On Feb. 1, 1960, four black college students began a sit-in protest at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., where they’d been refused service.
On this date:
In 1790, the U.S. Supreme Court convened for the first time in New York. (However, since only three of the six justices were present, the court recessed until the next day.)
In 1861, Texas voted to leave the Union at a Secession Convention in Austin.
In 1893, the opera “Manon Lescaut,” by Giacomo Puccini, premiered in Turin, Italy.
In 1896, Puccini’s opera “La Boheme” premiered in Turin.
In 1922, in one of Hollywood’s most enduring mysteries, movie director William Desmond Taylor was shot to death in his Los Angeles home; the killing has never been solved.
In 1942, the Voice of America broadcast its first program to Europe, relaying it through the facilities of the British Broadcasting Corp. in London.
In 1943, one of America’s most highly decorated military units, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, made up almost exclusively of Japanese-Americans, was authorized.
In 1946, Norwegian statesman Trygve Lie was chosen to be the first secretary-general of the United Nations.
In 1968, during the Vietnam War, South Vietnam’s police chief (Nguyen Ngoc Loan) executed a Viet Cong officer with a pistol shot to the head. Richard M. Nixon announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
In 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (hoh-MAY’-nee) received a tumultuous welcome in Tehran as he ended nearly 15 years of exile.
In 1994, Jeff Gillooly, Tonya Harding’s ex-husband, pleaded guilty in Portland, Ore., to racketeering for his part in the attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan in exchange for a 24-month sentence (he ended up serving six) and a $100,000 fine.
In 2003, the space shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry, killing all seven of its crew members.
Ten years ago: A stampede during the annual Muslim pilgrimage in Mina, Saudi Arabia, killed at least 251 worshippers. Twin suicide bombers killed 109 people at two Kurdish party offices in Irbil, Iraq. The New England Patriots won their second Super Bowl in three seasons with a 32-29 victory over the Carolina Panthers; during the halftime show, Janet Jackson’s breast became exposed because of a “wardrobe malfunction” that prompted a $550,000 FCC fine against CBS. (The fine was later thrown out by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — twice.) Roger Federer beat Marat Safin 7-6 (3), 6-4, 6-2 to win the Australian Open.
Five years ago: The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 to win Super Bowl XLIII. Rafael Nadal held off Roger Federer to win the Australian Open, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2. Olympic great Michael Phelps acknowledged “bad judgment” after a photo in a British newspaper showed him inhaling from a marijuana pipe. Australian firefighter Dave Tree was photographed giving water to an injured koala found in burned brushland in Victoria state; the rescued female koala, dubbed “Sam,” became an Internet sensation, but ended up being euthanized in August 2009.
One year ago: A suicide bomber struck the American Embassy in Ankara, killing a Turkish security guard. Hillary Rodham Clinton formally resigned as America’s 67th secretary of state, capping a four-year tenure that saw her shatter records for the number of countries visited. The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 14,009.79, above the 14,000 mark for the first time in more than five years. Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch died at age 88.
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