Today’s Highlight in History:
On July 26, 1775, the Continental Congress established a Post Office and appointed Benjamin Franklin its Postmaster-General.
On this date:
In 1788, New York became the 11th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
In 1847, the western African country of Liberia, founded by freed American slaves, declared its independence.
In 1908, U.S. Attorney General Charles J. Bonaparte ordered creation of a force of special agents that was a forerunner of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In 1945, the Potsdam Declaration warned Imperial Japan to unconditionally surrender, or face “prompt and utter destruction.” Winston Churchill resigned as Britain’s prime minister after his Conservatives were soundly defeated by the Labour Party; Clement Attlee succeeded him.
In 1953, Fidel Castro began his revolt against Fulgencio Batista (fool-HEN’-see-oh bah-TEES’-tah) with an unsuccessful attack on an army barracks in eastern Cuba. (Castro ousted Batista in 1959.)
In 1956, the Italian liner Andrea Doria sank off New England, some 11 hours after colliding with the Swedish liner Stockholm; at least 51 people died, from both vessels.
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In 2002, the Republican-led House voted, 295-132, to create an enormous Homeland Security Department in the biggest government reorganization in decades.
In 2006, in a dramatic turnaround from her first murder trial, Andrea Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity by a Houston jury in the bathtub drownings of her five children; she was committed to a state mental hospital.
In 2013, Ariel Castro, the man who’d imprisoned three women in his Cleveland home, subjecting them to a decade of rapes and beatings, pleaded guilty to 937 counts in a deal to avoid the death penalty. (Castro later committed suicide in prison.)
In 2016, Hillary Clinton became the first woman to be nominated for president by a major political party at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
In 2017, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he would not “accept or allow” transgender people to serve in the U.S. military. (After a legal battle, the Defense Department approved a new policy requiring most individuals to serve in their birth gender.)
Ten years ago: The White House threatened to veto emergency House legislation that aimed to avert a threatened national default. Democratic Rep. David Wu of Oregon announced he would resign amid the political fallout from an 18-year-old woman’s allegations of an unwanted sexual encounter with him, charges that Wu denied.
Five years ago: A former employee stabbed 19 disabled people to death and injured two dozen others at a residential care facility in Japan. (Satoshi Uematsu, who said he was trying to help the world by killing people he thought were burdens, was sentenced to death.)
One year ago: A processional with the casket of the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama, where Lewis and other civil rights marchers were beaten 55 years earlier. Authorities declared a riot in Portland, Oregon, after protesters breached a fence surrounding the city’s federal courthouse; thousands had gathered for another night of protests over the killing of George Floyd and the presence of federal agents. Florida surpassed New York as the state with the second-most confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., behind only California. A day after roaring ashore as a hurricane, Hanna lashed the Texas Gulf Coast with high winds and drenching rains. Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland, best known as the kindly Melanie in “Gone With the Wind,” died at her home in Paris at the age of 104.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Robert Colbert is 90. Actor-singer Darlene Love is 80. Singer Brenton Wood is 80.
Rock star Mick Jagger is 78. Movie director Peter Hyams is 78. Actor Helen Mirren is 76. Rock musician Roger Taylor (Queen) is 72. Actor Susan George is 71. Olympic gold medal figure skater Dorothy Hamill is 65. Actor Nana Visitor is 64. Actor Kevin Spacey is 62. Rock singer Gary Cherone is 60. Actor Sandra Bullock is 57. Actor-comedian Danny Woodburn is 57. Rock singer Jim Lindberg (Pennywise) is 56. Actor Jeremy Piven is 56. Rapper-reggae singer Wayne Wonder is 55. Actor Jason Statham (STAY’-thum) is 54. Actor Cress Williams is 51. TV host Chris Harrison is 50. Actor Kate Beckinsale is 48. Actor Gary Owen is 48. Rock musician Dan Konopka (OK Go) is 47. Gospel/Contemporary Christian singer Rebecca St. James is 44. Actor Eve Myles is 43. Actor Juliet Rylance is 42. Actor Monica Raymund is 35. Actor Caitlin Gerard is 33. Actor Francia Raisa is 33. Actor Bianca Santos is 31. Actor-singer Taylor Momsen is 28. Actor Elizabeth Gillies is 28.