Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, September 23, the 266th day of 2015. There are 99 days left in the year. Autumn arrives at 4:21 a.m. Eastern time.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On September 23, 1952, in what became known as the “Checkers” speech, Sen. Richard M. Nixon, R-Calif., salvaged his vice-presidential nomination by appearing live on television to refute allegations of improper campaign fundraising.

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 1780, British spy John Andre was captured along with papers revealing Benedict Arnold’s plot to surrender West Point to the British.

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 1908, an apparent baserunning error by Fred Merkle of the New York Giants cost his team a victory against the Chicago Cubs and left the game tied 1-1. The Cubs won a rematch and with it, the National League pennant.

In 1939, Sigmund Freud (froyd), the founder of psychoanalysis, died in London at age 83.

In 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.)

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 1962, New York’s Philharmonic Hall (later renamed Avery Fisher Hall) formally opened as the first unit of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. “The Jetsons,” an animated cartoon series about a Space Age family, premiered as the ABC television network’s first program in color.

In 1973, former Argentine president Juan Peron won a landslide election victory that returned him to power; his wife, Isabel, was elected vice president.

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.

Ten years ago: Hurricane Rita, down to Category 3, steamed toward refinery towns along the Texas-Louisiana coast, creating havoc even before it arrived; levee breaks caused new flooding in New Orleans, and 23 people were killed when a bus carrying nursing-home evacuees caught fire in Texas. Embattled FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford abruptly resigned. Puerto Rican nationalist Filiberto Ojeda Rios, wanted in a 1983 robbery of a Connecticut armored truck, died during a gunbattle with FBI agents in Puerto Rico.

Five years ago: The U.S. delegation walked out of a U.N. speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (ah-muh-DEE’-neh-zhahd) after he said some in the world had speculated that the U.S. staged the September 11, 2001 attacks in an attempt to assure Israel’s survival. Congressional Republicans unveiled their “Pledge to America,” a strongly worded manifesto promising to return government to the people. Teresa Lewis, 41, was executed by the state of Virginia for arranging the killings of her husband and stepson to collect on a $250,000 insurance policy. The children’s show “Sesame Street” announced it wouldn’t televise a taped segment in which the Muppet character Elmo sang with bustier-clad pop star Katy Perry.

One year ago: In the first international test for his climate-change strategy, President Barack Obama pressed world leaders at the United Nations to follow the United States’ lead on the issue. The U.S. struck the al-Qaida-linked Khorasan group with Tomahawk missiles and other ordnance near Aleppo in northwestern Syria based on fears it was planning terrorist attacks on the U.S. and Europe. A man wearing his work uniform opened fire inside a UPS sorting facility in Birmingham, Alabama, a day after he was fired from the company, killing two supervisors before committing suicide.

(Stations: “LisaRaye,” one name, is correct)

Today’s Birthdays: Singer Julio Iglesias is 72. Actor Paul Petersen (TV: “The Donna Reed Show”) is 70. Actress-singer Mary Kay Place is 68. Rock star Bruce Springsteen is 66. Rock musician Leon Taylor (The Ventures) is 60. Actress Rosalind Chao is 58. Golfer Larry Mize is 57. Actor Jason Alexander is 56. Actor Chi McBride is 54. Country musician Don Herron (BR549) is 53. Actor Erik Todd Dellums is 51. Actress LisaRaye is 49. Singer Ani (AH’-nee) DiFranco is 45. Rock singer Sarah Bettens (K’s Choice) is 43. Recording executive Jermaine Dupri is 43. Actor Kip Pardue is 39. Actor Anthony Mackie is 37. Pop singer Erik-Michael Estrada (TV: “Making the Band”) is 36. Actress Aubrey Dollar is 35. Tennis player Melanie Oudin (oo-DAN’) is 24.

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