Today in 1609, the Biblioteca Ambrosiana opened its reading room, the second public library of Europe.
Today in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued his Amnesty Proclamation and plan for Reconstruction of the South.
Today in 1878, the Catholic Church outlawed castration for its choirs. Young men and boys so “affected” had been known as ‘the Castrati’ – and the practice had been going on since the late 16th century
Today in 1936, the NAACP filed suit to equalize salaries of black and white teachers.
Today in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered "Day of Infamy" speech to Congress – and the United States officially entered World War II as Congress declared war against Japan, a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Today in 1949, Marion Ladewig became the first official female bowling champion after winning an all-star tournament in Chicago.
Today in 1962, a newspaper strike began in New York – lasting four months. Unions were resisting automation of the printing presses and upset about wages.
Today in 1963, Frank Sinatra Jr. was kidnapped from a hotel in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The kidnappers asked for $240,000 in ransom, but they were caught and found to be former classmates of Nancy Sinatra and Frank Jr.'s brother.
Today in 1978, former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir died in Jerusalem at the age of 80. The fourth PM overall, she was the first woman to hold the title.
Today in 1980, the world was shocked by the news that John Lennon had been shot and killed by Mark David Chapman outside his New York City apartment building. The former Beatle was just 40-years-old. Chapman has remained in prison ever since, having been denied parole ten times since he became eligible in 2000. His 11th parole hearing is scheduled for August 2020.
Today in 1982, the film, "48 Hours," starring Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte arrived in theaters.
Today in 1984, a jury in Virginia found Larry Flynt, the publisher of “Hustler” magazine, innocent of libeling the Reverend Jerry Falwell with a parody advertisement, but awarded Falwell $200,000 for emotional distress. The award was later overturned.
Today in 1984, "Captain Kangaroo,” starring Bob Keeshan, went off the air after airing for 29 years on CBS.
Today in 1989, the film, "The War of the Roses," starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, opened in theaters nationwide.
Today in 1992, NBC announced that "Cheers" would have its series finale in May of 1993.
Today in 1994, a fire tore through a theater in Karamay China, killing more than 300. During the fire, the students and teachers were ordered to remain seated to allow Communist Party officials to walk out first. The fire killed 325, including 288 schoolchildren.
Today in 1998, the Supreme Court ruled that police can’t search people and their cars after merely ticketing them for routine traffic violations.
Today in 1999, a jury in Memphis, Tennessee heard a lawsuit filed by the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr's family, which found that the civil rights leader had been the victim of a vast murder conspiracy, not a lone assassin.
Today in 2007, the 73rd Heisman Trophy Award went to Tim Tebow.
Today in 2008, a series of bombings in Baghdad, Iraq killed 127 and injured 448.
Today in 2010, SpaceX became the first privately held company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft – with the launch of the SpaceX Dragon.