Today in History

Today is Thursday, March 30, the 89th day of 2017. There are 276 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 30, 1867, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward reached agreement with Russia to purchase the territory of Alaska for $7.2 million (the rough equivalent of $125 million today), a deal ridiculed by critics as “Seward’s Folly.”

On this date:

  • In 1822, Florida became a United States territory.
  • In 1870, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibited denying citizens the right to vote and hold office on the basis of race, was declared in effect by Secretary of State Hamilton Fish. Texas was readmitted to the Union.
  • In 1923, the Cunard liner RMS Laconia became the first passenger ship to circle the globe as it arrived in New York.
  • In 1945, during World War II, the Soviet Union invaded Austria with the goal of taking Vienna, which it accomplished two weeks later.
  • In 1959, a narrowly divided U.S. Supreme Court, in Bartkus v. Illinois, ruled that a conviction in state court following an acquittal in federal court for the same crime did not constitute double jeopardy.
  • In 1964, John Glenn withdrew from the Ohio race for the U.S. Senate because of injuries suffered in a fall. The original version of the TV game show “Jeopardy!” hosted by Art Fleming, premiered on NBC.
  • In 1975, as the Vietnam War neared its end, Communist forces occupied the city of Da Nang. James Ruppert, 41, killed 11 members of his family at his mother’s home in Hamilton, Ohio, on Easter Sunday.
  • In 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot and seriously injured outside a Washington, D.C., hotel by John W. Hinckley, Jr.; also wounded were White House press secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and a District of Columbia police officer, Thomas Delahanty.
  • In 1987, at the 59th Academy Awards, “Platoon” was named best picture; Marlee Matlin received best actress for “Children of a Lesser God” and Paul Newman was honored as best actor for “The Color of Money.”
  • In 1991, Patricia Bowman of Jupiter, Florida, told authorities she’d been raped hours earlier by William Kennedy Smith, the nephew of Sen. Edward Kennedy, at the family’s Palm Beach estate. (Smith was acquitted at trial.)
  • In 2002, Britain’s Queen Mother Elizabeth died at Royal Lodge, Windsor, outside London; she was 101 years old.
  • In 2006, American reporter Jill Carroll, a freelancer for The Christian Science Monitor, was released after 82 days as a hostage in Iraq.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he personally apologized to troops for shoddy conditions there. The Food and Drug Administration said it had found melamine, a chemical used to make plastics, in samples of Menu Foods pet food, as well as in wheat gluten used as an ingredient in the company’s wet-style products.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama said he was plowing ahead with potential sanctions against countries that kept buying oil from Iran, including allies of the United States, in a deepening campaign to starve Tehran of money for its disputed nuclear program. Anthony Davis became the first Kentucky basketball player and second freshman to be selected The Associated Press’ Player of the Year.

One year ago: President Barack Obama commuted the prison sentences of 61 drug offenders, including more than a third serving life sentences. A Hennepin County, Minnesota, prosecutor announced that two Minneapolis police officers involved in the November 2015 fatal shooting of Jamar Clark, a black man, would not face criminal charges, a decision that drew outrage from community members.

Today’s Birthdays: Game show host Peter Marshall is 91. Actor John Astin is 87. Actor-director Warren Beatty is 80. Rock musician Graeme Edge (The Moody Blues) is 76. Rock musician Eric Clapton is 72. Actor Justin Deas is 69. Actor Paul Reiser is 60. Rap artist MC Hammer is 54. Singer Tracy Chapman is 53. Actor Ian Ziering is 53. TV personality Piers Morgan is 52. Actress Donna D’Errico is 49. Singer Celine Dion is 49. Actor Mark Consuelos is 46. Actress Bahar Soomekh is 42. Actress Jessica Cauffiel is 41. Singer Norah Jones is 38. Actress Fiona Gubelmann is 37. Actress Katy Mixon is 36. Actor Jason Dohring is 35. Country singer Justin Moore is 33. Actress Tessa Ferrer is 31. Country singer Thomas Rhett is 27.

Thought for Today: “Prophecy, however honest, is generally a poor substitute for experience.” — Benjamin N. Cardozo, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1870-1938).

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