Today’s Highlight in History
On Feb. 2, 1990: In a dramatic concession to South Africa’s Black majority, President F.W. de Klerk lifted a ban on the African National Congress and promised to free Nelson Mandela.
On this date
In 1536: Present-day Buenos Aires, Argentina, was founded by Pedro de Mendoza of Spain.
In 1653: New Amsterdam — now New York City — was incorporated.
In 1887: Punxsutawney, Pa., held its first Groundhog Day festival.
In 1913: New York City’s rebuilt Grand Central Terminal officially opened to the public at one minute past midnight.
In 1914: Charles Chaplin made his movie debut as the comedy short “Making a Living” was released by Keystone Film Co.
In 1925: The legendary Alaska Serum Run ended as the last of a series of dog mushers brought a life-saving treatment to Nome, the scene of a diphtheria epidemic, six days after the drug left Nenana.
In 1943: The remainder of Nazi forces from the Battle of Stalingrad surrendered in a major victory for the Soviets in World War II.
In 1948: President Harry S. Truman sent a 10-point civil rights program to Congress, where the proposals ran into fierce opposition from Southern lawmakers.
In 1980: NBC News reported the FBI had conducted a sting operation targeting members of Congress using phony Arab businessmen in what became known as “Abscam,” a codename protested by Arab-Americans.
In 2006: House Republicans elected John Boehner (BAY’-nur) of Ohio as their new majority leader to replace the indicted Tom DeLay.
In 2016: Health officials reported that a person in Texas had become infected with the Zika virus through sex in the first case of the illness being transmitted within the United States.
In 2017: Using a backhoe to smash through a barricade of water-filled footlockers, police stormed Delaware’s largest prison, ending a nearly 20-hour hostage standoff with inmates; one hostage, a guard, was killed.
In 2020: The Philippines reported that a 44-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan had died in a Manila hospital from the new coronavirus; it was the first death from the virus to be recorded outside of China. Authorities in parts of China extended the Lunar New Year holiday break well into February to try to keep people at home.
Ten years ago: Former Navy SEAL and “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle was fatally shot along with a friend, Chad Littlefield, at a gun range west of Glen Rose, Texas; suspect Eddie Ray Routh was later convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Coach Bill Parcells, Warren Sapp, Cris Carter, Jonathan Ogden and Larry Allen were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings closed out the season with two of the top NFL awards from The Associated Press: Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year. Actor John Kerr, 81, died in Pasadena, Calif.
Five years ago: At the sentencing hearing in Michigan for former sports doctor Larry Nassar, a distraught father of three girls who’d been sexually abused tried to attack Nassar before being tackled by sheriff’s deputies and hauled out of court. (Randall Margraves later apologized; the judge said there was “no way” she would fine him or send him to jail for trying to attack Nassar.)
One year ago: CNN President Jeff Zucker abruptly resigned after acknowledging a consensual relationship with another network executive. The relationship came to light during the investigation that led to the firing of the news network’s anchor Chris Cuomo. Four men were charged with being part of the drug distribution crew that supplied a deadly mix of narcotics to actor Michael K. Williams of “The Wire,” who had overdosed five months earlier.