Today in History

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Today is Tuesday, Nov. 21, the 325th day of 2017. There are 40 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Nov. 21, 1942, the Alaska Highway, also known as the Alcan Highway, was formally opened at Soldier’s Summit in the Yukon Territory.

Email newsletter signup

On this date:

In 1789, North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed a letter expressing condolences to Lydia Bixby, a Boston widow whose five sons supposedly died while fighting in the Civil War. (As it turned out, only two of Mrs. Bixby’s sons had been killed.)

In 1922, Rebecca L. Felton, a Georgia Democrat, was sworn in as the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate; her term, the result of an interim appointment, ended the following day as Walter F. George, the winner of a special election, took office.

In 1927, picketing strikers at the Columbine Mine in northern Colorado were fired on by state police; six miners were killed.

In 1934, the Cole Porter musical “Anything Goes,” starring Ethel Merman as Reno Sweeney, opened on Broadway.

In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Air Quality Act.

In 1969, the Senate voted down the Supreme Court nomination of Clement F. Haynsworth, 55-45, the first such rejection since 1930.

In 1973, President Richard Nixon’s attorney, J. Fred Buzhardt (buh-ZAHRDT’), revealed the existence of an 18-1/2-minute gap in one of the White House tape recordings related to Watergate.

In 1974, bombs exploded at a pair of pubs in Birmingham, England, killing 21 people. (Six suspects were convicted of the attack, but the convictions of the so-called “Birmingham Six” were overturned in 1991.)

In 1980, 87 people died in a fire at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. An estimated 83 million TV viewers tuned in to the CBS prime-time soap opera “Dallas” to find out “who shot J.R.” (The shooter turned out to be J.R. Ewing’s sister-in-law, Kristin Shepard.)

In 1985, U.S. Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Jay Pollard was arrested, accused of spying for Israel. (Pollard later pleaded guilty to espionage and was sentenced to life in prison; he was released on parole on Nov. 20, 2015.)

In 1992, a three-day tornado outbreak that struck 13 states began in the Houston area before spreading to the Midwest and eastern U.S.; 26 people were killed. Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., issued an apology but refused to discuss allegations that he’d made unwelcome sexual advances toward ten women over the years. (Faced with a threat of expulsion, Packwood ended up resigning from the Senate in 1995.)

Ten years ago: New Hampshire set its earliest-ever presidential primary, deciding on Jan. 8, 2008. Officials announced the recall of more than a half-million pieces of Chinese-made children’s jewelry contaminated with lead. Engineer Herbert Saffir, who created the five-category system used to describe hurricane strength, died in Miami at age 90.

Five years ago: Two weeks after he was re-elected to a ninth full term in Congress, Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois quietly resigned in a letter in which he acknowledged an ongoing federal investigation. (Jackson would eventually be sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for illegally spending campaign money.) Israel and the Hamas militant group in Gaza agreed to a cease-fire to end eight days of the fiercest fighting in nearly four years.

One year ago: President-elect Donald Trump held court from his perch high above Manhattan, receiving a line of former rivals, longtime allies and TV executives while overseeing his White House transition. An elementary school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee, claimed the lives of six children.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Joseph Campanella is 93. Actor Laurence Luckinbill is 83. Actress Marlo Thomas is 80. Actor Rick Lenz is 78. Singer Dr. John is 77. Actress Juliet Mills is 76. Basketball Hall of Famer Earl Monroe is 73. Television producer Marcy Carsey is 73. Actress Goldie Hawn is 72. Movie director Andrew Davis is 71. Rock musician Lonnie Jordan (War) is 69. Singer Livingston Taylor is 67. Actress-singer Lorna Luft is 65. Actress Cherry Jones is 61. Rock musician Brian Ritchie (The Violent Femmes) is 57. Gospel singer Steven Curtis Chapman is 55. Actress Nicollette Sheridan is 54. Singer-actress Bjork (byork) is 52. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman is 51. Rhythm-and-blues singer Chauncey Hannibal (BLACKstreet) is 49. Rock musician Alex James (Blur) is 49. Baseball Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. is 48. TV personality Rib Hillis is 47. Rapper Pretty Lou (Lost Boyz) is 46. Football player-turned-TV personality Michael Strahan (STRAY’-han) is 46. Actress Rain Phoenix is 45. Country singer Kelsi Osborn (SHeDAISY) is 43. Actor Jimmi Simpson is 42. Singer-actress Lindsey Haun is 33. Actress Jena Malone is 33. Pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen is 32. Actor-singer Sam Palladio is 30.