Today in History
On June 16, 1944, George Stinney, a 14-year-old black youth, became the youngest person to die in the electric chair as the state of South Carolina executed him for the murders of two white girls, Betty June Binnicker, 11, and Mary Emma Thames, 7. (George Stinney’s family, who maintains his innocence, is seeking to overturn his conviction.)
On this date:
In 1567, Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned in Lochleven Castle in Scotland. (She escaped almost a year later but ended up imprisoned again.)
In 1858, accepting the Illinois Republican Party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate, Abraham Lincoln said the slavery issue had to be resolved, declaring, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
In 1883, baseball’s first “Ladies’ Day” took place as the New York Gothams offered women free admission to a game against the Cleveland Spiders. (New York won, 5-2.)
In 1903, Ford Motor Co. was incorporated.
In 1911, IBM had its beginnings as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Co. was incorporated in New York State.
In 1933, the National Industrial Recovery Act became law with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signature. (The Act was later struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.) The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was founded as President Roosevelt signed the Banking Act of 1933.
In 1943, comedian Charles Chaplin, 54, married his fourth wife, 18-year-old Oona O’Neill, daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill, in Carpinteria, California.
In 1959, actor George Reeves, TV’s “Superman,” was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound in the bedroom of his Beverly Hills, California, home; he was 45.
In 1963, the world’s first female space traveler, Valentina Tereshkova, 26, was launched into orbit by the Soviet Union aboard Vostok 6; she spent 71 hours in flight, circling the Earth 48 times before returning safely.
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter and Panamanian leader Omar Torrijos (toh-REE’-ohs) exchanged the instruments of ratification for the Panama Canal treaties.
In 1987, a jury in New York acquitted Bernhard Goetz of attempted murder in the subway shooting of four youths he said were going to rob him; however, Goetz was convicted of illegal weapons possession. (In 1996, a civil jury ordered Goetz to pay $43 million to one of the persons he’d shot.)
In 1999, Vice President Al Gore formally opened his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. Kathleen Ann Soliah (SOH’-lee-ah), a fugitive member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, was captured in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she had made a new life under the name Sara Jane Olson. Thabo Mbeki (TAH’-boh um-BEH’-kee) took the oath as president of South Africa, succeeding Nelson Mandela.
Ten years ago: Rebuffing Bush administration claims, the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks said no evidence existed that al-Qaida had strong ties to Saddam Hussein. Al Lapin Jr., co-founder of the International House of Pancakes in 1958, died in Los Angeles at age 76.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama met with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak at the White House; afterward, Obama declared North Korea a “grave threat” to the world and pledged the U.S. and its allies would aggressively enforce fresh penalties against the nuclear-armed nation. Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, a leading Republican mentioned as a potential presidential candidate, admitted he’d had an extramarital affair with a campaign staff member. Federal health regulators warned consumers to stop using Zicam Cold Remedy nasal gel and related products because they could permanently damage the sense of smell.
One year ago: Riot police firing tear gas and water cannons repelled thousands of anti-government protesters attempting to converge on Istanbul’s central Taksim Square while Prime Minister Recep Tayipp Erdogan defended the crackdown at a rally of his supporters. Justin Rose captured his first major championship and became the first Englishman in 43 years to win the U.S. Open, shooting a closing 70 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, for a 1-over 281 total. Connecticut accountant Erin Brady won the Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas.
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