Today in History Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017


Today is Sunday, Feb. 19, the 50th day of 2017. There are 315 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On Feb. 19, 1942, during World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which authorized the creation of U.S. military areas “from which any or all persons may be excluded”; the order was used mostly to relocate and intern people of Japanese ancestry, including American-born citizens, although fewer numbers of people of German and Italian backgrounds were also singled out. Imperial Japanese warplanes raided the Australian city of Darwin; at least 243 people were killed.

On this date:

In 1881, Kansas prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages.

In 1915, during World War I, British and French warships launched their initial attack on Ottoman forces in the Dardanelles, a strait in northwestern Turkey. (The Gallipoli Campaign that followed proved disastrous for the Allies.)

In 1917, Carson McCullers, author of “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” and “The Member of the Wedding,” was born Lula Carson Smith in Columbus, Georgia.

In 1934, a blizzard began inundating the northeastern United States, with the heaviest snowfall occurring in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

In 1945, Operation Detachment began during World War II as some 30,000 U.S. Marines began landing on Iwo Jima, where they began a successful month-long battle to seize control of the island from Japanese forces.

In 1959, an agreement was signed by Britain, Turkey and Greece granting Cyprus its independence.

In 1963, “The Feminine Mystique” by Betty Friedan was first published by W.W. Norton & Co.

In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford, calling the issuing of Executive Order 9066 in 1942 “a sad day in American history,” signed a proclamation formally confirming its termination.

In 1984, the Winter Olympics closed in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.

In 1986, the U.S. Senate approved, 83-11, the Genocide Convention, an international treaty outlawing “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,” nearly 37 years after the pact was first submitted for ratification.

In 1997, Deng Xiaoping (dung shah-oh-ping), the last of China’s major Communist revolutionaries, died at age 92.

In 2008, an ailing Fidel Castro resigned the Cuban presidency after nearly a half-century in power; his brother Raul was later named to succeed him.

Ten years ago: In a scene captured on surveillance video, Karolina Obrycka (ob-RY’-kah), a 24-year-old bartender at Jesse’s Short Stop Inn on Chicago’s northwest side, was physically assaulted by Anthony Abbate (ah-BAH’-tee), an off-duty police officer, after she refused to continue serving him drinks. (Abbate was convicted of aggravated battery in 2009, and sentenced to probation.) Hundreds of gay couples were granted the same legal rights, if not the title, as married couples as New Jersey became the third state to offer civil unions. Actress Janet Blair died in Santa Monica, California, at age 85.

Five years ago: Three skiers were killed when an avalanche swept them about a quarter-mile down an out-of-bounds canyon at Stevens Pass, Washington, but a fourth skier caught up in the slide was saved by a safety device. Forty-four inmates were killed in a prison riot in Apodaca, northern Mexico. The Detroit Red Wings won their 23rd straight home game, breaking the NHL overall record with a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. (The streak was snapped four days later when the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Red Wings, 4-3.)

One year ago: Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” died in Monroeville, Alabama, at age 89. The bodies of two women, one man and an infant were found outside a burning home near Edgerton, Missouri (a suspect has been charged with murder). Serbian officials said two of their embassy staffers held hostage since Nov. 2015 had died in U.S airstrikes on an Islamic State camp in western Libya.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer Smokey Robinson is 77. Actress Carlin Glynn is 77. Former Sony Corp. Chairman Howard Stringer is 75. Singer Lou Christie is 74. Actor Michael Nader is 72. Rock musician Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell) is 69. Actor Stephen Nichols is 66. Author Amy Tan is 65. Actor Jeff Daniels is 62. Rock singer-musician Dave Wakeling is 61. Talk show host Lorianne Crook is 60. Actor Ray Winstone is 60. Actor Leslie David Baker is 59. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is 58. Britain’s Prince Andrew is 57. Tennis Hall-of-Famer Hana Mandlikova is 55. Singer Seal is 54. Actress Jessica Tuck is 54. Country musician Ralph McCauley (Wild Horses) is 53. Rock musician Jon Fishman (Phish) is 52. Actress Justine Bateman is 51. Actor Benicio Del Toro is 50. Actress Bellamy Young is 47. Rock musician Daniel Adair is 42. Pop singer-actress Haylie Duff is 32. Christian rock musician Seth Morrison (Skillet) is 29. Actor Luke Pasqualino (TV: “The Musketeers”) is 27. Actress Victoria Justice is 24. Actress Millie Bobby Brown is 13.

Thought for Today: “In America everybody is, but some are more than others.” — Gertrude Stein, American author (1874-1946).

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