Today’s Highlight in History:
On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia offered a resolution to the Continental Congress stating “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.”
On this date:
In 1654, King Louis XIV, age 15, was crowned in Rheims, 11 years after the start of his reign.
In 1712, Pennsylvania’s colonial assembly voted to ban the further importation of slaves.
In 1892, Homer Plessy, a “Creole of color,” was arrested for refusing to leave a whites-only car of the East Louisiana Railroad. (Ruling on his case, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld “separate but equal” racial segregation, a concept it renounced in 1954.)
In 1942, the Battle of Midway ended in a decisive victory for American naval forces over Imperial Japan, marking a turning point in the Pacific War.
In 1954, British mathematician, computer pioneer and code breaker Alan Turing died at age 41, an apparent suicide. (Turing, convicted in 1952 of “gross indecency” for a homosexual relationship, was pardoned in 2013.
In 1958, singer-songwriter Prince was born Prince Rogers Nelson in Minneapolis.
In 1965, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Griswold v. Connecticut, struck down, 7-2, a Connecticut law used to prosecute a Planned Parenthood clinic in New Haven for providing contraceptives to married couples.
In 1977, Britons thronged London to celebrate the silver jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, who was marking the 25th year of her reign.
In 1981, Israeli military planes destroyed a nuclear power plant in Iraq, a facility the Israelis charged could have been used to make nuclear weapons.
In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that religious groups could sometimes meet on school property after hours. Ground was broken for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
In 1998, in a crime that shocked the nation, James Byrd Jr., a 49-year-old black man, was hooked by a chain to a pickup truck and dragged to his death in Jasper, Texas. (Two white men were later sentenced to death; one of them, Lawrence Russell Brewer, was executed in 2011 and the other, John William King, was executed in April, 2019. A third defendant received life with the possibility of parole.)
In 2004, a steady, near-silent stream of people circled through the rotunda of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, where the body of the nation’s 40th president lay in repose before traveling to Washington two days later for a state funeral.
Ten years ago: U.S. defense officials announced that Army Spc. Bradley Manning had been detained in Baghdad in connection with a video posted on WikiLeaks showing Apache helicopters gunning down unarmed men in Iraq. Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas, 89, abruptly retired after calling for Israelis to get “out of Palestine” in an online video. An Indian court convicted seven former employees of Union Carbide’s India subsidiary of “death by negligence” for their roles in the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama opened a visit to Germany for a G-7 summit, where he praised the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Turkish voters rebuked President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s (REH’-jehp TY’-ihp UR’-doh-wahnz) ambitions to expand his powers, stripping his party of its simple majority in parliament. Stan Wawrinka beat Novak Djokovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 to win the men’s French Open title. “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” won best play at the Tony Awards; “Fun Home” won best musical. Actor Christopher Lee, 93, died in London.
One year ago: President Donald Trump announced that he had suspended plans to impose tariffs on Mexico, tweeting that the country had “agreed to take strong measures” to stem the flow of Central American migrants into the United States; the deal appeared to fall short of some of the dramatic overhauls sought by the United States. NASA announced that the International Space Station would be open for visits by private citizens; a round-trip ticket was expected to cost $58 million. Barnes & Noble, a bookstore chain that had suffered under competition from Amazon and other online sellers, was acquired by hedge fund Elliott Management for $476 million. The University of Alabama returned a $26.5 million donation from philanthropist Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr., and took his name off the university’s law school, a week after he called on students to boycott the institution over Alabama’s new abortion ban.
Today’s Birthdays: Movie director James Ivory is 92. Former Canadian Prime Minister John Turner is 91. Actress Virginia McKenna is 89. Singer Tom Jones is 80. Actor Ronald Pickup is 80. Poet Nikki Giovanni is 77. Former talk show host Jenny Jones is 74. Americana singer-songwriter Willie Nile is 72. Actress Anne Twomey is 69. Actor Liam Neeson is 68. Actress Colleen Camp is 67. Author Louise Erdrich (UR’-drihk) is 66. Actor William Forsythe is 65. Record producer L.A. Reid is 64. Latin pop singer Juan Luis Guerra is 63. Vice President Mike Pence is 61. Rock singer-musician Gordon Gano (The Violent Femmes) is 57. Rapper Ecstasy (Whodini) is 56. Rock musician Eric Kretz (Stone Temple Pilots) is 54. Rock musician Dave Navarro is 53. Actress Helen Baxendale is 50. Actor Karl Urban is 48. TV personality Bear Grylls is 46. Rock musician Eric Johnson (The Shins) is 44. Actress Adrienne Frantz is 42. Actor-comedian Bill Hader is 42. Actress Anna Torv is 41. Actress Larisa Oleynik (oh-LAY’-nihk) is 39. Former tennis player Anna Kournikova is 39. Actor Michael Cera is 32. Actress Shelley Buckner is 31. Rapper Iggy Azalea is 30. Actress-model Emily Ratajkowski is 29. Rapper Fetty Wap is 29.
Thought for Today: “Two men look out through the same bars: One sees the mud and one the stars.” — Frederick Langbridge, English clergyman and author (1849-1922.)