Today in History
On June 7, 1939, King George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, arrived at Niagara Falls, New York, from Canada on the first visit to the United States by a reigning British monarch.
On this date:
In 1654, King Louis XIV, 15, was crowned in Rheims, 11 years after the start of his reign.
In 1769, frontiersman Daniel Boone first began to explore present-day Kentucky.
In 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia offered a resolution to the Continental Congress stating “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.”
In 1892, Homer Plessy, a “Creole of color,” was fined for refusing to leave a whites-only car of the East Louisiana Railroad. (Ruling on his case, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld “separate but equal” racial segregation, which it overturned in 1954.)
In 1929, the sovereign state of Vatican City came into existence as copies of the Lateran Treaty were exchanged in Rome.
In 1942, the World War II Battle of Midway ended in a decisive victory for American forces over the Imperial Japanese.
In 1954, British mathematician, computer pioneer and code breaker Alan Turing died at age 41, an apparent suicide. (Turing, convicted in 1952 of “gross indecency” for a same-sex relationship, was posthumously pardoned in 2013.)
In 1967, the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic opened in San Francisco.
In 1972, the musical “Grease” opened on Broadway, having already been performed in lower Manhattan.
In 1981, Israeli military planes destroyed a nuclear power plant in Iraq, a facility the Israelis charged could have been used to make nuclear weapons.
In 1984, the occult comedy “Ghostbusters,” released by Columbia Pictures, had its world premiere in Westwood, California.
In 1998, in a crime that shocked the nation, James Byrd Jr., a 49-year-old black man, was hooked by a chain to a pickup truck and dragged to his death in Jasper, Texas. (Two white men were later sentenced to death; one of them, Lawrence Russell Brewer, was executed in 2011. A third defendant received life with the possibility of parole.)
Ten years ago: A steady, near-silent stream of people circled through the rotunda of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, where the body of the nation's 40th president lay in repose before traveling to Washington two days later for a state funeral. The Tampa Bay Lightning held off the Calgary Flames 2-1 in Game 7 to win their first Stanley Cup.
Five years ago: Extreme-right parties gained in European Parliament elections, including the first seats won by the all-white British National Party. Roger Federer completed a career Grand Slam, winning his first French Open title by sweeping surprise finalist Robin Soderling 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4. The British musical “Billy Elliot” won 10 Tony Awards, including best musical and a unique best actor prize for the three young performers who shared the title character: David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish. Pop vocalist, musician, songwriter Kenny Rankin died in Los Angeles at 69.
One year ago: President Barack Obama vigorously defended the government's just-disclosed collection of massive amounts of information from phone and Internet records as a necessary defense against terrorism, and assured Americans, “Nobody is listening to your telephone calls.” President Obama opened a two-day summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Rancho Mirage, California. A gunman killed five people in Santa Monica, California, before police shot him to death. Former French Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy, 84, died in suburban Paris. Death row inmate Richard Ramirez, 53, the serial killer known as California's “Night Stalker,” died in a hospital.
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