Today in History
Today is Saturday, Oct. 16, the 289th day of 2021. There are 76 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Oct. 16, 1859, radical abolitionist John Brown led a raid on the U.S. arsenal at Harpers Ferry in what was then a part of western Virginia. (Ten of Brown’s men were killed and five escaped. Brown and six followers were captured; all were executed.)
On this date:
In 1793, during the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette, the queen of France, was beheaded.
In 1934, Chinese Communists, under siege by the Nationalists, began their “long march” lasting a year from southeastern to northwestern China.
In 1962, the Cuban missile crisis began as President John F. Kennedy was informed that reconnaissance photographs had revealed the presence of missile bases in Cuba.
In 1964, China set off its first atomic bomb, codenamed “596,” on the Lop Nur Test Ground.
In 1968, American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos sparked controversy at the Mexico City Olympics by giving “Black power” salutes during a victory ceremony after they’d won gold and bronze medals in the 200-meter race.
In 1978, the College of Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church chose Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (voy-TEE’-wah) to be the new pope; he took the name John Paul II.
In 1984, Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu was named winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his decades of non-violent struggle for racial equality in South Africa.
In 1991, a deadly shooting rampage took place in Killeen, Texas, as a gunman opened fire at a Luby’s Cafeteria, killing 23 people before taking his own life.
In 1995, a vast throng of Black men gathered in Washington, D.C. for the “Million Man March” led by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
In 2002, President George W. Bush signed a congressional resolution authorizing war against Iraq. The White House announced that North Korea had disclosed it had a nuclear weapons program.
In 2009, agricultural officials said pigs in Minnesota had tested positive for the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, the first such cases in the U.S.
In 2017, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been captured and held by the Taliban for five years after walking away from his post in Afghanistan, pleaded guilty to desertion and endangering his comrades. (A military judge later decided not to send him to prison.)
Ten years ago: The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial was formally dedicated in Washington, D.C. British race car driver Dan Wheldon, 33, died in a fiery 15-car wreck in the Las Vegas Indy 300. Danell Leyva became the first American male gymnast to win a gold medal at the World Championships since 2003, taking the parallel bars title in Tokyo. The St. Louis Cardinals captured their 18th National League pennant with a 12-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 6 of the NLCS.
Five years ago: Joy, jubilation and dancing erupted when a group of Nigerian parents were reunited with 21 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram 2 1/2 years earlier and freed in the first negotiated release organized by the government and the Islamic extremist group. Singer Randy Travis, fiddler Charlie Daniels and producer Fred Foster were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
One year ago: A French history teacher who had opened a discussion with his high school students about caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad was beheaded on a street northwest of Paris; police shot and killed the suspect, an 18-year-old radical Islamist. After initially denying the request, the Trump administration approved California’s application for disaster relief funds to clean up damage from six deadly and destructive wildfires. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said the company had been wrong to block weblinks to an unverified story focusing on the son of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. A federal judge refused to block New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s order limiting worship to as few as 10 congregants in communities seeing spikes in coronavirus infections.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Angela Lansbury is 96. Actor Peter Bowles is 85. Actor-producer Tony Anthony is 84. Actor Barry Corbin is 81. Sportscaster Tim McCarver is 80. Rock musician C.F. Turner (Bachman-Turner Overdrive) is 78. Actor Suzanne Somers is 75. Rock singer-musician Bob Weir is 74. Producer-director David Zucker is 74. Record company executive Jim Ed Norman is 73. Actor Daniel Gerroll is 70. Actor Morgan Stevens is 70. Actor Martha Smith is 69. Comedian-actor Andy Kindler is 65. Actor-director Tim Robbins is 63. Actor-musician Gary Kemp is 62. Singer-musician Bob Mould is 61. Actor Randy Vasquez is 60. Rock musician Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) is 59. Movie director Kenneth Lonergan is 59. Actor Christian Stolte is 59. Actor Todd Stashwick is 53. Actor Terri J. Vaughn is 52. Singer Wendy Wilson (Wilson Phillips) is 52. Rock singer Chad Gray (Mudvayne) is 50. Actor Paul Sparks is 50. Actor Kellie Martin is 46. Singer John Mayer is 44. Actor Jeremy Jackson is 41. Actor Caterina Scorsone is 41. Actor Brea Grant is 40. U.S. Olympic and WNBA basketball star Sue Bird is 40. Actor Kyler Pettis is 29. Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper is 29. Tennis star Naomi Osaka is 24.