Today in history
Feb. 27 is the 58th day of 2021. There are 307 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 27, 1933, Germany’s parliament building, the Reichstag, was gutted by fire; Chancellor Adolf Hitler, blaming the Communists, used the fire to justify suspending civil liberties.
On this date:
In 1922, the Supreme Court, in Leser v. Garnett, unanimously upheld the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed the right of women to vote.
In 1939, the Supreme Court, in National Labor Relations Board v. Fansteel Metallurgical Corp., effectively outlawed sit-down strikes.
In 1942, the Battle of the Java Sea began during World War II; Imperial Japanese naval forces scored a decisive victory over the Allies.
In 1951, the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, limiting a president to two terms of office, was ratified.
In 1968, at the conclusion of a CBS News special report on the Vietnam War, Walter Cronkite delivered a commentary in which he said the conflict appeared “mired in stalemate.”
In 1973, members of the American Indian Movement occupied the hamlet of Wounded Knee in South Dakota, the site of the 1890 massacre of Sioux men, women and children. (The occupation lasted until the following May.)
In 1982, Wayne Williams was found guilty of murdering two of the 28 young Blacks whose bodies were found in the Atlanta area during a 22-month period. (Williams, who was also blamed for 22 other deaths, has maintained his innocence.)
In 1991, Operation Desert Storm came to a conclusion as President George H.W. Bush declared that “Kuwait is liberated, Iraq’s army is defeated,” and announced that the allies would suspend combat operations at midnight, Eastern time.
In 1998, with the approval of Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s House of Lords agreed to end 1,000 years of male preference by giving a monarch’s first-born daughter the same claim to the throne as any first-born son.
In 2003, children’s television host Fred Rogers died in Pittsburgh at age 74.
In 2010, in Chile, an 8.8 magnitude earthquake and tsunami killed 524 people, caused $30 billion in damage and left more than 200,000 homeless.
In 2015, actor Leonard Nimoy, 83, world famous to “Star Trek” fans as the pointy-eared, purely logical science officer Mr. Spock, died in Los Angeles. Boris Nemtsov, a charismatic Russian opposition leader and sharp critic of President Vladimir Putin, was gunned down near the Kremlin.
Ten years ago: “The King’s Speech” won four Academy Awards, including best picture; Colin Firth won best actor for his portrayal of Britain’s King George VI. Frank Buckles, the last surviving American veteran of World War I who’d also survived being a civilian prisoner of war in the Philippines in World War II, died in Charles Town, W.Va., at age 110. Duke Snider, 84, the Baseball Hall of Famer who helped the Dodgers bring their only World Series crown to Brooklyn, died in Escondido, Calif.
Five years ago: Hillary Clinton overwhelmed Bernie Sanders in the South Carolina primary. A cease-fire brokered by the United States and Russia went into effect across Syria. A violent altercation between Ku Klux Klan members and counter-protesters in Anaheim, Calif., left three people stabbed. “Fifty Shades of Grey” nabbed five prizes at the Golden Raspberry Awards — worst screenplay, actor, actress, screen combo and film of the year in a tie with “Fantastic Four.”
One year ago: U.S. stocks posted their worst one-day drop since 2011, as worldwide markets plummeted amid growing anxiety about the coronavirus; the Dow tumbled nearly 1,200 points. President Donald Trump declared that a widespread U.S. outbreak of the virus was not inevitable, even as top health authorities at his side warned that more infections were coming. Vice President Mike Pence convened his first meeting of the president’s coronavirus task force, a day after he was designated as the government’s point person for the epidemic. Saudi Arabia closed off the holiest sites in Islam to foreign pilgrims due to the coronavirus.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Joanne Woodward is 91. Consumer advocate Ralph Nader is 87. Actor Barbara Babcock is 84. Actor Howard Hesseman is 81. Actor Debra Monk is 72. Rock singer-musician Neal Schon (Journey) is 67. Rock musician Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden) is 64. Actor Timothy Spall is 64. Rock musician Paul Humphreys (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) is 61. Country singer Johnny Van Zant (Van Zant) is 61. Rock musician Leon Mobley (Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals) is 60. Basketball Hall of Famer James Worthy is 60. Actor Adam Baldwin is 59. Actor Grant Show is 59. Actor Noah Emmerich is 56. Actor Donal Logue is 55. R&B singer Chilli (TLC) is 50. Rock musician Jeremy Dean (Nine Days) is 49. Country-rock musician Shonna Tucker is 43. Chelsea Clinton is 41. Actor Brandon Beemer is 41. Rock musician Cyrus Bolooki (New Found Glory) is 41. Rock musician Jake Clemons (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band) is 41. R&B singer Bobby V is 41. Singer Josh Groban is 40. Banjoist Noam (cq) Pikelny is 40. Rock musician Jared Champion (Cage the Elephant) is 38. Actor Kate Mara is 38. TV personality JWoww (AKA Jenni Farley) is 35. Actor Lindsey Morgan is 31.
Feb. 28 is the 59th day of 2021. There are 306 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 28, 2013, Benedict XVI became the first pope in 600 years to resign, ending an eight-year pontificate. (Benedict was succeeded the following month by Pope Francis.)
On this date:
In 1784, John Wesley, the co-founder of Methodism, chartered the first Methodist Church in the United States in Leesburg, Va.
In 1844, a 12-inch gun aboard the USS Princeton exploded as the ship was sailing on the Potomac River, killing Secretary of State Abel P. Upshur, Navy Secretary Thomas W. Gilmer and several others.
In 1849, the California gold rush began in earnest as regular steamship service started bringing gold-seekers to San Francisco.
In 1953, scientists James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick announced they had discovered the double-helix structure of DNA.
In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai issued the Shanghai Communique, which called for normalizing relations between their countries, at the conclusion of Nixon’s historic visit to China.
In 1975, 42 people were killed in London’s Underground when a train smashed into the end of a tunnel.
In 1983, the long-running TV series “M-A-S-H” ended after 11 seasons on CBS with a special 2¢-hour finale that was watched by an estimated 121.6 million people.
In 1988, the 15th Olympic Winter Games held its closing ceremony in Calgary, Alberta.
In 1993, a gun battle erupted at a religious compound near Waco, Texas, when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents tried to arrest Branch Davidian leader David Koresh on weapons charges; four agents and six Davidians were killed as a 51-day standoff began.
In 1996, Britain’s Princess Diana agreed to divorce Prince Charles. (Their 15-year marriage officially ended in August 1996; Diana died in a car crash in Paris a year after that.)
In 2005, in Santa Maria, Calif., the prosecution and defense gave opening statements in the sexual molestation trial of Michael Jackson, who was later acquitted.
In 2018, Wal-Mart announced that it would no longer sell firearms and ammunition to people younger than 21 and would remove items resembling assault-style rifles from its website. Dick’s Sporting Goods said it would stop selling assault-style rifles and ban the sale of all guns to anyone under 21.
Ten years ago: The United States and European allies intensified efforts to isolate Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi, redoubling demands for him to step down, questioning his mental state and warning that those who stayed loyal to him risked losing their wealth and facing prosecution for human rights abuses. Actor Jane Russell died in Santa Maria, Calif., at age 89.
Five years ago: One of Pope Francis’ top advisers, Australian Cardinal George Pell, testifying before an investigative commission in Sydney via videolink from Rome, acknowledged the Catholic Church had made “enormous mistakes” in allowing thousands of children to be raped and molested by priests over centuries. “Spotlight” won the Academy Award for best picture of 2015; Brie Larson was recognized as best actress for “Room” while Leonardo DiCaprio was named best actor for “The Revenant.” Oscar-winning actor George Kennedy, 91, died in Middleton, Idaho.
One year ago: The number of countries touched by the coronavirus climbed to nearly 60; Nigerian authorities reported the first case in sub-Saharan Africa, and Mexico said it had two confirmed cases. The State Department told Americans to avoid nonessential travel to Italy, which had seen nearly 900 virus cases. At a rally in South Carolina, President Donald Trump asserted that Democratic complaints about his handling of the virus threat were “their new hoax.” Trump again picked Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas to be the nation’s top intelligence official; he’d abandoned an earlier attempt to place Ratcliffe in the post. (Ratcliffe would be confirmed in May by a sharply divided Senate.) The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the week 12.4 percent lower in the market’s worst weekly performance since the 2008 financial crisis. Joe Coulombe, the founder of the Trader Joe’s food markets, died at 89; he’d opened his first Trader Joe’s in Pasadena, Calif., in 1967.
Today’s Birthdays: Architect Frank Gehry is 92. Actor Gavin MacLeod is 90. Singer Sam the Sham is 84. Actor-director-dancer Tommy Tune is 82. Hall of Fame auto racer Mario Andretti is 81. Actor Frank Bonner is 79. Actor Kelly Bishop is 77. Actor Stephanie Beacham is 74. Writer-director Mike Figgis is 73. Actor Mercedes Ruehl is 73. Actor Bernadette Peters is 73. Former Energy Secretary Steven Chu is 73. Actor Ilene Graff is 72. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is 68. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried is 66. Basketball Hall of Famer Adrian Dantley is 66. Actor John Turturro is 64. Rock singer Cindy Wilson is 64. Actor Rae Dawn Chong is 60. Actor Maxine Bahns is 52. Actor Robert Sean Leonard is 52. Rock singer Pat Monahan is 52. Author Daniel Handler (aka “Lemony Snicket”) is 51. Actor Tasha Smith is 50. Actor Rory Cochrane is 49. Actor Ali Larter is 45. Country singer Jason Aldean is 44. Actor Geoffrey Arend is 43. Actor Melanie Chandra (TV: “Code Black”) is 37. Actor Michelle Horn is 34. MLB relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman is 33. Actor True O’Brien is 27. Actor Madisen Beaty is 26. Actor Quinn Shephard is 26. Actor Bobb’e J. Thompson is 25.