1983 – Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is No. 1 on the Billboard album chart and holds the top spot for 37 weeks. The blockbuster album gives us hits including “Thriller,” “Beat It” and “Billie Jean.” It goes on to capture a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year.
1972 – A mining dam collapses, sending millions of gallons of black coal wastewater across a wide area of Logan County, West Virginia. The Buffalo Creek Disaster claims 125 lives and leaves 4,000 people homeless.
1993 – Six people are killed and more than 1,000 others are injured when a bomb, planted inside a parked van, explodes in the garage of the World Trade Center in New York City. The blast leaves a crater 150 feet wide and causes the collapse of several steel-reinforced concrete floors. Six terrorists are eventually captured, tried and convicted for the attack.
1998 – A jury finds Oprah Winfrey not guilty in a $10 million defamation lawsuit brought by Texas cattle ranchers. The plaintiffs had accused the talk show host of harming the U.S. beef industry with a 1996 broadcast about mad cow disease. Exiting the courtroom, Winfrey exclaims, “Free speech not only lives, it rocks!”
2012 – Trayvon Martin, an African-American teen, is fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman while walking home from a Sanford, Florida convenience store. The killing sparks a national outcry over race relations and self-defense gun laws, as Martin was unarmed when he was shot.
Own a Piece of This Day
Starring Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie and George C. Scott, and directed by Robert Rossen