August 5, 2020, 4:00 AM
5 min read
Today in History
Today is Wednesday, Aug. 5, the 218th day of 2020. There are 148 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On August 5, 1974, the White House released transcripts of subpoenaed tape recordings showing that President Richard Nixon and his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, had discussed a plan in June 1972 to use the CIA to thwart the FBI’s Watergate investigation; revelation of the tape sparked Nixon’s resignation.
On this date:
In 1864, during the Civil War, Union Adm. David G. Farragut led his fleet to victory in the Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama.
In 1914, what’s believed to be the first electric traffic light system was installed in Cleveland, Ohio, at the intersection of East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue.
In 1936, Jesse Owens of the United States won the 200-meter dash at the Berlin Olympics, collecting the third of his four gold medals.
In 1953, Operation Big Switch began as remaining prisoners taken during the Korean War were exchanged at Panmunjom.
In 1961, the amusement park Six Flags Over Texas had its official grand opening day in Arlington.
In 1962, movie star Marilyn Monroe, 36, was found dead in her Los Angeles home; her death was ruled a probable suicide from “acute barbiturate poisoning.” South African anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela was arrested on charges of leaving the country without a passport and inciting workers to strike; it was the beginning of 27 years of imprisonment.
In 1964, U.S. Navy pilot Everett Alvarez Jr. became the first American flier to be shot down and captured by North Vietnam; he was held prisoner until February 1973.
In 1966, the Beatles’ “Revolver” album was released in the United Kingdom on the Parlophone label; it was released in the United States three days later by Capitol Records. (Songs included “Eleanor Rigby” and “Yellow Submarine,” which were also issued as a double A-side single on Aug. 5 and 8.)
In 1981, the federal government began firing air traffic controllers who had gone out on strike.
In 1984, actor Richard Burton died in Geneva, Switzerland, at age 58.
In 1991, Democratic congressional leaders formally launched an investigation into whether the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign had secretly conspired with Iran to delay release of American hostages until after the presidential election, thereby preventing an “October surprise” that supposedly would have benefited President Jimmy Carter. (A task force later concluded there was “no credible evidence” of such a deal.)
In 2002, the coral-encrusted gun turret of the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor was raised from the floor of the Atlantic, nearly 140 years after the historic warship sank during a storm.
Ten years ago: The Senate confirmed Elena Kagan, 63-37, as the Supreme Court’s 112th justice and the fourth woman in its history. BP finished pumping cement into the blown Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. Thirty-three workers were trapped in a copper mine in northern Chile after a tunnel caved in (all were rescued after being entombed for 69 days). Ten members of a Christian medical team from the International Assistance Mission were gunned down in Afghanistan by unknown attackers.
Five years ago: In a speech at American University in Washington, President Barack Obama assailed critics of his Iran nuclear deal as “selling a fantasy” to the American people, warning Congress that blocking the accord would damage the nation’s credibility and increase the likelihood of more war in the Middle East. Actor Jennifer Aniston secretly married actor-director Justin Theroux at their home in Bel Air, California.
One year ago: In the wake of deadly shootings in Texas and Ohio, President Donald Trump called for bipartisan solutions to gun violence and said he wanted legislation providing “strong background checks” for gun users. The online message board 8chan was effectively knocked offline after two companies cut off technical services; the gunman responsible for a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas had been linked to the site. The Trump administration froze all Venezuelan government assets in a dramatic escalation of tensions with Nicolás Maduro. Cesar Sayoc, a Florida amateur body builder who had sent pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and CNN, was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a judge who concluded that the bombs were not designed to explode. The U.S. Treasury Department labeled China a currency manipulator after China pushed down the value of its yuan in an escalating trade conflict with the United States. Toni Morrison, the first Black woman to receive the Nobel literature prize, died at 88 in New York; her novels included “Beloved,” and “The Bluest Eye.”
Today’s Birthdays: College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL player Roman Gabriel is 80. Country songwriter Bobby Braddock is 80. Actor Loni Anderson is 75. Actor Erika Slezak is 74. Rock singer Rick Derringer is 73. Actor Holly Palance is 70. Pop singer Samantha Sang is 69. Rock musician Eddie Ojeda (Twisted Sister) is 65. Actor-singer Maureen McCormick is 64. Rock musician Pat Smear is 61. Author David Baldacci is 60. Actor Tawney Kitaen is 59. Actor Janet McTeer is 59. Country musician Mark O’Connor is 59. Basketball Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing is 58. Actor Mark Strong is 57. Director-screenwriter James Gunn is 54. Actor Jonathan Silverman is 54. Country singer Terri Clark is 52. Actor Stephanie Szostak is 49. Retired MLB All-Star John Olerud is 52. Rock musician Eicca Toppinen (EYE’-kah TAH’-pihn-nehn) (Apocalyptica) is 45. Actor Jesse Williams is 40. Actor Brendon Ryan Barrett is 34. Actor Meegan Warner (TV: “TURN: Washington’s Spies”) is 29. Actor/singer Olivia Holt is 23. Actor Albert Tsai is 16. Actor Devin Trey Campbell is 12.