Today in History

September 23, 2021 GMT

Today in History

Today is Thursday, Sept. 23, the 266th day of 2021. There are 99 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Sept. 23, 1955, a jury in Sumner, Mississippi, acquitted two white men, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, of murdering Black teenager Emmett Till. (The two men later admitted to the crime in an interview with Look magazine.)

On this date:

In 1779, during the Revolutionary War, the American warship Bon Homme Richard, commanded by John Paul Jones, defeated the HMS Serapis in battle off Yorkshire, England; however, the seriously damaged Bon Homme Richard sank two days later.

In 1806, the Lewis and Clark expedition returned to St. Louis more than two years after setting out for the Pacific Northwest.

In 1846, Neptune was identified as a planet by German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle (GAH’-luh).

In 1932, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded.

In 1949, President Harry S. Truman announced there was evidence the Soviet Union had recently conducted a nuclear test explosion. (The test had been carried out on Aug. 29, 1949.)

In 1952, Sen. Richard M. Nixon, R-Calif., salvaged his vice-presidential nomination by appearing on television from Los Angeles to refute allegations of improper campaign fundraising in what became known as the “Checkers” speech.

In 1957, nine Black students who’d entered Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas were forced to withdraw because of a white mob outside.

In 1987, Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., withdrew from the Democratic presidential race following questions about his use of borrowed quotations and the portrayal of his academic record.

In 1999, the Mars Climate Orbiter apparently burned up as it attempted to go into orbit around the Red Planet.

In 2001, President George W. Bush returned the American flag to full staff at Camp David, symbolically ending a period of national mourning following the 9/11 attacks.

In 2002, Gov. Gray Davis signed a law making California the first state to offer workers paid family leave.

In 2018, capping a comeback from four back surgeries, Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship in Atlanta, the 80th victory of his PGA Tour career and his first in more than five years.

Ten years ago: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas took his people’s quest for independence to the United Nations, seeking the world body’s recognition of Palestine and sidestepping negotiations that had foundered for nearly two decades. Pope Benedict XVI, visiting his native Germany, met with victims of sexual abuse by priests and expressed “deep compassion and regret,” according to the Vatican. After 41 years, the soap opera “All My Children” broadcast its final episode on ABC-TV.

Five years ago: Sen. Ted Cruz announced on Facebook he would vote for Donald Trump, a dramatic about-face months after the fiery Texas conservative called the Republican nominee a “pathological liar” and “utterly amoral.” President Barack Obama vetoed a bill to allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia, arguing it undermined national security. (Both the House and Senate voted to override the veto.)

One year ago: A Kentucky grand jury brought no charges against Louisville police for the shooting death of a Black woman, Breonna Taylor, during a failed drug raid; prosecutors said officers were justified in using force to protect themselves after facing gunfire. (Charges of wanton endangerment were filed against fired Officer Bret Hankison for shooting into a neighboring home.) In Louisville and cities nationwide, protesters took to the streets in anger over the killings of Black people by police; two officers in Louisville were shot and wounded during the demonstrations. Police in Portland, Oregon, said protesters hurled firebombs at officers in what police said were the most violent protests Portland had seen in months of unrest. President Donald Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he were to lose the election, telling reporters, “We’re going to have to see what happens.” The parent company of the Uncle Ben’s rice brand changed the name to Ben’s Original and dropped a logo criticized as a racial stereotype. Pro football Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers died at 77.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer Julio Iglesias is 78. Actor Paul Petersen (TV: “The Donna Reed Show”) is 76. Actor/singer Mary Kay Place is 74. Rock star Bruce Springsteen is 72. Director/playwright George C. Wolfe is 67. Rock musician Leon Taylor (The Ventures) is 66. Actor Rosalind Chao is 64. Golfer Larry Mize is 63. Actor Jason Alexander is 62. Actor Chi McBride is 60. Actor Erik Todd Dellums is 57. Actor LisaRaye is 55. Singer Ani (AH’-nee) DiFranco is 51. Rock singer Sam Bettens (K’s Choice) is 49. Recording executive Jermaine Dupri is 49. Actor Kip Pardue is 45. Actor Anthony Mackie is 43. Pop singer Erik-Michael Estrada (TV: “Making the Band”) is 42. Actor Aubrey Dollar is 41. Actor Brandon Victor Dixon is 40. Actor David Lim is 38. Actor Cush Jumbo is 36. Actor Skylar Astin is 34. Former tennis player Melanie Oudin (oo-DAN’) is 30.