fb-pixel Skip to main content

Today in History

Today is Monday, June 21, the 172nd day of 2021. There are 193 days left in the year.

Birthdays: Composer Lalo Schifrin is 89. Actor Bernie Kopell is 88. Actor Monte Markham is 86. Songwriter Don Black is 83. Actor Mariette Hartley is 81. Comedian Joe Flaherty is 80. Rock singer-musician Ray Davies (The Kinks) is 77. Actor Meredith Baxter is 74. Actor Michael Gross (Baxter’s costar on the sitcom “Family Ties”) is 74. Rock musician Joe Molland (Badfinger) is 74. Rock musician Don Airey (Deep Purple) is 73. Rock musician Joey Kramer (Aerosmith) is 71. Rock musician Nils Lofgren is 70. Actor Robyn Douglass is 69. Actor Leigh McCloskey is 66. Cartoonist Berke Breathed is 64. Actor Josh Pais is 63. Country singer Kathy Mattea is 62. Oregon Governor Kate Brown is 61. Actor Marc Copage is 59. Actor Sammi Davis is 57. Actor Doug Savant is 57. Country musician Porter Howell is 57. Actor Michael Dolan is 56. Writer-director Lana Wachowski is 56. Actor Carrie Preston is 54. Actor Paula Irvine is 53. Rapper/producer Pete Rock is 51. Actor Chris Pratt is 42. Rock singer Brandon Flowers is 40. Britain’s Prince William is 39. Actor Jussie Smollett is 39. Pop singer Kris Allen (TV: “American Idol”) is 36. Pop/rock singer Lana Del Rey is 36. Pop singer Rebecca Black is 24.


In 1788, the United States Constitution went into effect as New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify it.

In 1942, German forces led by Generaloberst (Colonel General) Erwin Rommel captured the Libyan city of Tobruk during World War II. (Rommel was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal; Tobruk was retaken by the Allies in November 1942.)

In 1943, Army nurse Lieutenant Edith Greenwood became the first woman to receive the Soldier’s Medal for showing heroism during a fire at a military hospital in Yuma, Ariz.


In 1954, the American Cancer Society presented a study to the American Medical Association meeting in San Francisco which found that men who regularly smoked cigarettes died at a considerably higher rate than non-smokers.

In 1963, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini was chosen during a conclave of his fellow cardinals to succeed the late Pope John XXIII; the new pope took the name Paul VI.

In 1964, civil rights workers Michael H. Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James E. Chaney were slain in Philadelphia, Miss.; their bodies were found buried in an earthen dam six weeks later. (Forty-one years later on this date in 2005, Edgar Ray Killen, an 80-year-old former Ku Klux Klansman, was found guilty of manslaughter; he was sentenced to 60 years in prison, where he died in January 2018.)

In 1973, the US Supreme Court, in Miller v. California, ruled that states may ban materials found to be obscene according to local standards.

In 1977, Menachem Begin of the Likud bloc became Israel’s sixth prime minister.

In 1982, a jury in Washington, D.C., found John Hinckley Jr. not guilty by reason of insanity in the shootings of President Ronald Reagan and three other men.

In 1989, a sharply divided Supreme Court ruled that burning the American flag as a form of political protest was protected by the First Amendment.

In 1997, the WNBA made its debut as the New York Liberty defeated the host Los Angeles Sparks 67-57.


In 2002, one of the worst wildfires in Arizona history grew to 128,000 acres, forcing thousands of homeowners near the community of Show Low to flee.

In 2010, Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistan-born US citizen, pleaded guilty to charges of plotting a failed car bombing in New York’s Times Square. (Shahzad was later sentenced to life in prison.)

In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration announced that cigarette packs in the US would have to carry macabre images that included rotting teeth and gums, diseased lungs, and a sewn-up corpse of a smoker as part of a graphic campaign aimed at discouraging Americans from lighting up. Amid street protests, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou survived a confidence vote.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton, during a visit to the battleground state of Ohio, said Donald Trump would send the US economy back into recession, warning that his “reckless” approach would hurt workers still trying to recover from the 2008 economic turbulence. North Korea fired two suspected powerful new Musudan midrange ballistic missiles, according to US and South Korean military officials, the communist regime’s fifth and sixth such attempts since April 2016. The Obama administration approved routine commercial use of small drones in areas such as farming, advertising and real estate after years of struggling to write rules to protect public safety.

In 2020, an initially peaceful protest in Portland, Ore., against racial injustice turned violent, as police used flash-bang grenades to disperse demonstrators throwing bottles, cans, and rocks at sheriff’s deputies. Spectators in Raleigh, N.C., cheered as work crews finished the job started by protesters and removed a Confederate statue from atop a 75-foot monument. NASCAR said a rope shaped like a noose had been found in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace, the only full-time Black driver in NASCAR’s elite Cup Series, at a race in Talladega, Ala. (Federal authorities found that the rope had been hanging there for months, and that it was not a hate crime.) New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the American Museum of Natural History would remove from its entrance a statue depicting Theodore Roosevelt on horseback with a Native American man and an African man standing alongside; critics said it symbolized colonial expansion and racial discrimination.