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September 23, 2013

Today in History

Today is Monday, Sept. 23, the 266th day of 2013. There are 99 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On Sept. 23, 1952, Sen. Richard M. Nixon, R-Calif., salvaged his vice-presidential nomination by appearing live on television to refute allegations of improper campaign fundraising. (The address became known as the “Checkers” speech because of Nixon’s on-air reference to the family pet, a dog named Checkers.)

On this date:

In 63 B.C., Caesar Augustus, the first Roman emperor, was born.

In 1779, during the Revolutionary War, the American warship Bon Homme Richard, commanded by John Paul Jones, defeated the HMS Serapis in battle.

In 1780, British spy John Andre was captured along with papers revealing Benedict Arnold’s plot to surrender West Point to the British.

In 1806, the Lewis and Clark expedition returned to St. Louis more than two years after setting out for the Pacific Northwest.

In 1846, Neptune was identified as a planet by German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle.

In 1908, an apparent baserunning error by Fred Merkle of the New York Giants cost his team a victory against the Chicago Cubs and left the game tied 1-1. The Cubs won a rematch and with it, the National League pennant.

In 1912, Mack Sennett’s first Keystone short subject, a “split-reel” of two comedies both starring Mabel Normand and Ford Sterling (“Cohen Collects a Debt” and “The Water Nymph”), was released. Houston’s William Marsh Rice Institute, later renamed Rice University, opened for classes on the 12th anniversary of Rice’s death.

In 1949, President Harry S. Truman announced there was evidence the Soviet Union had recently conducted a nuclear test explosion. The test had been carried out on Aug. 29, 1949.

In 1957, nine black students who’d entered Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas were forced to withdraw because of a white mob outside.

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