This Day in History: Oct. 16

This Day in History: Oct. 16

On this day, Oct. 16 …

1962: The Cuban missile crisis begins as President John F. Kennedy is informed that reconnaissance photos reveal the presence of missile bases in Cuba.

Also on this day:

  • 1793: During the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette, the queen of France, is beheaded.
  • 1859: Radical abolitionist John Brown leads a group of 21 men in a raid on Harpers Ferry in western Virginia (Now West Virginia). Ten of Brown’s men are killed and five escape. Brown and six followers are captured; all are executed.)
  • 1901: Booker T. Washington dines at the White House as the guest of President Theodore Roosevelt, whose invitation to the black educator sparks controversy.
  • 1916: Planned Parenthood has its beginnings as Margaret Sanger and her sister, Ethel Byrne, open the first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, N.Y. 
  • 1968: American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos spark controversy at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City by giving “black power” salutes during a victory ceremony after winning gold and bronze medals in the 200-meter race.
  • 1969: The New York Mets cap their miracle season by winning the World Series, defeating the Baltimore Orioles, 5-3, in Game 5 played at Shea Stadium in New York City.
  • 1978: The College of Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church chooses Cardinal Karol Wojtyla to be the new pope; he takes the name John Paul II. His predecessor, John Paul I, died just 33 days after succeeding Pope Paul VI.
  • 1987: A 58-1/2-hour drama in Midland, Texas, ends happily as rescuers free Jessica McClure, an 18-month-old girl trapped in a narrow, abandoned well.
  • 1995: A vast throng of black men gather in Washington, D.C., for the “Million Man March” led by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
  • 2002: President George W. Bush signs a congressional resolution authorizing war against Iraq. The White House also announces that North Korea disclosed it has a nuclear weapons program.
  • 2009: The government reports that the federal budget deficit for the just-ended fiscal year totals an all-time high of $1.42 trillion (a record that still stands). 
  • 2009: Agricultural officials say pigs in Minnesota tested positive for the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, the first such cases in the U.S.
  • 2014: During a special congressional hearing on the Ebola crisis, Republican lawmakers press for a ban on travel to the U.S. from the West African outbreak zone; the White House resists the idea and tries to tamp down fear as the pool of Americans being monitored expands.
  • 2018: A Turkish official says police searching the Saudi Consulate found evidence that Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi had been killed there. 


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