua Redman is 54. Rock musician Patrick Wilson (Weezer) is 54. Actor Michael C. Hall is 52. Rock musician Ron Welty is 52. Rapper Big Boi (Outkast) is 48. Roots rocker Jason Isbell is 44. Country singer Julie Roberts is 44. Rock singer-musician Andrew VanWyngarden is 40 TV personality Lauren Conrad is 37. Actor-singer Heather Morris is 36. Actor and mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey is 36. Rock singer Harry Styles (One Direction) is 29.

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