Today in History | 100 years ago

Associated press

Today is Tuesday, January 21, the 21st day of 2020. There are 345 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in the story:

On January 21, 1861, Jefferson Davis of Mississippi and four other Southerners whose states had seceded from the Union resigned from the United States Senate.

In 1793, during the French Revolution, King Louis XVI, condemned for treason, was executed by guillotine.

In 1908, the New York Board of Aldermen passed an ordinance prohibiting women from smoking in public establishments (the measure was opposed by Mayor George B. McClellan Jr., but not before a woman, Katie Mulcahey, was imprisoned overnight for refusing to pay a fine).

In 1924, Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin died at the age of 53.

In 1950, former State Department official Alger Hiss, accused of being part of a communist spy ring, was convicted in New York of lying to a grand jury. (Hiss, who claimed his innocence, served less than four years in prison.)

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In 1954, the first atomic submarine, the USS Nautilus, was launched in Groton, Connecticut (however, the Nautilus didn’t make its first nuclear-powered run until almost a year later).

In 1976, British Airways and Air France inaugurated scheduled passenger service on the Concorde supersonic jet.

In 1977, on his first full day in office, President Jimmy Carter pardoned nearly every Vietnam War dodger.

In 1997, President Newt Gingrich was reprimanded and fined as the House voted for the first time in history to sanction his leader for ethical misconduct.

In 2003, the Census Bureau announced that Hispanics had overtaken blacks as America’s largest minority group.

In 2007, Lovie Smith became the first black head coach to make it to the Super Bowl when his Chicago Bears won the NFC Championship, defeating the New Orleans Saints 39–14; Tony Dungy became second when his Indianapolis Colts won the AFC title against the New England Patriots, 38-34.

Ten years ago: A bitterly divided United States Supreme Court, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, dramatically increased the power of big business and unions to influence government decisions by freeing them to spend their millions directly to influence elections for President and Congress.

Five years ago: Defying President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner announced that he had invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to appear before Congress and push for new sanctions against his nemesis Iran. (Netanyahu addressed Congress on March 3, 2015.)

One year ago: First-term senator and former California attorney general Kamala Harris has entered the Democratic presidential race. (Harris would retire from the race in December.)

Today’s birthdays: World Golf Hall of Famer Jack Nicklaus is 80. Opera singer Placido Domingo is 79 years old. Actress Jill Eikenberry is 73 years old. Country musician Jim Ibbotson is 73 years old. Singer-songwriter Billy Ocean is 70 years old. Former US Attorney General Eric Holder is 69. Geena Davis is 64 years old. Basketball Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon is 57.