Today in History


Today is Thursday, March 30, the 89th day of 2023. There are 276 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot and seriously injured outside a Washington, D.C., hotel by John W. Hinckley Jr.; also wounded were White House press secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and a District of Columbia police officer, Thomas Delahanty.

On this date:

In 1822, Florida became a United States territory.

In 1842, Dr. Crawford W. Long of Jefferson, Georgia, first used ether as an anesthetic during an operation to remove a patient’s neck tumor.

In 1867, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward reached agreement with Russia to purchase the territory of Alaska for $7.2 million, a deal ridiculed by critics as “Seward’s Folly.”

In 1870, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibited denying citizens the right to vote and hold office on the basis of race, was declared in effect by Secretary of State Hamilton Fish.

In 1923, the Cunard liner RMS Laconia became the first passenger ship to circle the globe as it arrived in New York.

In 1945, during World War II, the Soviet Union invaded Austria with the goal of taking Vienna, which it accomplished two weeks later.

In 1959, a narrowly divided U.S. Supreme Court, in Bartkus v. Illinois, ruled that a conviction in state court following an acquittal in federal court for the same crime did not constitute double jeopardy.

In 1975, as the Vietnam War neared its end, Communist forces occupied the city of Da Nang.

In 1987, at the 59th Academy Awards, “Platoon” was named best picture; Marlee Matlin received best actress for “Children of a Lesser God” and Paul Newman was honored as best actor for “The Color of Money.”

In 2010, President Barack Obama signed a single measure sealing his health care overhaul and making the government the primary lender to students by cutting banks out of the process.

In 2015, Comedy Central announced that Trevor Noah, a 31-year-old comedian from South Africa, would succeed Jon Stewart as host of “The Daily Show.”

In 2020, Florida authorities arrested a megachurch pastor after they said he held two Sunday services with hundreds in attendance in violation of coronavirus restrictions. (The charges were later dropped.)

Ten years ago: Kaufman County, Texas, District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found killed in their house two months after one of his assistants, Mark Hasse, was gunned down near their office. (Ex-Justice of the Peace Eric Williams was later sentenced to death for the murder of Cynthia McLelland while his wife, Kim, received 40 years for her role in the killings.) The Associated Press became the first international news agency to open a bureau in Myanmar. Phil Ramone, 79, the masterful award-winning engineer, arranger and producer, died in New York.

Five years ago: The widow of the gunman who slaughtered 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, was acquitted on charges that she had helped plot the attack and had lied to the FBI afterward. Thousands of Palestinians marched to Gaza’s border with Israel and Palestinian health officials said 15 of the protesters were killed by Israeli fire on the first day of what Hamas organizers said would be six weeks of daily protests against a border blockade; it was the area’s deadliest violence in four years.

One year ago: Russian forces bombarded areas around Kyiv and another city just hours after pledging to scale back military operations in those places to help along negotiations with Ukraine. Maine Sen. Susan Collins said she would vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, giving Democrats at least one Republican vote and all but assuring that Jackson would become the first Black woman on the Supreme Court. (Jackson would be confirmed on April 7.) With the help of the Hubble telescope, astronomers discovered the most distant star to date, a super-hot, super-bright giant that formed nearly 13 billion years ago.

Today’s Birthdays: Game show host Peter Marshall is 97. Actor John Astin is 93. Actor-director Warren Beatty is 86. Rock musician Eric Clapton is 78. Actor Justin Deas is 75. Actor Paul Reiser is 67. Rap artist MC Hammer is 61. Singer Tracy Chapman is 59. Actor Ian Ziering is 59. TV personality Piers Morgan is 58. Rock musician Joey Castillo is 57. Actor Donna D’Errico is 55. Singer Celine Dion is 55. TV personality/producer Richard Rawlings is 54. Actor Mark Consuelos is 52. Actor Bahar Soomekh is 48. Actor Jessica Cauffiel is 47. Singer Norah Jones is 44. Actor Fiona Gubelmann is 43. Actor Katy Mixon is 42. Actor Jason Dohring is 41. Country singer Justin Moore is 39. Actor Tessa Ferrer is 37. Country singer Thomas Rhett is 33. Rapper NF is 32.

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