Today in History

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Today in History

Today is Friday, Oct. 16, the 290th day of 2020. There are 76 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 16, 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.

On this date:

In 1793, during the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette, the queen of France, was beheaded.

In 1859, radical abolitionist John Brown led a group of 21 men in a raid on Harpers Ferry in western Virginia. (Ten of Brown’s men were killed and five escaped. Brown and six followers were captured; all were executed.)

In 1901, Booker T. Washington dined at the White House as the guest of President Theodore Roosevelt, whose invitation to the Black educator sparked controversy.

In 1916, Planned Parenthood had its beginnings as Margaret Sanger and her sister, Ethel Byrne, opened the first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York. (The clinic ended up being raided by police and Sanger was arrested.)

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 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 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: Iran freed an American businessman jailed in Tehran for more than two years on suspicion of ties to an allegedly violent opposition group. (Reza Taghavi, 71, hadn’t been charged with a crime and denied knowingly supporting the organization, known as Tondar.) Actor Barbara Billingsley, the matriarch of TV’s “Leave It to Beaver,” died in Santa Monica, California, at age 94.

Five years ago: Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the federal government was canceling federal petroleum lease sales in U.S. Arctic waters that had been scheduled for 2016 and 2017. Four Palestinians, including one assailant, were killed by Israeli fire amid continuing widespread unrest as the U.N. Security Council convened an emergency meeting to discuss the escalation.

One year ago: President Donald Trump declared that the U.S. had no stake in defending Kurdish fighters in Syria who had died by the thousands as America’s partners against Islamic State extremists; Trump’s stance on the Kurds was condemned by Democrats and some Republicans who’d been staunch Trump supporters. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats walked out of a meeting at the White House, with Pelosi accusing Trump of having a “meltdown”; Trump replied on Twitter that it was Pelosi who had a “total meltdown” and called her a “very sick person.” Bargainers for General Motors and the United Auto Workers reached a tentative contract deal to end a monthlong strike that brought the company’s U.S. factories to a standstill. (Workers voted to approve the contract the following week.) Former Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon agreed to a three-year deal to manage the Los Angeles Angels.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Angela Lansbury is 95. Actor Peter Bowles is 84. Actor-producer Tony Anthony is 83. Actor Barry Corbin is 80. Sportscaster Tim McCarver is 79. Rock musician C.F. Turner (Bachman-Turner Overdrive) is 77. Actor Suzanne Somers is 74. Rock singer-musician Bob Weir is 73. Producer-director David Zucker is 73. Record company executive Jim Ed Norman is 72. Actor Daniel Gerroll is 69. Actor Morgan Stevens is 69. Actor Martha Smith is 68. Comedian-actor Andy Kindler is 64. Actor-director Tim Robbins is 62. Actor-musician Gary Kemp is 61. Singer-musician Bob Mould is 60. Actor Randy Vasquez is 59. Rock musician Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) is 58. Movie director Kenneth Lonergan is 58. Actor Christian Stolte is 58. Actor Todd Stashwick is 52. Actor Terri J. Vaughn is 51. Singer Wendy Wilson (Wilson Phillips) is 51. Rapper B-Rock (B-Rock and the Bizz) is 49. Rock singer Chad Gray (Mudvayne) is 49. Actor Paul Sparks is 49. Actor Kellie Martin is 45. Singer John Mayer is 43. Actor Jeremy Jackson is 40. Actor Caterina Scorsone is 40. Actor Brea Grant is 39. Actor Kyler Pettis is 28. Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper is 28. Tennis star Naomi Osaka is 23.

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