Today’s Highlight in History:
On Oct. 7, 1954, Marian Anderson became the first black singer hired by the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York. (Anderson made her Met debut in January 1955 playing the role of Ulrica in Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera.”)
On this date:
In 1777, the second Battle of Saratoga began during the American Revolution. (British forces under Gen. John Burgoyne surrendered 10 days later.)
In 1849, author Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore at age 40.
In 1858, the fifth debate between Illinois senatorial candidates Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas took place in Galesburg.
In 1929, former Interior Secretary Albert B. Fall, one of the main figures of the Teapot Dome scandal, went on trial, charged with accepting a bribe from oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny. (Fall was found guilty and sentenced to a year in prison; he served nine months. Doheny was acquitted at his own trial of offering the bribe Fall was convicted of taking.)
In 1949, the Republic of East Germany was formed.
In 1960, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy and Republican opponent Richard Nixon held their second televised debate, this one in Washington.
In 1979, Pope John Paul II concluded his weeklong tour of the United States with a Mass on the Washington Mall.
In 1982, the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical “Cats” opened on Broadway. (The show closed Sept. 10, 2000, after a record 7,485 performances.)
In 1985, Palestinian gunmen hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro (ah-KEE’-leh LOW’-roh) in the Mediterranean. (The hijackers, who killed Jewish American tourist Leon Klinghoffer, surrendered two days after taking over the ship.)
In 1989, Hungary’s Communist Party renounced Marxism in favor of democratic socialism during a party congress in Budapest.
In 1991, University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill publicly accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of making sexually inappropriate comments when she worked for him; Thomas denied Hill’s allegations.
In 2001, the current war in Afghanistan started as the United States and Britain launched air attacks against military targets and Osama bin Laden’s training camps in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney conceded that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction as they tried to shift the Iraq war debate to a new issue, arguing that Saddam was abusing a U.N. oil-for-food program. Two bombs exploded at a gathering of Sunni (SOO’-nee) Muslim radicals in Multan, Pakistan, killing some three dozen people. Cambodia’s King Norodom Sihanouk (nor-oh-DAHM’ see-AHN’-ook) abdicated because of poor health. Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek (ehl-FREE’-duh YEHL’-ih-nehk) won the Nobel Prize in literature.
Five years ago: A top Italian court overturned a law granting Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi immunity from prosecution, allowing trials for corruption and tax fraud to resume in Milan. (Berlusconi was later convicted of tax fraud relating to the purchase of TV rights to U.S. films on his Mediaset network; the corruption trial ended with a court ruling that the statute of limitations had run out.) Americans Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas Steitz and Israeli Ada Yonath won the Nobel Prize in chemistry. Fashion and celebrity photographer Irving Penn died in New York at 92.
One year ago: The partial federal government shutdown lingered, rattling markets in the U.S. and overseas while a gridlocked Congress betrayed little or no urgency toward resolving the impasse. Americans James Rothman and Randy Schekman and German-born researcher Thomas Suedhof won the Nobel Prize in medicine for discoveries on how proteins and other materials are transported within cells.
Today’s Birthdays: Retired South African Archbishop and Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu is 83. Comedian Joy Behar is 72. Former National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Oliver North (ret.) is 71. Rock musician Kevin Godley (10cc) is 69. Actress Jill Larson is 67. Country singer Kieran Kane is 65. Singer John Mellencamp is 63. Rock musician Ricky Phillips is 63. Actress Mary Badham (Film: “To Kill a Mockingbird”) is 62. Actress Christopher Norris is 61. Rock musician Tico Torres (Bon Jovi) is 61. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma is 59. Gospel singer Michael W. Smith is 57. Olympic gold medal ice dancer Jayne Torvill is 57. Actor Dylan Baker is 56. Recording executive and TV personality Simon Cowell is 55. Rock musician Charlie Marinkovich (Iron Butterfly) is 55. Country singer Dale Watson is 52. Pop singer Ann Curless (Expose) is 51. Rhythm-and-blues singer Toni Braxton is 47. Rock singer-musician Thom Yorke (Radiohead) is 46. Rock musician-dancer Leeroy Thornhill is 45. Actress Nicole Ari Parker is 44. Actress Allison Munn is 40. Rock singer-musician Damian Kulash (KOO’-lahsh) is 39. Singer Taylor Hicks is 38. Actor Omar Benson Miller is 36. Electronic musician Flying Lotus (AKA Stephen Ellison) is 31. MLB player Evan Longoria is 29. Actress Holland Roden is 28. Actress Amber Stevens is 28. Actress Lulu Wilson is 9.
Thought for Tuesday:
“If your contribution has been vital, there will always be somebody to pick up where you left off, and that will be your claim to immortality.”
– Walter Gropius, German-American architect (1883-1969).
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