Today in History: November 21

FILE--About 200,000 people gather on Wenceslas Square in Prague, Czechoslovakia on Nov. 21, 1989. Theirs was the Velvet Revolution, a peaceful revolt born of police brutality that ended four decades of communism with songs, laughter and not a few tears. Ten years later, there is little celebration. On that Nov. 17, 1989, protesters were scattered by communist police, but came back the next day and the next - in ever growing numbers that led to the collapse of the Marxist regime in only 18 astounding days. Sign at center (back side shown to camera) translates, "Free elections." (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
FILE--About 200,000 people gather on Wenceslas Square in Prague, Czechoslovakia on Nov. 21, 1989. Theirs was the Velvet Revolution, a peaceful revolt born of police brutality that ended four decades of communism with songs, laughter and not a few tears. Ten years later, there is little celebration. On that Nov. 17, 1989, protesters were scattered by communist police, but came back the next day and the next - in ever growing numbers that led to the collapse of the Marxist regime in only 18 astounding days. Sign at center (back side shown to camera) translates, "Free elections." (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Today in History

Today is Monday, Nov. 21, the 326th day of 2016. There are 40 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Nov. 21, 1922, Rebecca L. Felton, a Georgia Democrat, was sworn in as the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate; her term, the result of an interim appointment, ended the following day as Walter F. George, the winner of a special election, took office.

On this date:

In 1789, North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1864, a letter was signed by President Abraham Lincoln expressing condolences to Lydia Bixby, a widow in Boston whose five sons supposedly died while fighting in the Civil War. (As it turned out, only two of Mrs. Bixby’s sons had been killed in battle.)

In 1934, the Cole Porter musical “Anything Goes,” starring Ethel Merman as Reno Sweeney, opened on Broadway.

In 1942, the Alaska Highway, also known as the Alcan Highway, was formally opened at Soldier’s Summit in the Yukon Territory.

In 1945, American humorist Robert Benchley died in New York at age 56.

In 1969, the Senate voted down the Supreme Court nomination of Clement F. Haynsworth, 55-45, the first such rejection since 1930.

In 1973, President Richard Nixon’s attorney, J. Fred Buzhardt, revealed the existence of an 18-1/2-minute gap in one of the White House tape recordings related to Watergate.

In 1974, bombs exploded at a pair of pubs in Birmingham, England, killing 21 people. (Six suspects were convicted of the attack, but the convictions of the so-called “Birmingham Six” were overturned in 1991.)

In 1980, 87 people died in a fire at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. An estimated 83 million TV viewers tuned in to the CBS prime-time soap opera “Dallas” to find out “who shot J.R.” (The shooter turned out to be J.R. Ewing’s sister-in-law, Kristin Shepard.)

In 1985, U.S. Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Jay Pollard was arrested, accused of spying for Israel. (Pollard later pleaded guilty to espionage and was sentenced to life in prison; he was released on parole on Nov. 20, 2015.)

In 1991, the U.N. Security Council chose Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt to be the new Secretary-General.

In 1996, 33 people were killed, more than 100 injured, when an explosion blamed on leaking gas ripped through a six-story building in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

 

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