Today in History

Associated Press

Today is Thursday, June 27, the 178th day of 2019. There are 187 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On June 27, 1991, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first black jurist to sit on the nation’s highest court, announced his retirement. (His departure led to the contentious nomination of Clarence Thomas to succeed him.)

On this date:

In 1844, Mormon leader Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were killed by a mob in Carthage, Illinois.

In 1846, New York and Boston were linked by telegraph wires.

In 1880, author-lecturer Helen Keller, who lived most of her life without sight or hearing, was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama.

In 1905, the Industrial Workers of the World was founded in Chicago.

In 1944, during World War II, American forces liberated the French port of Cherbourg from the Germans.

In 1957, Hurricane Audrey slammed into coastal Louisiana and Texas as a Category 4 storm; the official death toll from the storm was placed at 390, although a variety of state, federal and local sources have estimated the number of fatalities at between 400 and 600.

In 1974, President Richard Nixon opened an official visit to the Soviet Union.

In 1984, the Supreme Court ended the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s monopoly on controlling college football telecasts, ruling such control violated antitrust law.

In 1988, at least 56 people were killed when a commuter train ran into a stationary train at the Gare de Lyon terminal in Paris. In 1988, Mike Tyson retained the undisputed heavyweight crown as he knocked out Michael Spinks 91 seconds into the first round of a championship fight in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

In 1990, NASA announced that a flaw in the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope was preventing the instrument from achieving optimum focus. (The problem was traced to a mirror that had not been ground to exact specifications; corrective optics were later installed to fix the problem.)

In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled, in a pair of 5-4 decisions, that displaying the Ten Commandments on government property was constitutionally permissible in some cases but not in others. BTK serial killer Dennis Rader pleaded guilty to ten murders that had spread fear across Wichita, Kansas, beginning in the 1970s. (Rader later received multiple life sentences.)

In 2008, North Korea destroyed the most visible symbol of its nuclear weapons program, the cooling tower at its main atomic reactor at Yongbyon. (However, North Korea announced in September 2008 that it was restoring its nuclear facilities.)

Ten years ago: Dr. Conrad Murray, the cardiologist who was with Michael Jackson during the pop star’s final moments two days earlier, sat down with investigators for the first time to explain his actions. Actress Gale Storm, 87, died in Danville, California.

Five years ago: Over Russian objections, Ukraine’s new president, Petro Poroshenko, signed a free-trade agreement binding his country more closely to Western Europe. Leslie Manigat, 83, a prominent figure in the Haitian political establishment whose rule as president was cut short by a military coup in 1988, died in Port-au-Prince. Bobby Womack, 70, a colorful and highly influential R&B singer-songwriter who had influenced artists from the Rolling Stones to Damon Albarn, died in Los Angeles.

One year ago: Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose vote often decided cases on abortion, gay rights and other contentious issues, announced his retirement. The Supreme Court ruled that government workers can’t be forced to contribute to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining. Joe Jackson, the patriarch of the singing Jackson family, died in Las Vegas at the age of 89.

Today’s Birthdays: Business executive Ross Perot is 89. Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt is 81. Singer-musician Bruce Johnston (The Beach Boys) is 77. Fashion designer Vera Wang is 70. Actress Julia Duffy is 68. Actress Isabelle Adjani is 64. Country singer Lorrie Morgan is 60. Actor Brian Drillinger is 59. Writer-producer-director J.J. Abrams is 53. Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., is 51. Olympic gold and bronze medal figure skater Viktor Petrenko is 50. Actor Edward “Grapevine” Fordham Jr. is 49. TV personality Jo Frost is 49. Actor Yancey Arias is 48. Actor Christian Kane is 47. Actor Tobey Maguire is 44. Rock singer Bernhoft is 43. Gospel singer Leigh Nash is 43. Christian rock singer Zach Williams is 41. Musician Chris Eldridge (Punch Brothers) is 37. Reality TV star Khloe Kardashian is 35. Actor Drake Bell is 33. Actor Sam Claflin is 33. Actress India de Beaufort is 32. Actor Ed Westwick is 32. Actor Matthew Lewis (Film: “Harry Potter”; TV: “Ripper Street”) is 30. Actress Madylin Sweeten is 28. Pop singer Lauren Jauregui (Fifth Harmony) (TV: “The X Factor”) is 23. R&B singer H.E.R. is 22. Actor Chandler Riggs is 20.

Thought for Today: “The main dangers in this life are the people who want to change everything — or nothing.” — Viscountess Nancy Astor, American-born British politician (1879-1964).

Associated Press