Today in History
Today is Friday, Feb. 19, the 50th day of 2021. 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 paved the way for the relocation and internment of people of Japanese ancestry, including U.S.-born citizens. Imperial Japanese warplanes raided the Australian city of Darwin; at least 243 people were killed.
On this date:
In 1807, former Vice President Aaron Burr, accused of treason, was arrested in the Mississippi Territory, in present-day Alabama. (Burr was acquitted at trial.)
In 1846, the Texas state government was formally installed in Austin, with J. Pinckney Henderson taking the oath of office as governor.
In 1878, Thomas Edison received a U.S. patent for “an improvement in phonograph or speaking machines.”
In 1945, Operation Detachment began during World War II as some 30,000 U.S. Marines began landing on Iwo Jima, where they commenced a successful month-long battle to seize control of the island from Japanese forces.
In 1968, the children’s program “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” created by and starring Fred Rogers, made its network debut on National Educational Television, a forerunner of PBS, beginning a 31-season run.
In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford, calling the issuing of the internment order for people of Japanese ancestry in 1942 “a sad day in American history,” signed a proclamation formally confirming its termination.
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 1992, Irish Republican Army member Joseph Doherty (DAWK’-ur-tee) was deported from the United States to Northern Ireland following a nine-year battle for political asylum. (Doherty was imprisoned for the killing of a British army commando in 1980; he was freed in 1998 under the Good Friday Agreement.)
In 1997, Deng Xiaoping (dung shah-oh-ping), the last of China’s major Communist revolutionaries, died at age 92.
In 2003, an Iranian military plane carrying 275 members of the elite Revolutionary Guards crashed in southeastern Iran, killing all on board.
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.
In 2019, President Donald Trump directed the Pentagon to develop plans for a new Space Force within the Air Force, accepting less than the full-fledged department he had wanted.
Ten years ago: Security forces in Libya and Yemen fired on pro-democracy demonstrators as the two hard-line regimes struck back against the wave of protests that had already toppled autocrats in Egypt and Tunisia. The world’s dominant economies, meeting in Paris, struck a watered-down deal on how to smooth out trade and currency imbalances blamed for a global financial crisis.
Five years ago: Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” died in Monroeville, Alabama, at age 89.
One year ago: About 500 passengers left the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan at the end of a two-week quarantine that failed to stop the spread of the coronavirus among passengers and crew; the number of confirmed cases aboard the ship topped 600. The number of deaths in China from the virus rose past 2,000. Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency said the virus had killed two Iranian citizens. President Donald Trump announced that Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, would become acting director of national intelligence. A man who had posted an online rant calling for the “complete extermination” of various races and cultures shot and killed nine people, most of them Turkish, in an attack on a hookah bar and other sites near Frankfurt, Germany; he was later found dead at his home along with his mother.
Today’s Birthdays: Singer Smokey Robinson is 81. Actor Carlin Glynn is 81. Former Sony Corp. Chairman Howard Stringer is 79. Singer Lou Christie is 78. Actor Michael Nader is 76. Rock musician Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell) is 73. Actor Stephen Nichols is 70. Author Amy Tan is 69. Actor Jeff Daniels is 66. Rock singer-musician Dave Wakeling is 65. Talk show host Lorianne Crook is 64. Actor Ray Winstone is 64. Actor Leslie David Baker is 63. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is 62. Britain’s Prince Andrew is 61. Tennis Hall of Famer Hana Mandlikova is 59. Singer Seal is 58. Actor Jessica Tuck is 58. Country musician Ralph McCauley (Wild Horses) is 57. Rock musician Jon Fishman (Phish) is 56. Actor Justine Bateman is 55. Actor Benicio Del Toro is 54. Actor Bellamy Young is 51. Rock musician Daniel Adair is 46. Pop singer-actor Haylie Duff is 36. Actor Arielle Kebbel is 36. Christian rock musician Seth Morrison (Skillet) is 33. Actor Luke Pasqualino is 31. Actor Victoria Justice is 28. Actor David (dah-VEED’) Mazouz (TV: “Gotham”) is 20. Actor Millie Bobby Brown is 17.