Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, Jan. 13, the 13th day of 2016. There are 353 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 13, 1966, Robert C. Weaver was nominated to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by President Lyndon B. Johnson; Weaver became the first black Cabinet member.

On this date:

In 1733, James Oglethorpe and some 120 English colonists arrived at Charleston, South Carolina, while en route to settle in present-day Georgia.

In 1794, President George Washington approved a measure adding two stars and two stripes to the American flag, following the admission of Vermont and Kentucky to the Union. (The number of stripes was later reduced to the original 13.)

In 1864, American songwriter Stephen Foster died in poverty in a New York hospital at age 37.

In 1898, Emile Zola’s famous defense of Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, “J’accuse,” (zhah-KOOZ’) was published in Paris.

In 1915, a magnitude-7 earthquake centered in Avezzano, Italy, claimed some 30,000 lives.

In 1941, a new law went into effect granting Puerto Ricans U.S. birthright citizenship. Novelist and poet James Joyce died in Zurich, Switzerland, less than a month before his 59th birthday.

In 1962, comedian Ernie Kovacs died in a car crash in west Los Angeles 10 days before his 43rd birthday.

In 1976, Sarah Caldwell became the first woman to conduct at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House as she led a performance of “La Traviata.”

In 1978, former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey died in Waverly, Minnesota, at age 66.

In 1982, an Air Florida 737 crashed into Washington, D.C.’s 14th Street Bridge and fell into the Potomac River while trying to take off during a snowstorm, killing a total of 78 people; four passengers and a flight attendant survived.

In 1990, L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia became the nation’s first elected black governor as he took the oath of office in Richmond.

In 2014, a shooting at a Wesley Chapel, Florida, movie theater left Chad Oulson, 43, dead; retired Tampa police captain Curtis Reeves, 71, is accused of killing Oulson during what authorities said was an argument over Oulson’s texting.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush met with Germany’s new chancellor, Angela Merkel, at the White House. A U.S. Army OH-58 Kiowa helicopter went down near Mosul after coming to the aid of Iraqi police under hostile fire; its two pilots were killed. A U.S. missile strike in Pakistan killed a relative of al-Qaida’s No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri (AY’-muhn ahl-ZWAH’-ree) and a terror suspect, but also 13 residents, prompting outrage among Pakistanis.

Five years ago: Vice President Joe Biden became the first top U.S. official to visit Iraq since the country approved a new Cabinet; Biden emphasized to Iraqi leaders that the U.S. wanted nothing more than for Iraq to be free and democratic. A funeral was held in Tucson, Arizona, for 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, the youngest victim of a mass shooting that also claimed five other lives and critically wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

One year ago: Pope Francis brought calls for reconciliation as well as justice as he arrived in Sri Lanka at the start of a weeklong Asian tour. In an emotional act of defiance, Charlie Hebdo resurrected its irreverent and often provocative newspaper, featuring on the cover a caricature of a weeping Prophet Muhammad holding a sign reading “I am Charlie” with the words “All is forgiven” above him.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Frances Sternhagen is 86. TV personality Nick Clooney is 82. Comedian Rip Taylor is 82. Comedian Charlie Brill is 78. Actor Billy Gray is 78. Actor Richard Moll is 73. Rock musician Trevor Rabin is 62. Rhythm-and-blues musician Fred White is 61. Rock musician James Lomenzo (Megadeth) is 57. Actor Kevin Anderson is 56. Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus is 55. Rock singer Graham “Suggs” McPherson (Madness) is 55. Country singer Trace Adkins is 54. Actress Penelope Ann Miller is 52. Actor Patrick Dempsey is 50. Actress Traci Bingham is 48. Actor Keith Coogan is 46. TV producer-writer Shonda Rhimes is 46. Actress Nicole Eggert is 44. Actor Ross McCall is 40. Actor Michael Pena is 40. Actor Orlando Bloom is 39. Meteorologist Ginger Zee (TV: “Good Morning America”) is 35. Actress Ruth Wilson is 34. Actor Julian Morris is 33. Actor Liam Hemsworth is 26.

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