Today in History: September 20

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. walks between seven-year-old Eva Gracelemon, left, and 10-year-old Aritha Willis as he escorts black school children to formerly all-white schools in Grenada, Miss., Tuesday morning, Sept. 20, 1966.  Violence erupted at the school last Monday when the schools were integrated. (AP Photo)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. walks between seven-year-old Eva Gracelemon, left, and 10-year-old Aritha Willis as he escorts black school children to formerly all-white schools in Grenada, Miss., Tuesday morning, Sept. 20, 1966. Violence erupted at the school last Monday when the schools were integrated. (AP Photo)

Today is Tuesday, Sept. 20, the 264th day of 2016. There are 102 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Sept. 20, 1946, the first Cannes Film Festival, lasting 16 days, opened in France. Among the films honored with the Golden Palm were “The Lost Weekend,” ”Brief Encounter,” ”Rome, Open City” and “Pastoral Symphony”; “The Battle of the Rails” won the International Jury Prize.

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 en route, but one of his ships eventually circled the world.)

In 1870, Italian troops took control of the Papal States, leading to the unification of Italy.

In 1884, the National Equal Rights Party was formed during a convention of suffragists in San Francisco; the convention nominated Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood for president.

In 1911, the British liner RMS Olympic collided with the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Hawke off the Isle of Wight; although seriously damaged, the Olympic was able to return to Southampton under its own power.

In 1947, former New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia died.

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 1973, in their so-called “battle of the sexes,” tennis star Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, at the Houston Astrodome. Singer-songwriter Jim Croce, 30, died in a plane crash near Natchitoches, Louisiana.

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.” The historical drama series “I, Claudius,” starring Derek Jacobi as the fourth emperor of Ancient Rome, began airing on BBC Television.

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

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 Sept. 21, 2011.) Raisa Gorbachev, wife of the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, died at a German hospital after a battle with leukemia; she was 67.

In 2000, Independent Counsel Robert Ray announced the end of the Whitewater investigation, saying there was insufficient evidence to warrant charges against President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton. Former Soviet cosmonaut Gherman Titov died at age 65.

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