On This Day February 21

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On this Day August 11

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1934 – The first inmates, classified as “most dangerous,” arrive at the federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, joining a few dozen prisoners left over from the island’s days as a U.S. military prison.

1956 – Abstract artist Jackson Pollock dies in a drunk-driving car crash at the age of 44. 

1965 – Following the arrest of a young black motorist, the predominately black Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts erupts in riots that last six days and leave more than 30 people dead. 

1965 – The Ford Motor Company introduces the Bronco to compete with the Jeep CJ-5 and International Harvester Scout. 

1973 – “American Graffiti” opens in theaters. The coming-of-age film set in 1962 California was co-written and directed by George Lucas and stars Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard and Harrison Ford.

1984 – During a sound check before a Saturday radio broadcast, President Ronald Reagan jokingly says, “My fellow Americans. I’m pleased to announce that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” Reagan was unaware, however, that the feed was live. The Soviets, who find no humor in the remark, put their military on high alert.

2014 – Oscar-winning actor-comedian Robin Williams (“Mork and Mindy,” “The World According to Garp,” “Moscow on the Hudson,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Dead Poets Socity,” “Aladdin,”  “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “The Birdcage,” “Good Will Hunting”) dies by suicide at the age of 63. 

On this Day July 13

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On this Day June 12

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1963 – Civil rights leader Medgar Evers is shot and killed outside his Jackson, Mississippi home by a member of the Ku Klux Klan. His murder comes just hours after President John F. Kennedy had delivered a national address in support of civil rights.

1978 – David Berkowitz, the so-called “Son of Sam,” is sentenced to six consecutive life prison terms for a string of murders and attacks that terrified New Yorkers for a year.

1981 – Moviegoers meet Indiana Jones for the first time as “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” opens in theaters across the U.S. The movie, starring Harrison Ford, becomes another box office smash for director Steven Spielberg and launches one of the most successful motion picture franchises of all time.

1987 – In one of his most famous Cold War speeches, President Ronald Reagan challenges Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, a symbol of the repressive Communist era in a divided Germany.

1994 – Former football star O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, are stabbed to death in what leads to one of the highest-profile murder trials of the century. As the prime suspect, O.J. Simpson stands trial for the killings, but is ultimately acquitted. He is later found liable in a civil action brought by the victims’ families.

2016 – A gunman forces his way inside Pulse, an Orlando, Florida nightclub, and opens fire on the predominantly gay crowd, killing 49 people and injuring dozens more. Responding police shoot and kill the gunman, who was later determined to have ties to the terrorist group ISIS. The attack becomes the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history until an October 2017 rampage in Las Vegas.