Today in History


Today is Saturday, Feb. 25, the 56th day of 2023. There are 309 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 25, 1964, Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) became world heavyweight boxing champion as he defeated Sonny Liston in Miami Beach.

On this date:

In 1901, United States Steel Corp. was incorporated by J.P. Morgan.

In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving Congress the power to levy and collect income taxes, was declared in effect by Secretary of State Philander Chase Knox.

In 1919, Oregon became the first state to tax gasoline, at one cent per gallon.

In 1954, Gamal Abdel Nasser became Egypt’s prime minister after the country’s president, Mohammed Naguib, was effectively ousted in a coup.

In 1957, the Supreme Court, in Butler v. Michigan, overturned a Michigan statute making it a misdemeanor to sell books containing obscene language that would tend to corrupt “the morals of youth.”

In 1973, the Stephen Sondheim musical “A Little Night Music” opened at Broadway’s Shubert Theater.

In 1986, President Ferdinand Marcos fled the Philippines after 20 years of rule in the wake of a tainted election; Corazon Aquino assumed the presidency.

In 1991, during the Persian Gulf War, 28 Americans were killed when an Iraqi Scud missile hit a U.S. barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

In 1994, American-born Jewish settler Baruch Goldstein opened fire with an automatic rifle inside the Tomb of the Patriarchs in the West Bank, killing 29 Muslims before he was beaten to death by worshippers.

In 1997, a jury in Media, Pennsylvania, convicted chemical fortune heir John E. du Pont of third-degree murder, deciding he was mentally ill when he shot and killed world-class wrestler David Schultz. (Du Pont died in prison in December 2010 while serving a 13- to 30-year sentence; he was 72.)

In 2010, in Vancouver, the Canadian women beat the United States 2-0 for their third straight Olympic hockey title.

In 2020, U.S. health officials warned that the coronavirus was certain to spread more widely in the United States; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans to be prepared. President Donald Trump, speaking in India, said the virus was “very well under control” in the U.S.

Ten years ago: A high-stakes civil trial started in New Orleans to assign blame and help figure out exactly how much more BP and other companies should pay for the 2010 Gulf oil spill. (U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled in September 2014 that BP acted with “gross negligence”; BP ended up reaching a record-setting $20 billion settlement with the federal government and five Gulf states.) Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, 96, died in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Five years ago: China’s official news agency said the country’s ruling Communist Party had proposed scrapping term limits for China’s president, appearing to lay the groundwork for Xi Jinping to rule as president beyond 2023. (China’s rubber-stamp lawmakers approved that change on March 11.) Students at the Florida high school where 17 classmates and staff members were killed returned to gather belongings that had been abandoned in panic during the shooting. The Winter Olympics in South Korea came to an end as officials from North and South Korea shared a VIP box at the closing ceremonies with U.S. presidential adviser and first daughter Ivanka Trump.

One year ago: President Joe Biden nominated federal appeals court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, making her the first Black woman selected to serve on it. (She would be confirmed by the Senate on April 7.) Russian troops bore down on Ukraine’s capital, with gunfire and explosions resonating ever closer to the government quarter, in an invasion of a democratic country that fueled fears of wider war in Europe and triggered worldwide efforts to make Russia stop.

Today’s birthdays: Actor Ann McCrea is 92. Actor Tom Courtenay is 86. Former CBS newsman Bob Schieffer is 86. Actor Diane Baker is 85. Actor Karen Grassle is 81. Former talk show host Sally Jessy Raphael is 81. Former professional wrestler Ric Flair is 74. Humorist Jack Handey is 74. Movie director Neil Jordan is 73. Rock singer-musician/actor John Doe (X) is 70. Rock musician Dennis Diken (The Smithereens) is 66. Rock singer-musician Mike Peters (The Alarm; Big Country) is 64. Comedian Carrot Top is 58. Model and actor Veronica Webb is 58. Actor Alexis Denisof is 57. Actor Tea Leoni is 57. Actor Lesley Boone is 55. Actor Sean Astin is 52. Singer Daniel Powter is 52. Latin singer Julio Iglesias Jr. is 50. R&B singer Justin Jeffre is 50. Actor Anson Mount is 50. Comedian-actor Chelsea Handler is 48. Actor Rashida Jones is 47. Country singer Shawna Thompson (Thompson Square) is 45. Actor Justin Berfield is 37. Actors James and Oliver Phelps (“Harry Potter” movies) are 37. Actor Jameela Jamil is 37. Rock musician Erik Haager (Carolina Liar) is 36.

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