Today in History


Today is Tuesday, July 18, the 199th day of 2023. There are 166 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On July 18, 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; Kennedy’s car later went off a bridge into the water. Kennedy was able to escape, but Kopechne drowned.

On this date:

In 1536, the English Parliament passed an act declaring the authority of the pope void in England.

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 1918, South African anti-apartheid leader and president Nelson Mandela was born in the village of Mvezo.

In 1925, Adolf Hitler published the first volume of his autobiographical screed, “Mein Kampf (My Struggle).”

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 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed a Presidential Succession Act which placed the speaker of the House and the Senate president pro tempore next in the line of succession after the vice president.

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 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 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 2005, an unrepentant Eric Rudolph was sentenced in Birmingham, Alabama, to life in prison for an abortion clinic bombing that killed an off-duty police officer and maimed a nurse.

In 2020, Canadian officials said the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team would not be able to play its home games in Toronto during the shortened 2020 season because it wasn’t safe for players to travel back and forth from the United States. (The Blue Jays would play “home” games in the ballpark of their minor league affiliate in Buffalo, N.Y.)

Ten years ago: Once the very symbol of American industrial might, Detroit 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. Romanian investigators found the remains of paint, canvas and nails in the oven of a woman whose son was charged with stealing seven paintings by Picasso, Monet and Matisse from a Dutch gallery in October 2012. Three Romanian men would later plead guilty to the thefts.

Five years ago: The 12 Thai youth soccer teammates and their coach who were trapped in a flooded cave for more than two weeks were released from the hospital. 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. California’s Supreme Court decided that a measure to divide the state into three parts would not appear on the November ballot. California’s Highway 1 near Big Sur reopened, 14 months after it was blocked by a massive landslide.

One year ago: The Texas Department of Public Safety announced an internal review into the actions of state police who had dozens of troopers and agents on the scene during a slow and chaotic response to the Uvalde elementary school massacre that left 21 dead. The review came after the release of a damning report by the Texas House revealed wide failures by all levels of law enforcement. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said he planned to retire by the end of President Joe Biden’s term in January 2025. Fauci, 81, was appointed director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in 1984 and advised seven presidents, leading research in HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, Ebola, Zika and the coronavirus. Pop artist Claes Oldenburg, who turned the mundane into the monumental through his outsized sculptures of a baseball bat, a clothespin and other objects, died at age 93.

Today’s Birthdays: Skating champion and commentator Dick Button is 94. Olympic gold medal figure skater Tenley Albright is 88. Movie director Paul Verhoeven is 85. Musician Brian Auger is 84. Singer Dion DiMucci is 84. Actor James Brolin is 83. Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Torre is 83. Singer Martha Reeves is 82. Country-rock singer Craig Fuller (Pure Prairie League) is 74. Business mogul Richard Branson is 73. Actor Margo Martindale is 72. Singer Ricky Skaggs is 69. Actor Audrey Landers is 67. World Golf Hall of Famer Nick Faldo is 66. Actor Anne-Marie Johnson is 63. Actor Elizabeth McGovern is 62. Rock musician John Hermann (Widespread Panic) is 61. Rock musician Jack Irons is 61. Broadcaster Wendy Williams is 59. Actor Vin Diesel is 56. Actor Grant Bowler is 55. Retired NBA All-Star Penny Hardaway is 52. Bluegrass musician Jesse Brock (The Gibson Brothers) is 51. Alt-country singer Elizabeth Cook is 51. Actor Eddie Matos is 51. Singer-songwriter M.I.A. is 48. Rock musician Daron Malakian (System of a Down; Scars on Broadway) is 48. Actor Elsa Pataky (“The Fast and the Furious” films) is 47. Rock musician Tony Fagenson (formerly with Eve 6) is 45. Movie director Jared Hess is 44. Actor Jason Weaver is 44. Actor Kristen Bell is 43. Actor Michiel Huisman (MIHK’-heel HOWS’-man) is 42. Rock singer Ryan Cabrera is 41. Actor Priyanka Chopra is 41. Christian-rock musician Aaron Gillespie (Underoath) is 40. Actor Chace Crawford is 38. Actor James Norton is 38. Musician Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers) is 37. Actor Travis Milne is 37.

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