Today’s Highlight in History

On Oct. 20, 1973: in the so-called “Saturday Night Massacre,” special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox was dismissed and Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William B. Ruckelshaus resigned.

On this date ...

In 1803: The U.S. Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase.

In 1936: Helen Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan Macy, died in Forest Hills, N.Y., at age 70.

In 1947: The House Un-American Activities Committee opened hearings into alleged Communist influence and infiltration in the U.S. motion picture industry.

In 1967: A jury in Meridian, Mississippi, convicted seven men of violating the civil rights of slain civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner; the seven received prison terms ranging from 3 to 10 years.

In 1976: 78 people were killed when the Norwegian tanker Frosta rammed the commuter ferry George Prince on the Mississippi River near New Orleans.

In 1977: Three members of the rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd, including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, were killed along with three others in the crash of a chartered plane near McComb, Mississippi.

In 1987: 10 people were killed when an Air Force jet crashed into a Ramada Inn hotel near Indianapolis International Airport after the pilot, who was trying to make an emergency landing, ejected safely.

In 1990: Three members of the rap group 2 Live Crew were acquitted by a jury in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., of violating obscenity laws with an adults-only concert in nearby Hollywood the previous June.

In 2001: Officials announced that anthrax had been discovered in a House postal facility on Capitol Hill.

In 2004: A U.S. Army staff sergeant, Ivan “Chip” Frederick, pleaded guilty to abusing Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison. (Frederick was sentenced to eight years in prison; he was paroled in 2007.)

In 2011: Moammar Gadhafi, 69, Libya’s dictator for 42 years, was killed as revolutionary fighters overwhelmed his hometown of Sirte and captured the last major bastion of resistance two months after his regime fell.

In 2018: Saudi Arabia announced that journalist Jamal Khashoggi had been killed in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul; there was immediate international skepticism over the Saudi account that Khashoggi had died during a “fistfight.”

Ten years ago: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hailed what they called their strong strategic relationship, saying they were united in efforts to establish a “new world order” that would eliminate Western dominance over global affairs. NPR fired news analyst Juan Williams after he talked about feeling nervous on airline flights with people in Muslim attire during an interview on Fox News Channel. Bob Guccione, 79, founder of Penthouse magazine, died in Plano, Texas.

Five years ago: The United States and Russia signed an agreement to minimize risks of air collisions as they separately carried out airstrikes in Syria. Chinese President Xi Jinping began a much anticipated state visit to Britain, where he was welcomed as an honored guest at Buckingham Palace and Parliament. Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb said he was dropping out of the Democratic race for president.

One year ago: Voters in Bolivia went to the polls for a presidential election that three-term incumbent Evo Morales would claim to have won. (Morales would resign in November when the police and army withdrew support after weeks of demonstrations over allegations of election fraud.)