Today in History
Today in History
Today is Sunday, July 18, the 199th day of 2021. There are 166 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On July 18, 1918, South African anti-apartheid leader and president Nelson Mandela was born in the village of Mvezo.
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 1872, Britain enacted voting by secret ballot.
In 1940, the Democratic National Convention at Chicago Stadium nominated President Franklin D. Roosevelt (who was monitoring the proceedings at the White House) for an unprecedented third term in office; earlier in the day, Eleanor Roosevelt spoke to the convention, becoming the first presidential spouse to address such a gathering.
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 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 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.
In 1976, 14-year-old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci (koh-mah-NEECH’), competing at the Montreal Olympics, received the first-ever perfect score of 10 with her routine on uneven parallel bars. (Comaneci would go on to receive six more 10s in Montreal.)
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 2013, Detroit, which was once the very symbol of American industrial might, 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.
Ten years ago: Gen. David Petraeus handed over command of American and coalition forces in Afghanistan to Gen. John Allen as he left to take over the Central Intelligence Agency. Reeling from months of tragedy caused by a devastating tsunami and earthquake, Japan celebrated after its women’s soccer team won the World Cup by beating the United States 3-1 on penalty kicks, after coming from behind twice in a 2-2 tie.
Five years ago: Republicans opened their national convention in Cleveland as they prepared to nominate Donald Trump for president; Trump’s wife, Melania, delivered a speech in which she assured delegates and voters that her husband had the character and determination to unite a divided nation. (Mrs. Trump’s well-received address was marred by two passages with similarities to a speech first lady Michelle Obama delivered at the 2008 Democratic convention; a speechwriter accepted responsibility for the passages in question.) President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to retired Lt. Col. Charles Kettles, a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War credited with helping rescue more than 40 American soldiers under heavy fire.
One year ago: The World Health Organization reported a single-day record of new coronavirus infections – more than 259,000 worldwide – for a second day in a row. South Africa became one of the five worst-hit countries in the pandemic. Florida reported more than 10,200 new cases and 90 additional deaths. 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.)
Today’s Birthdays: Skating champion and commentator Dick Button is 92. Olympic gold medal figure skater Tenley Albright is 86. Movie director Paul Verhoeven is 83. Musician Brian Auger is 82. Singer Dion DiMucci is 82. Actor James Brolin is 81. Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Torre is 81. Singer Martha Reeves is 80. Pop-rock musician Wally Bryson (The Raspberries) is 72. Country-rock singer Craig Fuller (Pure Prairie League) is 72. Business mogul Richard Branson is 71. Actor Margo Martindale is 70. Singer Ricky Skaggs is 67. Actor Audrey Landers is 65. World Golf Hall of Famer Nick Faldo is 64. Rock musician Nigel Twist (The Alarm) is 64. Actor Anne-Marie Johnson is 61. Actor Elizabeth McGovern is 60. Rock musician John Hermann (Widespread Panic) is 59. Rock musician Jack Irons is 59. Talk show host-actor Wendy Williams is 57. Actor Vin Diesel is 54. Actor Grant Bowler is 53. Retired NBA All-Star Penny Hardaway is 50. Bluegrass musician Jesse Brock (The Gibson Brothers) is 49. Alt-country singer Elizabeth Cook is 49. Actor Eddie Matos is 49. Dance music singer-songwriter M.I.A. is 46. Rock musician Daron Malakian (System of a Down; Scars on Broadway) is 46. Actor Elsa Pataky (“The Fast and the Furious” films) is 45. Rock musician Tony Fagenson (formerly with Eve 6) is 43. Movie director Jared Hess is 42. Actor Jason Weaver is 42. Actor Kristen Bell is 41. Actor Michiel Huisman (MIHK’-heel HOWS’-man) is 40. Rock singer Ryan Cabrera is 39. Actor Priyanka Chopra is 39. Christian-rock musician Aaron Gillespie (Underoath) is 38. Actor Chace Crawford is 36. Actor James Norton is 36. Musician Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers) is 35. Actor Travis Milne is 35.