Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 16, 2020, the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump opened in the Senate, with senators standing and swearing an oath of “impartial justice.” Trump again denounced the proceedings as a “hoax,” while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said new evidence reinforced the need to call additional witnesses.
On this date:
In 1865, Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman decreed that 400,000 acres of land in the South would be divided into 40-acre lots and given to former slaves. (The order, later revoked by President Andrew Johnson, is believed to have inspired the expression, “Forty acres and a mule.”)
In 1912, a day before reaching the South Pole, British explorer Robert Scott and his expedition found evidence that Roald Amundsen of Norway and his team had gotten there ahead of them.
In 1919, pianist and statesman Ignacy Jan Paderewski (pah-dehr-EHF’-skee) became the first premier of the newly created Republic of Poland.
In 1920, Prohibition began in the United States as the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution took effect, one year to the day after its ratification. (It was later repealed by the 21st Amendment.)
In 1969, two manned Soviet Soyuz spaceships became the first vehicles to dock in space and transfer personnel.
In 1987, Hu Yaobang resigned as head of China’s Communist Party, declaring he’d made mistakes in dealing with student turmoil and intellectual challenges to the system.
In 1989, three days of rioting began in Miami when a police officer fatally shot Clement Lloyd, a Black motorcyclist, causing a crash that also claimed the life of Lloyd’s passenger, Allan Blanchard. (The officer, William Lozano, was convicted of manslaughter, but then was acquitted in a retrial.)
In 1991, the White House announced the start of Operation Desert Storm to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. (Allied forces prevailed on Feb. 28, 1991.)
In 2002, Richard Reid was indicted in Boston on federal charges alleging he’d tried to blow up a U.S.-bound jetliner with explosives hidden in his shoes. (Reid later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.)
In 2003, the space shuttle Columbia blasted off for what turned out to be its last flight; on board was Israel’s first astronaut, Ilan Ramon (ee-LAHN’ rah-MOHN’). (The mission ended in tragedy on Feb. 1, when the shuttle broke up during its return descent, killing all seven crew members.)
In 2006, Africa’s first elected female head of state, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was sworn in as Liberia’s new president.
In 2007, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois launched his successful bid for the White House.
Ten years ago: Former Haitian strongman Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who’d been living in exile in France, made a surprise return to Haiti as the country wrestled with a political crisis, cholera outbreak and stalled reconstruction from a devastating earthquake. “The Social Network” won top movie honors at the Golden Globes with four prizes, including best drama and director; top TV honors went to “Boardwalk Empire” and “Glee.”
Five years ago: The U.N. nuclear agency certified that Iran had met all of its commitments under a landmark deal, prompting the West to lift economic sanctions that had been in place for years. Taiwan elected Tsai Ing-wen as its first female president, handing her pro-independence party its first majority in the national legislature. Former NFL coach Ted Marchibroda, 84, died in Weems, Virginia.
One year ago: Health authorities in China announced that a second person had died from a new coronavirus. The Senate overwhelmingly approved a pact rewriting the rules of trade with Canada and Mexico. Six months after becoming president and CEO of the Recording Academy, Deborah Dugan was placed on “administrative leave”; she said she was ousted after complaining of sexual harassment and questioning the integrity of the Grammy nominations process. (Dugan was fired weeks later.) The New York Mets announced that they and manager Carlos Beltrán had agreed to “mutually part ways”; the former Houston Astros player had been the only player mentioned by name when Major League Baseball issued its findings from an investigation of sign-stealing by the Astros.
Today’s Birthdays: Author William Kennedy is 93. Author-editor Norman Podhoretz is 91. Opera singer Marilyn Horne is 87. Hall of Fame auto racer A.J. Foyt is 86. Singer Barbara Lynn is 79.
Country singer Ronnie Milsap is 78. Singer Katherine Anderson Schaffner (The Marvelettes) is 77. Country singer Jim Stafford is 77. Talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger is 74. Movie director John Carpenter is 73. Actor-dancer-choreographer Debbie Allen is 71. Rhythm-and-blues singer Maxine Jones (En Vogue) is 62. Singer Sade (shah-DAY’) is 62. Pop/rock singer-songwriter Jill Sobule is 62. Rock musician Paul Webb (Talk Talk) is 59. Actor David Chokachi (CHOH’-kuh-chee) is 53. Former Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is 52. Actor-writer-director Josh Evans is 50. Actor-comedian Jonathan Mangum is 50. Actor Richard T. Jones is 49. Actor Josie Davis is 48. Model Kate Moss is 47. Actor-playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda is 41. Country musician James Young (The Eli Young Band) is 41. Rock musician Nick Valensi (The Strokes) is 40. Actor Renee Felice Smith is 36. NFL quaterback Joe Flacco is 36. Actor Yvonne Zima is 32.