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TODAY IN HISTORY

Today is the 52nd day of 2020. There are 314 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 21, 1975, former Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aides H.R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman were sentenced to 2 1/2 to 8 years in prison for their roles in the Watergate cover-up (each ended up serving a year and a-half).

On this date:

In 1613, Mikhail Romanov, 16, was unanimously chosen by Russia’s national assembly to be czar.

In 1862, Nathaniel Gordon became the first and only American slave-trader to be executed under the U.S. Piracy Law of 1820 as he was hanged in New York.

In 1945, during the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima, the escort carrier USS Bismarck Sea was sunk by kamikazes with the loss of 318 men.

In 1958, the USS Gudgeon (SS-567) became the first American submarine to complete a round-the-world cruise.

In 1965, black Muslim leader and civil rights activist Malcolm X, 39, was shot to death inside Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom in New York by assassins.

In 1973, Israeli fighter planes shot down Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 over the Sinai Desert, killing all but five of the 113 people on board.

In 1992, Kristi Yamaguchi of the United States won the gold medal in ladies’ figure skating at the Albertville Olympics; Midori Ito of Japan won the silver, Nancy Kerrigan of the U.S., the bronze.

In 1995, Chicago adventurer Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean by balloon.

In 2013, Drew Peterson, the Chicago-area police officer who gained notoriety after his much-younger fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, vanished in 2007, was sentenced to 38 years in prison for murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

In 2018, the Rev. Billy Graham, a confidant of presidents and widely heard Christian evangelist in history, died at his North Carolina home; he was 99.

Ten years ago: A mistaken U.S. missile attack killed 23 civilians in Afghanistan. (Four American officers were later reprimanded.) Bode Miller captured his elusive gold medal, winning the super-combined for his third medal in three events.

Five years ago: Activists, actors, and politicians gathered in New York City at the place where civil rights leader Malcolm X was shot to death. Jazz trumpeter Clark Terry, 94, died in Pine Bluff, Ark.

One year ago: Peter Tork, who rose to teen-idol fame in the 1960s playing the lovably clueless bass guitarist in the made-for-television rock band The Monkees, died at the age of 77. Teachers in Oakland, Calif., went on strike in the latest in a wave of teacher activism that had included walkouts in Denver, Los Angeles and West Virginia.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Gary Lockwood is 83. Actor Peter McEnery is 80. U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., is 80. Actress Tyne Daly is 74. Actor Anthony Daniels is 74. Tricia Nixon Cox is 74. Rock musician Jerry Harrison (The Heads) is 71. Actress Christine Ebersole is 67. Actor William Petersen is 67. Actor Kelsey Grammer is 65. Country singer Mary Chapin Carpenter is 62. Actor Kim Coates is 62. Actor Jack Coleman is 62. Actor Christopher Atkins is 59. Actor William Baldwin is 57. Country singer Eric Heatherly is 50. Actor Tituss Burgess is 41. Actress Ashley Greene is 33.

Thought for Today: “There is nothing more horrifying than stupidity in action.” — Adlai E. Stevenson, American politician and diplomat (1900-1965).

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