Today in History


Today is Friday, Feb. 24, the 55th day of 2023. There are 310 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 24, 1942, the SS Struma, a charter ship attempting to carry nearly 800 Jewish refugees from Romania to British-mandated Palestine, was torpedoed by a Soviet submarine in the Black Sea; all but one of the refugees perished.

On this date:

In 1803, in its Marbury v. Madison decision, the Supreme Court established judicial review of the constitutionality of statutes.

In 1868, the U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Andrew Johnson by a vote of 126-47 following his attempted dismissal of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton; Johnson was later acquitted by the Senate.

In 1981, a jury in White Plains, New York, found Jean Harris guilty of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of “Scarsdale Diet” author Dr. Herman Tarnower. (Sentenced to 15 years to life in prison, Harris was granted clemency by New York Gov. Mario Cuomo in December 1992.)

In 1986, the Supreme Court struck down, 6-3, an Indianapolis ordinance that would have allowed women injured by someone who had seen or read pornographic material to sue the maker or seller of that material.

In 1988, in a ruling that expanded legal protections for parody and satire, the Supreme Court unanimously overturned a $150,000 award that the Rev. Jerry Falwell had won against Hustler magazine and its publisher, Larry Flynt.

In 1989, a state funeral was held in Japan for Emperor Hirohito, who had died the month before at age 87.

In 1993, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (muhl-ROO’-nee) resigned after more than eight years in office.

In 2002, the Salt Lake City Olympics came to a close, the same day Canada won its first hockey gold in 50 years (the U.S. won silver) and three cross-country skiers were thrown out of the games for using a performance-enhancing drug.

In 2008, Cuba’s parliament named Raul Castro president, ending nearly 50 years of rule by his brother Fidel.

In 2011, Discovery, the world’s most traveled spaceship, thundered into orbit for the final time, heading toward the International Space Station on a journey marking the beginning of the end of the shuttle era.

In 2015, the Justice Department announced that George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot Trayvon Martin in a 2012 confrontation, would not face federal charges.

In 2020, former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was convicted in New York on charges of rape and sexual assault involving two women. (Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in state prison.)

Ten years ago: Pope Benedict XVI bestowed the final Sunday blessing of his pontificate on a cheering crowd in St. Peter’s Square. At the Academy Awards, “Argo” won best picture while Ang Lee was named best director for “Life of Pi”; Daniel Day-Lewis won best actor for “Lincoln” while Jennifer Lawrence received the best actress award for “Silver Linings Playbook.” Jimmie Johnson won his second Daytona 500, beating his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., who made a late move to finish second. Danica Patrick, the first woman to win the pole, finished eighth.

Five years ago: The U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded a 30-day cease-fire across Syria to deliver humanitarian aid and evacuate the wounded, as the death toll reached 500 from a Syrian bombing campaign in the rebel-held suburbs of Damascus. (The cease-fire failed to take hold.) The body of the Rev. Billy Graham arrived at the library bearing his name in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Graham would lie in repose for two days. At the Winter Olympics in South Korea, American men won the gold medal in curling in a decisive upset of Sweden; it was only the second curling medal in U.S. history.

One year ago: Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, launching airstrikes on cities and military bases and sending troops and tanks from multiple directions. Ukraine’s government pleaded for help as civilians piled into trains and cars to flee the violence. World leaders condemned the attack and many promised sanctions. Three former Minneapolis police officers were convicted of violating George Floyd’s civil rights by depriving Floyd of his right to medical care when Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes as the 46-year-old Black man was handcuffed and facedown on the street.

Today’s birthdays: Actor-singer Dominic Chianese is 92. Opera singer-director Renata Scotto is 89. Singer Joanie Sommers is 82. Actor Jenny O’Hara is 81. Former Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., is 81. Actor Barry Bostwick is 78. Actor Edward James Olmos is 76. Singer-writer-producer Rupert Holmes is 76. Rock singer-musician George Thorogood is 73. Actor Debra Jo Rupp is 72. Actor Helen Shaver is 72. News anchor Paula Zahn is 67. Baseball Hall of Famer Eddie Murray is 67. Country singer Sammy Kershaw is 65. Actor Mark Moses is 65. Actor Beth Broderick is 64. Actor Emilio Rivera is 62. Singer Michelle Shocked is 61. Movie director Todd Field is 59. Actor Billy Zane is 57. Actor Bonnie Somerville is 49. Jazz musician Jimmy Greene is 48. Former boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. is 46. Rock musician Matt McGinley (Gym Class Heroes) is 40. Actor Wilson Bethel is 39. Actor Alexander Koch is 35. Actor Daniel Kaluuya (Film: “Get Out”) is 34. Actor O’Shea Jackson Jr. is 32.

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