Today’s Highlight in History:
On Sept. 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria, the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years, struck the island, wiping out as much as 75 percent of the power distribution lines and causing an island-wide blackout.
On this date:
In 1519, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew set out from Spain on five ships to find a western passage to the Spice Islands. (Magellan was killed enroute, but one of his ships eventually circled the world.)
In 1873, panic swept the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in the wake of railroad bond defaults and bank failures.
In 1881, Chester A. Arthur was sworn in as the 21st president of the United States, succeeding the assassinated James A. Garfield.
In 1958, Martin Luther King Jr. was seriously wounded during a book signing at a New York City department store when he was stabbed in the chest by Izola Curry. (Curry was later found mentally incompetent; she died at a Queens, New York, nursing home in 2015 at age 98.)
In 1962, James Meredith, a Black student, was blocked from enrolling at the University of Mississippi by Democratic Gov. Ross R. Barnett. (Meredith was later admitted.)
In 1963, President Kennedy proposed a joint U-S-Soviet expedition to the moon.
In 1967, the Cunard liner RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 was christened by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in Clydebank, Scotland.
In 1973, singer-songwriter Jim Croce died in a plane crash near Natchitoches, Louisiana; he was 30.
In 1984, a suicide car bomber attacked the U.S. Embassy annex in north Beirut, killing at least 14 people, including two Americans and 12 Lebanese. The family sitcoms “The Cosby Show” and “Who’s the Boss?” premiered on NBC and ABC, respectively.
In 1995, in a move that stunned Wall Street, AT&T Corporation announced it was splitting into three companies.
In 2000, Independent Counsel Robert Ray announced the end of the Whitewater investigation, saying there was insufficient evidence to warrant charges against President and Mrs. Clinton.
In 2001, during an address to a joint session of Congress, President George W. Bush announced a new Cabinet-level office to fortify homeland security and named Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge its director.
Ten years ago: The United Nations opened a three-day Millennium Development Goals summit to assess members’ progress in the decade since promising to end global poverty. President Barack Obama reached out to skeptical voters who were still hurting long after the declared end of the recession, imploring them to stick with him in upcoming midterm congressional elections.
Five years ago: Pope Francis met with Fidel Castro after urging tens of thousands of Cubans to serve one another and not an ideology during a Mass in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution. The CEO of Volkswagen apologized and VW customers said they felt duped after the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that the German automaker had skirted clean air rules by rigging emissions tests for about 500,000 diesel cars. At the Emmys, the HBO series “Game of Thrones” won a record 12 awards; Viola Davis became the first Black woman to win an Emmy for best drama series actress for “How to Get Away with Murder.” Poet C.K. Williams, 78, died in Hopewell, New Jersey. Actor Jack Larson, 87, TV’s Jimmy Olsen in “Adventures of Superman,” died in Los Angeles.
One year ago: President Donald Trump angrily defended himself against a complaint from an intelligence official over his contacts with the president of Ukraine; he said the complaint came from a “partisan whistleblower,” even though Trump also said he didn’t know who had made it. Walmart said it would stop selling electronic cigarettes at its namesake stores and at Sam’s Clubs in the U.S. once it sold out of its existing inventory. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged that he had let down his supporters, and all Canadians of color, by appearing years earlier in brownface and blackface. Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, the 1979 site of the nation’s worst commercial nuclear power accident, was shut down by its owner after producing electricity for 45 years. Antonio Brown was released by the New England Patriots after a second woman accused him of sexual misconduct; he had played just one game since being signed by the Patriots.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Sophia Loren is 86. Rock musician Chuck Panozzo is 72. Actor Tony Denison is 71. Hockey Hall of Famer Guy LaFleur is 69. Actor Debbi Morgan is 69. Jazz musician Peter White is 66. Actor Betsy Brantley is 65. Actor Gary Cole is 64. TV news correspondent Deborah Roberts is 60. Country-rock musician Joseph Shreve (Flynnville Train) is 59. Rock musician Randy Bradbury (Pennywise) is 56. Actor Kristen Johnston is 53. Rock singers Gunnar and Matthew Nelson are 53. Rock musician Ben Shepherd is 52. Actor Enuka Okuma is 48. Actor-model Moon Bloodgood is 45. Actor Jon Bernthal is 44. Singer The-Dream is 43. Actor Charlie Weber is 42. Rock musician Rick Woolstenhulme (WOOL’-sten-hyoolm) (Lifehouse) is 41. Rapper Yung Joc is 40. Actor Crystle Stewart is 39. Actor Aldis Hodge is 34. Rock drummer Jack Lawless is 33. Actor Malachi (MAL’-ah-ky) Kirby is 31.