Today is Thursday, June 7, the 159th day of 2012. There are 207 days left in the year.
Today's Highlights in History:
On June 7, 1892, Homer Plessy, a "Creole of color," was arrested and fined for refusing to leave a whites-only car of the East Louisiana Railroad; his case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which at the time upheld "separate but equal" racial segregation, a concept overturned in 1954 by Brown v. Board of Education.
On this date:
In 1654, King Louis XIV, age 15, was crowned in Rheims, 11 years after the start of his reign.
In 1712, Pennsylvania's colonial assembly voted to ban the further importation of slaves.
In 1769, frontiersman Daniel Boone first began to explore present-day Kentucky.
In 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia proposed to the Continental Congress a resolution stating "That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown."
In 1862, William Bruce Mumford, a Confederate loyalist, was hanged at the order of Union military authorities for tearing down a U.S. flag that had been flying over the New Orleans mint shortly before the city was occupied by the North.
In 1929, the sovereign state of Vatican City came into existence as copies of the Lateran Treaty were exchanged in Rome.
In 1937, actress Jean Harlow died in Los Angeles at age 26.
In 1942, the World War II Battle of Midway ended in a decisive victory for American forces over the Imperial Japanese.
In 1967, the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic opened in San Francisco.
In 1972, the musical "Grease" opened on Broadway, having already been performed in lower Manhattan.
In 1981, Israeli military planes destroyed a nuclear power plant in Iraq, a facility the Israelis charged could have been used to make nuclear weapons.
In 1998, in a crime that shocked the nation, James Byrd Jr., a 49-year-old black man, was hooked by a chain to a pickup truck and dragged to his death in Jasper, Texas. (Two white men were later sentenced to death for the crime; a third received life with the possibility of parole.)
Ten years ago: A yearlong hostage crisis in the Philippines involving a U.S. missionary couple came to a bloody end as Filipino commandos managed to save only one of three captives, American Gracia Burnham. Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel was convicted in Norwalk, Conn., of beating Greenwich (GREH'-nihch) neighbor Martha Moxley to death when they were 15 in 1975. (Skakel, who continues to maintain his innocence, was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.)
Five years ago: At the G-8 summit in Germany, Russian President Vladimir Putin, bitterly opposed to a U.S. missile shield in Europe, presented President George W. Bush with a surprise counterproposal built around a Soviet-era radar system in Azerbaijan (ah-zur-by-JAHN'); Bush promised to consider the idea, but ended up essentially rejecting it. After three days in jail for a reckless-driving probation violation, Paris Hilton was released by Los Angeles County sheriff's officials to be sent home under house arrest. (The next day, a judge ordered Hilton back to jail, where she spent 2 1/2 weeks.)
One year ago: Moammar Gadhafi stood defiant in the face of the heaviest and most punishing NATO airstrikes to date, declaring in an audio address carried on Libyan state television, "We will not kneel!" Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, the al-Qaida mastermind behind the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, was killed at a security checkpoint in Mogadishu by Somali forces. NBC retained its hold on U.S. Olympic television rights in a four-games deal through 2020 worth nearly $4.4 billion, defeating rival bids from ESPN and Fox.
Today's Birthdays: Movie director James Ivory is 84. Actress Virginia McKenna is 81. Singer Tom Jones is 72. Poet Nikki Giovanni is 69. Actor Ken Osmond ("Leave It to Beaver") is 69. Former talk show host Jenny Jones is 66. Actress Anne Twomey is 61. Actor Liam Neeson is 60. Actress Colleen Camp is 59. Singer-songwriter Johnny Clegg is 59. Author Louise Erdrich (UR'-drihk) is 58. Actor William Forsythe is 57. Record producer L.A. Reid is 56. Latin pop singer Juan Luis Guerra is 55. Singer-songwriter Prince is 54. Rock singer-musician Gordon Gano (The Violent Femmes) is 49. Rapper Ecstasy (Whodini) is 48. Rock musician Eric Kretz (Stone Temple Pilots) is 46. Rock musician Dave Navarro is 45. Actress Helen Baxendale is 42. Actor Karl Urban is 40. TV personality Bear Grylls is 38. Rock musician Eric Johnson (The Shins) is 36. Actress Adrienne Frantz is 34. Actor-comedian Bill Hader is 34. Actress Anna Torv is 33. Actress Larisa Oleynik (oh-LAY'-nihk) is 31. Tennis player Anna Kournikova is 31. Actor Michael Cera is 24. Actress Shelley Buckner is 23.
Thought for Today: "Two men look out through the same bars: One sees the mud and one the stars." -- Frederick Langbridge, English clergyman and author (1849-1922).