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Today in History

Today is Friday, Dec. 10, the 344th day of 2021. There are 21 days left in the year.

Birthdays: Actor Fionnula Flanagan is 80. Pop singer Chad Stuart (Chad and Jeremy) is 80. R&B singer Ralph Tavares is 80. Actor-singer Gloria Loring is 75. Pop-funk musician Walter “Clyde” Orange (The Commodores) is 75. Country singer Johnny Rodriguez is 70. Actor Susan Dey is 69. Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is 65. Jazz musician Paul Hardcastle is 64. Actor John York (TV: “General Hospital”) is 63. Actor-director Kenneth Branagh is 61. Actor Nia Peeples is 60. TV chef Bobby Flay is 57. Rock singer-musician J Mascis is 56. Rock musician Scot Alexander (Dishwalla) is 50. Actor/singer Teyana Taylor is 31.

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In 1817, Mississippi was admitted as the 20th state of the Union.

In 1861, the Confederacy admitted Kentucky as it recognized a pro-Southern shadow state government that was acting without the authority of the pro-Union government in Frankfort.

In 1898, a treaty was signed in Paris officially ending the Spanish-American War.

In 1950, Ralph J. Bunche was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the first Black American to receive the award.

In 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. received his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, saying he accepted it “with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind.”

In 1967, singer Otis Redding, 26, and six others were killed when their plane crashed into Wisconsin’s Lake Monona; trumpeter Ben Cauley, a member of the group the Bar-Kays, was the only survivor.

In 1994, Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin received the Nobel Peace Prize, pledging to pursue their mission of healing the anguished Middle East.

In 1996, South African President Nelson Mandela signed the country’s new constitution into law during a ceremony in Sharpeville.

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In 2005, actor-comedian Richard Pryor died in Encino, California, at age 65.

In 2006, Former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet died at age 91.

In 2007, former Vice President Al Gore accepted the Nobel Peace Prize with a call for humanity to rise up against a looming climate crisis and stop waging war on the environment.

In 2011, tens of thousands of Russians staged anti-government protests, charging electoral fraud, and demanding an end to Vladimir Putin’s rule. Robert Griffin III beat out preseason favorite Andrew Luck to win the Heisman Trophy.

In 2013, South Africa held a memorial service for Nelson Mandela, during which US President Barack Obama energized tens of thousands of spectators and nearly 100 visiting heads of state with a plea for the world to emulate “the last great liberator of the 20th century.” (The ceremony was marred by the presence of a sign-language interpreter who deaf advocates said was an impostor waving his arms around meaninglessly.) General Motors named product chief Mary Barra its new CEO, making her the first woman to run a US car company.

In 2016, Donald Trump’s presidential transition team challenged the veracity of U.S. intelligence assessments that Russia had tried to tip the November election in his favor. Louisiana voters chose to send Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy to the nation’s capital, filling the nation’s last US Senate seat and giving the GOP a 52-48 edge in the chamber when the new term began. In college football, Army ended a 14-year run of frustration against Navy with a 21-17 victory. Sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson became the first Louisville player to win the Heisman Trophy.

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In 2019, House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, declaring that he “betrayed the nation” with his actions toward Ukraine and an obstruction of Congress’ investigation; Trump responded with a tweet of “WITCH HUNT!” At an evening rally in Pennsylvania, Trump mocked the impeachment effort and predicted it would lead to his reelection in 2020.

In 2020, a US government advisory panel endorsed widespread use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, putting the country one step away from launching an epic vaccination campaign. (The Food and Drug administration would authorize the vaccine the following day.) States drafted plans for who would get the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, as the nation’s death toll from the pandemic surpassed 3,100 in a single day for the first time. The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee heeded calls from American athletes by announcing that it wouldn’t penalize them for raising their fists or kneeling on the medals stand at the Tokyo Games and beyond. The Minneapolis City Council unanimously voted to shift about $8 million away from the police department and toward violence prevention and other programs, while keeping intact the mayor’s targeted staffing levels for sworn officers.