Today in History

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Today is Tuesday, Jan. 16, the 16th day of 2018. There are 349 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 16, 1978, NASA named 35 candidates to fly on the space shuttle, including Sally K. Ride, who became America’s first woman in space, and Guion S. Bluford Jr., who became America’s first black astronaut in space.

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On this date:

In 27 B.C., Caesar Augustus was declared the first Emperor of the Roman Empire by the Senate.

In 1547, Ivan IV of Russia (popularly known as “Ivan the Terrible”) was crowned Czar.

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 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 (It was later repealed by the 21st Amendment.)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 1935, fugitive gangster Fred Barker and his mother, Kate “Ma” Barker, were killed in a shootout with the FBI at Lake Weir, Florida.

In 1942, actress Carole Lombard, 33, her mother, Elizabeth, and 20 other people were killed when their plane crashed near Las Vegas, Nevada, while en route to California from a war-bond promotion tour.

In 1957, three B-52’s took off from Castle Air Force Base in California on the first non-stop, round-the-world flight by jet planes, which lasted 45 hours and 19 minutes. Classical music conductor Arturo Toscanini died in New York at age 89.

In 1967, Alan S. Boyd was sworn in as the first U.S. secretary of transportation.

In 1988, Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder was fired as a CBS Sports commentator, one day after telling a reporter for WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. that, during the era of slavery, blacks had been bred to produce stronger offspring.

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 1998, NASA announced that John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, would fly aboard the space shuttle later in the year.

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.)

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush closed out his Mideast trip with a brief visit to Egypt, where he was welcomed by President Hosni Mubarak (HOHS’-nee moo-BAH’-rahk). Archbishop Earl Paulk, the 80-year-old leader of a megachurch, pleaded guilty in Atlanta to lying under oath about his sexual affairs and was sentenced to 10 years’ probation. (Paulk died in March 2009.)

Five years ago: President Barack Obama unveiled the most sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence in two decades, pressing a reluctant Congress to pass universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting. (Both proposals went down to defeat.) The federal government temporarily grounded Boeing’s newest and most technologically advanced jetliner, declaring that U.S. carriers could not fly the 787 Dreamliner again until the risk of battery fires was addressed. (The grounding order was lifted three months later.) Pauline Friedman Phillips, better known as advice columnist Dear Abby, died in Minneapolis at age 94.

One year ago: Turkish authorities captured an Uzbek national suspected of killing 39 people during an attack on an Istanbul nightclub during New Year’s celebrations. A shooting attack at an electronic music festival in Mexico’s Caribbean coastal resort of Playa del Carmen left five people dead, including three foreigners. President Barack Obama, his days in office dwindling, celebrated the World Series champion Chicago Cubs at the White House. Former NASA astronaut Eugene Cernan, to date the last man to walk on the moon, died in Houston at age 82.

Today’s Birthdays: Author William Kennedy is 90. Author-editor Norman Podhoretz is 88. Opera singer Marilyn Horne is 84. Hall of Fame auto racer A.J. Foyt is 83. Singer Barbara Lynn is 76. Country singer Ronnie Milsap is 75. Singer Katherine Anderson Schaffner (The Marvelettes) is 74. Country singer Jim Stafford is 74. Talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger is 71. Movie director John Carpenter is 70. Actress-dancer-choreographer Debbie Allen is 68. Rhythm-and-blues singer Maxine Jones (En Vogue) is 59. Singer Sade (shah-DAY’) is 59. Pop/rock singer-songwriter Jill Sobule is 59. Rock musician Paul Webb (Talk Talk) is 56. Actor David Chokachi (CHOH’-kuh-chee) is 50. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is 49. Actor-writer-director Josh Evans is 47. Actor-comedian Jonathan Mangum is 47. Actor Richard T. Jones is 46. Actress Josie Davis is 45. Model Kate Moss is 44. Actor-playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda is 38. Country musician James Young (The Eli Young Band) is 38. Rock musician Nick Valensi (The Strokes) is 37. Actress Renee Felice Smith is 33. NFL quaterback Joe Flacco is 33. Actress Yvonne Zima is 29.