TODAY IN HISTORY


Today is Friday, July 17, the 199th day of 2020. There are 167 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On July 17, 1944, during World War II, 320 men, two-thirds of them African-Americans, were killed when a pair of ammunition ships exploded at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in California.

On this date:

In 1862, during the Civil War, Congress approved the Second Confiscation Act, which declared that all slaves taking refuge behind Union lines were to be set free.

In 1945, following Nazi Germany’s surrender, President Harry S. Truman, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill began meeting at Potsdam in the final Allied summit of World War II.

In 1962, the United States conducted its last atmospheric nuclear test to date, detonating a 20-kiloton device, codenamed Little Feller I, at the Nevada Test Site.

In 1997, Woolworth Corp. announced it was closing its 400 remaining five-and-dime stores across the country, ending 117 years in business.

In 2007, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was indicted by a federal grand jury in Richmond, Virginia, on charges related to competitive dogfighting. (Vick later admitted bankrolling the dogfighting operation and helping to kill six to eight dogs; he served 23 months in federal custody, the last 60 days in home confinement.)

In 2009, former CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite died in New York at 92.

In 2014, Eric Garner, an unarmed Black man accused of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, died shortly after being wrestled to the ground by New York City police officers; a video of the takedown showed Garner repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe.” (Garner’s family received $5.9 million from the city in 2015 to settle a wrongful death claim.) All 298 passengers and crew aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were killed when the Boeing 777 was shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine; both Ukraine’s government and pro-Russian separatists denied responsibility.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Donald Sutherland is 85. Rock musician Spencer Davis is 81. Sportscaster Verne Lundquist is 80. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is 73. Rock musician Terry “Geezer” Butler is 71. Actress Lucie Arnaz is 69. Actor David Hasselhoff is 68. Rock musician Fran Smith Jr. (The Hooters) is 68. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is 66. Television producer Mark Burnett is 60. Actress Nancy Giles is 60. Singer Regina Belle is 57. Country singer Craig Morgan is 56.