Today in History
Today is Tuesday, Aug. 17, the 229th day of 2021. There are 136 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On August 17, 1915, a mob in Cobb County, Georgia, lynched Jewish businessman Leo Frank, 31, whose death sentence for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan had been commuted to life imprisonment. (Frank, who’d maintained his innocence, was pardoned by the state of Georgia in 1986.)
On this date:
In 1807, Robert Fulton’s North River Steamboat began heading up the Hudson River on its successful round trip between New York and Albany.
In 1863, federal batteries and ships began bombarding Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor during the Civil War, but the Confederates managed to hold on despite several days of pounding.
In 1942, during World War II, U.S. 8th Air Force bombers attacked German forces in Rouen, France. U.S. Marines raided a Japanese seaplane base on Makin Island.
In 1964, Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa was sentenced in Chicago to five years in federal prison for defrauding his union’s pension fund. (Hoffa was released in 1971 after President Richard Nixon commuted his sentence for this conviction and jury tampering.)
In 1978, the first successful trans-Atlantic balloon flight ended as Maxie Anderson, Ben Abruzzo and Larry Newman landed their Double Eagle II outside Paris.
In 1982, the first commercially produced compact discs, a recording of ABBA’s “The Visitors,” were pressed at a Philips factory near Hanover, West Germany.
In 1983, lyricist Ira Gershwin died in Beverly Hills, Calif., at age 86.
In 1987, Rudolf Hess, the last member of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle, died at Spandau Prison at age 93, an apparent suicide.
In 1988, Pakistani President Mohammad Zia ul-Haq and U.S. Ambassador Arnold Raphel (RAY’-fehl) were killed in a mysterious plane crash.
In 1998, President Bill Clinton gave grand jury testimony via closed-circuit television from the White House concerning his relationship with Monica Lewinsky; he then delivered a TV address in which he denied previously committing perjury, admitted his relationship with Lewinsky was “wrong,” and criticized Kenneth Starr’s investigation.
In 1999, more than 17,000 people were killed when a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck Turkey.
In 2017, a van plowed through pedestrians along a packed promenade in the Spanish city of Barcelona, killing 13 people and injuring 120. (A 14th victim died later from injuries.) Another man was stabbed to death in a carjacking that night as the van driver made his getaway, and a woman died early the next day in a vehicle-and-knife attack in a nearby coastal town. (Six suspects in the attack were shot dead by police, two more died when a bomb workshop exploded.)
Ten years ago: Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Beijing to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.
Five years ago: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced a shake-up of his campaign leadership, naming Steve Bannon of the conservative Breitbart News website as chief executive officer and promoting pollster Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager. Caster Semenya of South Africa made her debut at the Rio Olympics amid questions about how track and field can deal with hyperandrogenic women; Semenya qualified for the 800 semfinals, an event she won three days later. Movie director Arthur Hiller (“Love Story”) died in Los Angeles at age 92.
One year ago: As Democrats opened their virtual national convention, Michelle Obama delivered a passionate condemnation of President Donald Trump, saying he was “clearly in over his head.” Texas joined New York, New Jersey and California as states with at least 10,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths; about 80 percent of the Texas deaths were reported since June 1, after the state embarked on one of the fastest reopenings in the country. The University of North Carolina said it was switching all undergraduate classes to remote learning after the coronavirus spread in the first week since classes began. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern delayed the country’s elections by four weeks because of a coronavirus outbreak in Auckland.
Today’s Birthdays: Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin (jahng zuh-MEEN’) is 95. Former MLB All-Star Boog Powell is 80. Actor Robert DeNiro is 78. Movie director Martha Coolidge is 75. Rock musician Gary Talley (The Box Tops) is 74. Actor-screenwriter-producer Julian Fellowes is 72. Actor Robert Joy is 70. International Tennis Hall of Famer Guillermo Vilas is 69. Rock singer Kevin Rowland (Dexy’s Midnight Runners) is 68. Rock musician Colin Moulding (XTC) is 66. Country singer-songwriter Kevin Welch is 66. Olympic gold medal figure skater Robin Cousins is 64. Singer Belinda Carlisle is 63. Author Jonathan Franzen is 62. Actor Sean Penn is 61. Jazz musician Everette Harp is 60. Rock musician Gilby Clarke is 59. Singer Maria McKee is 57. Rock musician Steve Gorman (The Black Crowes) is 56. Rock musician Jill Cunniff (kuh-NIHF’) is 55. Actor David Conrad is 54. Singer Donnie Wahlberg is 52. College Basketball Hall of Famer and retired NBA All-Star Christian Laettner is 52. Rapper Posdnuos (PAHS’-deh-noos) is 52. International Tennis Hall of Famer Jim Courier is 51. Retired MLB All-Star Jorge Posada is 50. TV personality Giuliana Rancic is 47. Actor Bryton James is 35. Actor Brady Corbet (kohr-BAY’) is 33. Actor Austin Butler is 30. Actor Taissa Farmiga is 27. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Gracie Gold is 26.