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Today in History (12-10-12)
On This Day:
In 1817, Mississippi became the 20th state in the Union.
In 1896, Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel died. He founded the Nobel Prizes.
In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt became the first American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Roosevelt was honored for his efforts in helping to mediate an end to the Russo-Japanese War.
In 1927, radio announcer George Hay introduced the "WSM Barn Dance" as the "Grand Ole Opry." It changed the name of the program forever.
In 1946, the Toys for Tots campaign was organized.
In 1946, Baseball Hall-of-Famer Walter Johnson died at the age of 59.
In 1950, United Nations undersecretary Dr. Ralph Bunche became the first black American to receive a Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1953, Hugh Hefner published the first "Playboy" magazine. The magazine featured a nude calendar photo of actress Marilyn Monroe.
In 1955, the NBC game show "The Big Surprise" awarded the largest amount of money ever given away on television up until this date. Ethel Park Richardson of Los Angeles won $100-thousand.
In 1963, President Johnson called on Congress to pass Civil Rights legislation without delay.
In 1964, at age 35, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was the youngest person to win the award.
In 1967, Hall-of-Fame soul singer Otis Redding was killed in a plane crash in Wisconsin.
In 1977, legendary University of Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp died at the age of 76. He coached Kentucky to four national titles during his 44-year career.
In 1978, "B" movie producer, director Ed Wood died at the age of 54. He directed such films as "Plan Nine From Outer Space" and "Bride of the Monster."
In 1984, the charity song "Do They Know It's Christmas" by Band Aid was released. It became the biggest selling record of all-time in Britain.
In 1984, South African Bishop Desmond Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1986, the 53-story Exxon building in Manhattan was sold for $610-million.
In 1990, Occidental Petroleum founder Armand Hammer died at the age of 92.
In 1993, South African President F.W. de Klerk and African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela accepted their joint Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.
In 1996, South African President Nelson Mandela signed a law ending apartheid.
In 1999, more than two million people marched in Cuba to demand the return of Elian Gonzalez -- the young Cuban refugee who was found adrift in waters along the Florida coast. His case became an international custody battle between his Miami relatives and his family in Cuba.
In 2004, the movie "Ocean's Twelve," a sequel to the 2001 Rat Pack remake "Ocean's Eleven," starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, opened in theaters nationwide.
In 2004, the Godfather of Soul James Brown announced that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and would undergo surgery to treat the disease.
In 2005, comedian Richard Pryor died of heart failure at the age of 65. The comic legend had battled multiple sclerosis since 1986.
In 2005, former senator Eugene McCarthy died at the age of 89. The former Minnesota Senator burst onto the national political stage in 1968 when he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination. His showing in the New Hampshire primary prompted then-President Lyndon Johnson to drop out of the race.
In 2006, a week after suffering a heart attack, former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet died at the age of 91. Pinochet had been in failing health prior to his heart attack. He had spent much of his older years fighting charges of fraud, corruption and violating human rights. He ruled Chile from 1973 until 1990. During his regime, more than three-thousand people died in political violence.
In 2008, New York Film Critics named the political biopic "Milk," starring Sean Penn, the best film of 2008. Penn was also named Best Actor. British actress Sally Hawkins, star of the movie "Happy-Go-Lucky," was named Best Actress, while the film's director Mike Leigh was named Best Director.
In 2009, President Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. In his acceptance speech in Oslo, Norway, the president referred to his goal of a "just and lasting peace," while acknowledging that for all the cruelty and hardship in our world, our actions matter and can bend history in the direction of justice.
In 2011, in a ceremony in Oslo, Norway, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and women's rights."
In 2011, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin the Third was awarded the 2011 Heisman Trophy as the nation's top college football player.
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