This day in history

Today is Sunday, Aug. 4, the 216th day of 2019. There are 149 days left in the year.

Birthdays: Actress-singer Tina Cole is 76. Actor-comedian Richard Belzer is 75. Football Hall of Famer John Riggins is 70. Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is 64. Actor-screenwriter Billy Bob Thornton is 64. Hall of Fame track star Mary Decker Slaney is 61. Actress Lauren Tom is 60. Former president Obama is 58. Retired Red Sox All-Star pitcher Roger Clemens is 57. Actress Crystal Chappell is 54. Author Dennis Lehane is 54. Actor Daniel Dae Kim is 51. Former race car driver Jeff Gordon is 48. Britain’s Duchess of Sussex, the former actress Meghan Markle, is 38. Actress Abigail Spencer is 38. Actress-director Greta Gerwig is 36.


In 1790, the Coast Guard had its beginnings as President Washington signed a measure authorizing a group of revenue cutters to enforce tariff and trade laws and prevent smuggling.

In 1830, plans for the city of Chicago were laid out.

In 1914, Britain declared war on Germany for invading Belgium; the United States proclaimed its neutrality in the mushrooming world conflict.

In 1936, Jesse Owens of the United States won the second of his four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics as he prevailed in the long jump over German Luz Long, who was the first to congratulate him.

In 1944, 15-year-old diarist Anne Frank was arrested with her sister, parents and four others by the Gestapo after hiding for two years inside a building in Amsterdam. (Anne and her sister, Margot, died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.)

In 1964, the bodies of missing civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney were found buried in an earthen dam in Mississippi.

In 1972, Arthur Bremer was convicted and sentenced in Maryland to 63 years in prison for his attempt on the life of Alabama Governor George C. Wallace (Bremer was released from prison in 2007).


In 1977, President Carter signed a measure establishing the Department of Energy.

In 1987, the Federal Communications Commission voted 4-0 to abolish the Fairness Doctrine, which required radio and television stations to present balanced coverage of controversial issues.

In 1993, a federal judge sentenced Los Angeles police officers Stacey Koon and Laurence Powell to 2½ years in prison for violating Rodney King’s civil rights.

In 2009, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il pardoned American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee for entering the country illegally and ordered their release during a surprise visit by former president Clinton. Taliban militants unleashed a wave of rockets at Kabul’s international airport and government buildings less than three weeks before Afghanistan’s presidential election.

In 2014, on the first day of a US-Africa summit in Washington, President Obama announced $33 billion in commitments aimed at shifting US ties with Africa beyond humanitarian aid and toward more equal economic partnerships. Israel and Hamas accepted an Egyptian cease-fire proposal meant to halt a bruising monthlong war that had claimed nearly 2,000 lives. James Brady, 73, the affable, witty press secretary who had survived a devastating head wound in the 1981 assassination attempt against President Reagan and undertook a personal campaign for gun control, died in Virginia.

Last year, a utility worker was killed in a vehicle-related accident near a Northern California wildfire, becoming the seventh person to die amid the immense blaze that had been burning for two weeks near Redding.