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June 19, 2013

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, June 19, the 170th day of 2013. There are 195 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On June 19, 1953, Julius Rosenberg, 35, and his wife, Ethel, 37, convicted of conspiring to pass U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, were executed at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, N.Y.

On this date:

In 1862, Congress passed, and President Abraham Lincoln signed, a measure abolishing slavery in U.S. territories.

In 1865, Union troops commanded by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War was over, and that all remaining slaves in Texas were free.

In 1910, the first-ever Father’s Day was celebrated in Spokane, Wash. (The idea for the observance is credited to Sonora Louise Smart Dodd.)

In 1934, the Federal Communications Commission was created; it replaced the Federal Radio Commission.

In 1938, four dozen people were killed when a railroad bridge in Montana collapsed, sending a train known as the Olympian hurtling into Custer Creek.

In 1952, the celebrity-panel game show “I’ve Got A Secret” made its debut on CBS-TV with Garry Moore as host.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy, speaking to Congress, criticized lawmakers for not acting on proposed civil rights legislation and called for passage of a single omnibus bill, the Civil Rights Act of 1963. Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova returned to Earth after three days as the first woman in space.

In 1972, Hurricane Agnes, blamed for at least 122 deaths, made landfall over the Florida Panhandle.

In 1973, the rock musical “The Rocky Horror Show” premiered in London (it was later adapted into the movie “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”).

In 1986, University of Maryland basketball star Len Bias, the first draft pick of the Boston Celtics, suffered a fatal cocaine-induced seizure. Artificial heart recipient Murray P. Haydon died in Louisville, Ky., after 16 months on the manmade pump.

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