Today in History

Today is Friday, Sept. 20, the 263rd day of 2019. There are 102 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Sept. 20, 2001, during an address to a joint session of Congress, President George W. Bush announced a new Cabinet-level office to fortify homeland security and named Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge its director.

On this date:

In 1519, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew set out from Spain on five ships to find a western passage to the Spice Islands. (Magellan was killed enroute, but one of his ships eventually circled the world.)

In 1873, panic swept the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in the wake of railroad bond defaults and bank failures.

In 1881, Chester A. Arthur was sworn in as the 21st president of the United States, succeeding the assassinated James A. Garfield.

In 1958, Martin Luther King Jr. was seriously wounded during a book signing at a New York City department store when he was stabbed in the chest by Izola Curry. (Curry was later found mentally incompetent; she died at a Queens, New York, nursing home in 2015 at age 98.)

In 1962, James Meredith, a black student, was blocked from enrolling at the University of Mississippi by Democratic Gov. Ross R. Barnett. (Meredith was later admitted.)

In 1963, President Kennedy proposed a joint U-S-Soviet expedition to the moon.

In 1976, Playboy magazine released an interview in which Democratic presidential nominee Jimmy Carter admitted he'd "looked on a lot of women with lust."

In 1984, a suicide car bomber attacked the U.S. Embassy annex in north Beirut, killing at least 14 people, including two Americans and 12 Lebanese. The family sitcoms "The Cosby Show" and "Who's the Boss?" premiered on NBC and ABC, respectively.

In 1995, in a move that stunned Wall Street, AT&T Corporation announced it was splitting into three companies.

In 1999, Lawrence Russell Brewer became the second white supremacist to be convicted in the dragging death of James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, Texas. (Brewer was executed on September 21, 2011.) Raisa Gorbachev, wife of the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev (mih-kah-EEL' gohr-bah-CHAHV'), died at a German hospital after a battle with leukemia; she was 67.

In 2004, CBS News apologized for a "mistake in judgment" in its story questioning President George W. Bush's National Guard service, saying it could not vouch for the authenticity of documents featured in the report.

In 2017, Hurricane Maria, the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years, struck the island, wiping out as much as 75 percent of the power distribution lines and causing an island-wide blackout. Rescuers worked furiously at a collapsed school in Mexico City where a girl was believed trapped under debris in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake; it was later determined that no children were still trapped in the debris.

Ten years ago: Blanketing most of the Sunday TV news shows, President Barack Obama said requiring people to get health insurance, and fining them if they didn't, would not amount to a backhanded tax increase. At the Emmy Awards, best drama and comedy series trophies went to repeat winners "Mad Men" and "30 Rock." The first game at the Cowboys Stadium set an NFL regular-season attendance record with a crowd of 105,121, and most of them went home disappointed after the New York Giants won, 33-31.

Five years ago: Turkish authorities reported freeing 49 hostages held by the militant Islamic State group without firing a shot, paying a ransom or offering a quid pro quo. Emmy-winning actress and singer Polly Bergen, 84, died in Southbury, Connecticut.

One year ago: A woman working a temporary job at a drugstore warehouse in Maryland opened fire on colleagues, killing three before taking her own life. A wave of buying sent U.S. stocks solidly higher, driving the Dow Jones Industrial Average above the all-time high it closed at in January. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (shin-zoh AH'-bay) was re-elected as head of his ruling Liberal Democratic party in a landslide.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Sophia Loren is 85. Rock musician Chuck Panozzo is 71. Actor Tony Denison is 70. Hockey Hall of Famer Guy LaFleur is 68. Actress Debbi Morgan is 68. Jazz musician Peter White is 65. Actress Betsy Brantley is 64. Actor Gary Cole is 63. TV news correspondent Deborah Roberts is 59. Country-rock musician Joseph Shreve (Flynnville Train) is 58. Rock musician Randy Bradbury (Pennywise) is 55. Actress Kristen Johnston is 52. Rock singers Gunnar and Matthew Nelson are 52. Rock musician Ben Shepherd is 51. Actress Enuka Okuma is 47. Actress-model Moon Bloodgood is 44. Actor Jon Bernthal is 43. Singer The Dream is 42. Actor Charlie Weber is 41. Rock musician Rick Woolstenhulme (WOOL'-sten-hyoolm) (Lifehouse) is 40. Rapper Yung Joc is 39. Actress Crystle Stewart is 38. Actor Aldis Hodge is 33. Rock drummer Jack Lawless is 32. Actor Malachi (MAL'-ah-ky) Kirby is 30.

Thought for Today: "A faith is a necessity to a man. Woe to him who believes in nothing." — Victor Hugo, French author (1802-1885).

Copyright 2019, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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