Today’s Highlight in History:
On July 17, 1821, Spain ceded Florida to the United States.
On this date:
In 1862, during the Civil War, Congress approved the Second Confiscation Act, which declared that all slaves taking refuge behind Union lines were to be set free.
In 1918, Russia’s Czar Nicholas II and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks.
In 1936, the Spanish Civil War began as right-wing army generals launched a coup attempt against the Second Spanish Republic.
In 1944, during World War II, 320 men, two-thirds of them African-Americans, were killed when a pair of ammunition ships exploded at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in California.
In 1945, following Nazi Germany’s surrender, President Harry S. Truman, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill began meeting at Potsdam in the final Allied summit of World War II.
In 1955, Disneyland had its opening day in Anaheim, California.
In 1975, an Apollo spaceship docked with a Soyuz spacecraft in orbit in the first superpower link-up of its kind.
In 1981, 114 people were killed when a pair of suspended walkways above the lobby of the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel collapsed during a tea dance.
In 1987, 35 years ago, the film “RoboCop” was released in theaters.
In 1996, TWA Flight 800, a Europe-bound Boeing 747, exploded and crashed off Long Island, New York, shortly after departing John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 230 people on board.
In 2009, former CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite died in New York at 92.
In 2014, Eric Garner, a Black man accused of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, died shortly after being wrestled to the ground by New York City police officers; a video of the takedown showed Garner repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe.” (Garner’s family received $5.9 million from the city in 2015 to settle a wrongful death claim.) All 298 passengers and crew aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were killed when the Boeing 777 was shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine; both Ukraine’s government and pro-Russian separatists denied responsibility.
In 2020, civil rights icon John Lewis, whose bloody beating by Alabama state troopers in 1965 helped galvanize opposition to racial segregation, and who went on to a long and celebrated career in Congress, died at the age of 80.
Ten years ago: Israel plunged toward a political crisis after the largest party in the government quit, leaving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in charge of a hard-line coalition opposed to most Mideast peace moves.
Five years ago: The latest Republican effort to repeal and replace “Obamacare” was dealt a fatal blow in the Senate when two more Republican senators announced their opposition to the measure. A white former Texas police officer, Roy Oliver, was indicted on a murder charge in the April shooting death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, who was in a car with four other Black teens when he was shot. (Oliver would be convicted of murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison.) A Georgia jury said CSX Transportation should pay $3.9 million to the family of a movie worker killed on a railroad trestle in 2014 during the filming of a movie about musician Gregg Allman.
One year ago: Syrian President Bashar Assad was sworn in for a fourth seven-year term in the war-torn country, pledging to overcome the impact of Western economic sanctions and retake territory still out of his control after 10 years of fighting. A baseball game between the San Diego Padres and the Washington Nationals was suspended in the sixth inning after a shooting outside Nationals Park that left three people injured; echoes of gunfire in the stadium prompted some fans to scramble for safety in the dugout.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Donald Sutherland is 87. Sportscaster Verne Lundquist is 82. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is 75. Rock musician Terry “Geezer” Butler is 73. Actor Lucie Arnaz is 71. Actor David Hasselhoff is 70. Rock musician Fran Smith Jr. (The Hooters) is 70. Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel is 68. Television producer Mark Burnett is 62. Actor Nancy Giles is 62. Singer Regina Belle is 59. Country singer Craig Morgan is 58. Rock musician Lou Barlow is 56. Contemporary Christian singer Susan Ashton is 55. Actor Andre Royo is 54. Actor Bitty Schram is 54. Actor Jason Clarke is 53. Movie director F. Gary Gray is 53. Rapper Sole’ is 49.
Country singer Luke Bryan is 46. Actor Eric Winter is 46. Actor Mike Vogel is 43. Actor Tom Cullen is 37. Actor Brando Eaton is 36. R&B singer Jeremih (jehr-uh-MY’) is 35. Actor Summer Bishil is 34. Actor Billie Lourd is 30. Actor Leo Howard is 25.