Today in History
Today is Thursday, Aug. 19, the 231st day of 2021. There are 134 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On August 19, 1934, a plebiscite in Germany approved the vesting of sole executive power in Adolf Hitler.
On this date:
In 1807, Robert Fulton’s North River Steamboat arrived in Albany, two days after leaving New York.
In 1812, the USS Constitution defeated the British frigate HMS Guerriere off Nova Scotia during the War of 1812, earning the nickname “Old Ironsides.”
In 1814, during the War of 1812, British forces landed at Benedict, Maryland, with the objective of capturing Washington D.C.
In 1848, the New York Herald reported the discovery of gold in California.
In 1909, the first automobile races were run at the just-opened Indianapolis Motor Speedway; the winner of the first event was auto engineer Louis Schwitzer, who drove a Stoddard-Dayton touring car twice around the 2.5-mile track at an average speed of 57.4 mph.
In 1942, during World War II, about 6,000 Canadian and British soldiers launched a disastrous raid against the Germans at Dieppe, France, suffering more than 50-percent casualties.
In 1955, torrential rains caused by Hurricane Diane resulted in severe flooding in the northeastern U.S., claiming some 200 lives.
In 1960, a tribunal in Moscow convicted American U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers of espionage. (Although sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment, Powers was returned to the United States in 1962 as part of a prisoner exchange.)
In 1974, U.S. Ambassador Rodger P. Davies was fatally wounded by a bullet that penetrated the American embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus, during a protest by Greek Cypriots.
In 1980, 301 people aboard a Saudi Arabian L-1011 died as the jetliner made a fiery emergency return to the Riyadh airport.
In 1991, rioting erupted in the Brooklyn, New York, Crown Heights neighborhood after a Black 7-year-old, Gavin Cato, was struck and killed by a Jewish driver from the ultra-Orthodox Lubavitch community; three hours later, a mob of Black youth fatally stabbed Yankel Rosenbaum, a rabbinical student.
In 2010, the last American combat brigade exited Iraq, seven years and five months after the U.S.-led invasion began.
Ten years ago: Three men — Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley — who’d spent nearly two decades in prison for the nightmarish slayings of three Cub Scouts in Arkansas, went free after they agreed to a legal maneuver allowing them to maintain their innocence while acknowledging prosecutors had enough evidence against them.
Five years ago: The Obama administration defended its decision to make a $400 million cash delivery to Iran contingent on the release of American prisoners, saying the payment wasn’t ransom because the Islamic Republic would have soon recouped the money one way or another. Usain Bolt scored another sweep at the Rio Games, winning three gold medals in his third consecutive Olympics by turning a close 4x100 relay race against Japan and the United States into a runaway, helping Jamaica cross the line in 37.27 seconds. Allyson Felix won an unprecedented fifth gold medal in women’s track and field, running the second leg of the 4x100-meter relay team. Actor Jack Riley, 80, died in Los Angeles.
One year ago: Kamala Harris accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president in a speech to the party’s virtual convention, cementing her place in history as the first Black woman on a major party ticket. In a speech on the third night of the convention, former President Barack Obama warned that his successor, Donald Trump, was both unfit for office and apathetic to the nation’s founding principles. Another night of protests in Portland, Oregon ended in clashes with police; officials said protesters broke out the windows of a county government building, sprayed lighter fluid inside and set a fire. President Donald Trump blasted universities that had canceled in-person classes amid coronavirus outbreaks, saying students posed a greater safety threat at home with older family members. Apple became the first U.S. company to boast a market value of $2 trillion, just two years after becoming the first U.S. company with a $1 trillion market value.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor L.Q. Jones is 94. Actor Debra Paget is 88. USTA Eastern Tennis Hall of Famer Renee Richards is 87. Former MLB All-Star Bobby Richardson is 86. Actor Diana Muldaur is 83. Actor Jill St. John is 81. Singer Billy J. Kramer is 78. Country singer-songwriter Eddy Raven is 77. Rock singer Ian Gillan (Deep Purple) is 76. Former President Bill Clinton is 75. Actor Gerald McRaney is 74. Actor Jim Carter is 73. Pop singer-musician Elliot Lurie (Looking Glass) is 73. Rock musician John Deacon (Queen) is 70. Bluegrass musician Marc Pruett (Balsam Range) is 70. Actor-director Jonathan Frakes is 69. Political consultant Mary Matalin is 68. Actor Peter Gallagher is 66. Actor Adam Arkin is 65. Singer-songwriter Gary Chapman is 64. Actor Martin Donovan is 64. Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Anthony Munoz is 63. R&B singer Ivan Neville is 62. Actor Eric Lutes is 59. Actor John Stamos is 58. Actor Kyra Sedgwick is 56. Actor Kevin Dillon is 56. Country singer Lee Ann Womack is 55. TV reporter Tabitha Soren is 54. Country singer-songwriter Mark McGuinn is 53. Actor Matthew Perry is 52. Country singer Clay Walker is 52. Rapper Fat Joe is 51. Olympic gold medal tennis player Mary Joe Fernandez is 50. Actor Tracie Thoms is 46. Actor Callum Blue is 44. Country singer Rissi (REE’-see) Palmer is 40. Actor Erika Christensen is 39. Actor Melissa Fumero is 39. Pop singer Missy Higgins is 38. Actor Peter Mooney is 38. Actor Tammin Sursok is 38. Olympic silver medal snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis (jay-kuh-BEHL’-ihs) is 36. Actor J. Evan Bonifant is 36. Rapper Romeo is 32. Actor Ethan Cutkosky is 22.