Today in History


Today is Tuesday, July 25, the 206th day of 2023. There are 159 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On July 25, 1972, the notorious Tuskegee syphilis experiment came to light as The Associated Press reported that for the previous four decades, the U.S. Public Health Service, in conjunction with the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, had been allowing poor, rural Black male patients with syphilis to go without treatment, even allowing them to die, as a way of studying the disease.

On this date:

In 1866, Ulysses S. Grant was named General of the Army of the United States, the first officer to hold the rank.

In 1943, Benito Mussolini was dismissed as premier of Italy by King Victor Emmanuel III, and placed under arrest. (He was later rescued by the Nazis and re-asserted his authority.)

In 1946, the United States detonated an atomic bomb near Bikini Atoll in the Pacific in the first underwater test of the device.

In 1956, the Italian liner SS Andrea Doria collided with the Swedish passenger ship Stockholm off the New England coast late at night and began sinking; 51 people — 46 from the Andrea Doria, five from the Stockholm — were killed. (The Andrea Doria capsized and sank the following morning.)

In 1960, a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, North Carolina that had been the scene of a sit-in protest against its whites-only lunch counter dropped its segregation policy.

In 1978, Louise Joy Brown, the first “test tube baby,” was born in Oldham, England; she’d been conceived through the technique of in-vitro fertilization.

In 1994, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Jordan’s King Hussein signed a declaration at the White House ending their countries’ 46-year-old formal state of war.

In 2000, a New York-bound Air France Concorde crashed outside Paris shortly after takeoff, killing all 109 people on board and four people on the ground; it was the first-ever crash of the supersonic jet.

In 2010, the online whistleblower Wikileaks posted some 90,000 leaked U.S. military records that amounted to a blow-by-blow account of the Afghanistan war, including unreported incidents of Afghan civilian killings as well as covert operations against Taliban figures.

In 2016, on the opening night of the Democratic national convention in Philadelphia, Bernie Sanders robustly embraced his former rival Hillary Clinton as a champion for the same economic causes that enlivened his supporters, signaling it was time for them to rally behind her in the campaign against Republican Donald Trump.

In 2019, President Donald Trump had a second phone call with the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, during which he solicited Zelenskyy’s help in gathering potentially damaging information about former Vice President Joe Biden; that night, a staff member at the White House Office of Management and Budget signed a document that officially put military aid for Ukraine on hold.

In 2020, federal agents fired tear gas to break up rowdy protests in Portland, Oregon that continued into the early morning. Demonstrations had been taking place in the city every night for two months in the aftermath of the Minneapolis death of George Floyd.

Ten years ago: Pope Francis, dubbed the “slum pope” for his work with the poor, received a rapturous welcome from one of Rio de Janeiro’s most violent shantytowns and demanded the world’s wealthy end the injustices that had left the poor on the margins of society. The U.S. attorney in New Jersey announced that four Russian nationals and a Ukrainian were charged with running a sophisticated hacking organization that over seven years penetrated computer networks of more than a dozen major American and international corporations, stealing and selling at least 160 million credit and debit card numbers, resulting in losses of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Five years ago: After a White House meeting, President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (zhahn-KLOHD’ YUN’-kur) announced they had agreed to work toward “zero tariffs” and “zero subsidies” on non-automobile goods, dialing down tensions that had been rising. Sergio Marchionne (SEHR’-jee-oh mar-kee-OH’-nay), the founding CEO of Fiat Chrysler who saved two carmakers from near-certain failure, died at the age of 66 after complications from surgery in Switzerland. A study published in the journal Science revealed that a huge lake of salty water appears to be buried deep in Mars, raising the possibility of finding life on the planet. Undefeated Triple Crown winner Justify was retired to stud because of swelling in an ankle; the colt had won all six career starts.

One year ago: On a visit to Canada, Pope Francis issued a historic apology for the Catholic Church’s cooperation with the country’s “catastrophic” policy of Indigenous residential schools, saying the forced assimilation of Native peoples into Christian society destroyed their cultures, severed families and marginalized generations. According to exhibits released by House investigators, an original script for Donald Trump’s speech the day after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection included tough talk ordering the Justice Department to “ensure all lawbreakers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law” and stating the rioters “do not represent me.” But those words were crossed out with thick black lines, apparently by Trump.

Today’s Birthdays: Folk-pop singer-musician Bruce Woodley (The Seekers) is 81. Rock musician Jim McCarty (The Yardbirds) is 80. Rock musician Verdine White (Earth, Wind & Fire) is 72. Singer-musician Jem Finer (The Pogues) is 68. Model-actor Iman is 68. Cartoonist Ray Billingsley (“Curtis”) is 66. Rock musician Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) is 65. Celebrity chef/TV personality Geoffrey Zakarian is 64. Actor-singer Bobbie Eakes is 62. Actor Katherine Kelly Lang is 62. Actor Illeana Douglas is 58. Country singer Marty Brown is 58. Actor Matt LeBlanc is 56. Actor Wendy Raquel Robinson is 56. Rock musician Paavo Lötjönen (PAH’-woh LAHT’-joh-nehn) (Apocalyptica) is 55. Actor D.B. Woodside is 54. Actor Miriam Shor is 52. Actor David Denman is 50. Actor Jay R. Ferguson is 49. Actor James Lafferty is 38. Actor Shantel VanSanten is 38. Actor Michael Welch is 36. Actor Linsey Godfrey is 35. Classical singer Faryl Smith is 28. Actor Mason Cook is 23. Actor Meg Donnelly (TV: “American Housewife”) is 22. Actor Pierce Gagnon is 18.

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