Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, July 8, the 189th day of 2015. There are 176 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On July 8, 1776, Col. John Nixon gave the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, outside the State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia.

On this date:

In 1663, King Charles II of England granted a Royal Charter to Rhode Island.

In 1853, an expedition led by Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Yedo Bay, Japan, on a mission to seek diplomatic and trade relations with the Japanese.

In 1889, The Wall Street Journal was first published.

In 1907, Florenz Ziegfeld staged his first “Follies,” on the roof of the New York Theater.

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson received a tumultuous welcome in New York City after his return from the Versailles (vehr-SY’) Peace Conference in France.

In 1947, demolition work began in New York City to make way for the new permanent headquarters of the United Nations.

In 1950, President Harry S. Truman named Gen. Douglas MacArthur commander-in-chief of United Nations forces in Korea. (Truman ended up sacking MacArthur for insubordination nine months later.)

In 1965, Canadian Pacific Air Lines Flight 21, a Douglas DC-6B, crashed in British Columbia after the tail separated from the fuselage; all 52 people on board were killed in what authorities said was the result of an apparent bombing.

In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford announced he would seek a second term of office.

In 1989, Carlos Saul Menem was inaugurated as president of Argentina in the country’s first transfer of power from one democratically elected civilian leader to another in six decades.

In 1994, Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s communist leader since 1948, died at age 82.

In 2000, Venus Williams beat Lindsay Davenport 6-3, 7-6 (3) for her first Grand Slam title, becoming the first black female champion at Wimbledon since Althea Gibson in 1957-58.

Ten years ago: Group of Eight leaders meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland, unveiled a $50 billion package to help lift Africa from poverty and pledged new joint efforts against terrorism in response to the deadly London bombings the day before. Hurricane Dennis pounded Cuba, resulting in 16 deaths.

Five years ago: The largest spy swap between the U.S. and Russia since the Cold War unfolded as 10 people accused of spying in suburban America pleaded guilty to conspiracy and were ordered deported to Russia in exchange for the release of four prisoners accused of spying for the West. Violent protests erupted in Oakland, California, after a Los Angeles jury convicted a white former transit officer, Johannes Mehserle (yoh-HAH’-nes MEZ’-ur-lee), of involuntary manslaughter (instead of murder) in the videotaped fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, Oscar Grant. During an ESPN prime-time special, basketball free agent LeBron James announced he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat. A world record tennis crowd in Brussels watched Kim Clijsters beat Wimbledon champion Serena Williams 6-3, 6-2 in an exhibition umpired by Martina Navratilova.

One year ago: President Barack Obama appealed to Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency spending to deal with the immigration crisis on the nation’s southern border, where unaccompanied children were showing up by the thousands (Republican lawmakers rejected the request). Washington became the second state to allow people to buy marijuana legally in the U.S. without a doctor’s note. Germany handed Brazil its heaviest World Cup loss ever with a 7-1 rout in the semifinals that stunned the host nation.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer Steve Lawrence is 80. Actor Jeffrey Tambor is 71. Ballerina Cynthia Gregory is 69. Actress Kim Darby is 68. Children’s performer Raffi is 67. Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck is 66. Actress Anjelica Huston is 64. Writer Anna Quindlen is 63. Actor Kevin Bacon is 57. Actor Robert Knepper is 56. Rock musician Andy Fletcher (Depeche Mode) is 54. Country singer Toby Keith is 54. Rock musician Graham Jones (Haircut 100) is 54. Rock singer Joan Osborne is 53. Writer-producer Rob Burnett is 53. Actor Rocky Carroll is 52. Actor Corey Parker is 50. Actor Lee Tergesen is 50. Actor Billy Crudup is 47. Actor Michael Weatherly is 47. Singer Beck is 45. Country singer Drew Womack (Sons of the Desert) is 45. Comedian Sebastian Maniscalo is 42. Actress Kathleen Robertson is 42. Christian rock musician Stephen Mason (Jars of Clay) is 40. Actor Milo Ventimiglia (MEE’-loh vehn-tih-MEEL’-yuh) is 38. Rock musician Tavis Werts is 38. Singer Ben Jelen (YEL’-in) is 36. Actor Lance Gross is 34. Actress Sophia Bush is 33. Rock musician Jamie Cook (Arctic Monkeys) is 30. Actor Jake McDorman is 29. Actor Jaden Smith is 17.

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