Today’s Highlight in History:
On Nov. 24, 1859, British naturalist Charles Darwin published “On the Origin of Species,” which explained his theory of evolution by means of natural selection.
On this date:
In 1865, Mississippi became the first Southern state to enact laws which came to be known as “Black Codes” aimed at limiting the rights of newly freed Blacks; other states of the former Confederacy soon followed.
In 1947, a group of writers, producers and directors that became known as the “Hollywood Ten” was cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions about alleged Communist influence in the movie industry. John Steinbeck’s novel “The Pearl” was first published.
In 1963, Jack Ruby shot and mortally wounded Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy, in a scene captured on live television.
In 1971, a hijacker calling himself “Dan Cooper” (but who became popularly known as “D.B. Cooper”) parachuted from a Northwest Orient Airlines 727 over the Pacific Northwest after receiving $200,000 in ransom; his fate remains unknown.
In 1974, the bone fragments of a 3.2 million-year-old hominid were discovered by scientists in Ethiopia; the skeletal remains were nicknamed “Lucy.”
In 1985, the hijacking of an Egyptair jetliner parked on the ground in Malta ended violently as Egyptian commandos stormed the plane. Fifty-eight people died in the raid, in addition to two others killed by the hijackers.
In 1987, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed on terms to scrap shorter- and medium-range missiles. (The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev the following month.)
In 1991, rock singer Freddie Mercury died in London at age 45 of AIDS-related pneumonia.
In 1995, voters in Ireland narrowly approved a constitutional amendment legalizing divorce.
In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped into the bitter, overtime struggle for the White House, agreeing to consider George W. Bush’s appeal against the hand recounting of ballots in Florida.
In 2014, it was announced that a grand jury in St. Louis County, Missouri, had decided against indicting Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown; the decision enraged protesters who set fire to buildings and cars and looted businesses in the area where Brown had been fatally shot.
In 2017, militants attacked a crowded mosque in Egypt with gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades, killing more than 300 people in the deadliest-ever attack by Islamic extremists in the country.
Ten years ago: A jury in Austin convicted former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, on charges he’d illegally funneled corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002. (DeLay’s convictions were overturned on appeal.)
Five years ago: In a show of Western solidarity, President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande met at the White House, where they vowed to escalate airstrikes against the Islamic State and bolster intelligence sharing following the deadly attacks in Paris. A suicide bomber struck a bus carrying members of Tunisia’s presidential guard in the country’s capital, killing 12 victims. Turkey shot down a Russian warplane that it said ignored repeated warnings after crossing into its airspace from Syria, killing one of the two pilots. (Turkey later formally apologized for the shootdown.)
One year ago: Billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg formally launched a Democratic bid for president. (Bloomberg would end his campaign in early March.) With multiple wins at the American Music Awards, Taylor Swift surged past Michael Jackson’s record of 24 wins at the awards show, based on fan votes. Defense Secretary Mark Esper fired the Navy’s top official, Richard Spencer, ending a clash between President Donald Trump and top military leadership over the fate of a SEAL accused of war crimes in Iraq. Disney’s “Frozen” sequel took in $127 million domestically and $350 million worldwide in its opening weekend, breaking several records.
Today’s Birthdays: Basketball Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson is 82. Country singer Johnny Carver is 80. Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue (TAG’-lee-uh-boo) is 80. Rock drummer Pete Best is 79. Actor-comedian Billy Connolly is 78. Former White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater is 78. Former congressman and Motion Picture Association of America Chairman Dan Glickman is 76. Singer Lee Michaels is 75. Actor Dwight Schultz is 73. Actor Stanley Livingston is 70. Rock musician Clem Burke (Blondie; The Romantics) is 66. Actor/director Ruben Santiago-Hudson is 64. Actor Denise Crosby is 63. Actor Shae D’Lyn is 58. Rock musician John Squire (The Stone Roses) is 58. Rock musician Gary Stonadge (Big Audio) is 58. Actor Conleth Hill is 56. Actor-comedian Brad Sherwood is 56. Actor Garret Dillahunt is 56. Actor-comedian Scott Krinsky is 52. Rock musician Chad Taylor (Live) is 50. Actor Lola Glaudini is 49. Actor Danielle Nicolet is 47. Actor-writer-director-producer Stephen Merchant is 46. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Chen Lu is 44. Actor Colin Hanks is 43. Actor Katherine Heigl (HY’-guhl) is 42. Actor Sarah Hyland is 30.