This Day in History

Posted: Monday, June 09, 2003

In Alaska

• In 1939, the Walker Act, also called the "Cocktail Bar Law", went into effect despite protests that it would return Alaska to the crime ridden days of saloons.

• In 1947, the Farwest Packing Company cannery at Wrangell was destroyed in a fire.

• In 1958, Governor Mike Stepovich's portrait appeared on the cover of Time Magazine, illustrating a five-page story on Alaska. An earthquake hit near Yakutat, registering 8.0 on the Richter scale.

• In 1979, a 5-day-old fire near Delta Junction hopped the Alaska Highway near the Gerstle River and sealed off Canadian traffic to Fairbanks. Damage to the 50,000 acre Delta Barley project was estimated at 12,800 acres.

In the nation

• In 1953, about 100 people died when a tornado struck Worcester, Mass.

• In 1954, Army counsel Joseph N. Welch asked Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, "Have you no sense of decency, sir?" during the Senate-Army Hearings.

• In 1969, the U.S. Senate confirmed Warren Burger to be the new chief justice of the United States, succeeding Earl Warren.

• In 1973, 30 years ago, "Secretariat" became horse racing's first Triple Crown winner in 25 years by winning the Belmont Stakes.

• In 1978, 25 years ago, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints struck down a 148-year-old policy of excluding black men from the Mormon priesthood.

• In 1980, comedian Richard Pryor suffered almost fatal burns at his San Fernando Valley, Calif., home when a mixture of "free-base" cocaine exploded.

• In 1986, the Rogers Commission released its report on the "Challenger" disaster, criticizing NASA and rocket-builder Morton Thiokol for management problems leading to the explosion that claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

• In 1998, three white men were charged in Jasper, Texas, with the brutal dragging death of James Byrd Jr., a black man. President Clinton unleashed a torrent of public works money, signing a $203 billion-dollar transportation bill.

In the world

• In A.D. 68, the Roman Emperor Nero committed suicide.

• In 1870, author Charles Dickens died in Godshill, England.

• In 1940, Norway surrendered to the Nazis during World War II.

• In 1985, American educator Thomas Sutherland was kidnapped in Lebanon; he was released in November 1991 along with fellow hostage Terry Waite.

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