Today in History 4/29


Today is Sunday, April 29, the 120th day of 2012. There are 246 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 29, 1992, rioting erupted in Los Angeles after a jury in Simi Valley, Calif., acquitted four Los Angeles police officers of almost all state charges in the videotaped beating of Rodney King; the violence resulted in 55 deaths and more than $1 billion in damage.

On this date:

• In 1429, Joan of Arc entered the besieged city of Orleans to lead a French victory over the English.

• In 1798, Joseph Haydn’s oratorio “The Creation” was rehearsed in Vienna, Austria, before an invited audience.

• In 1861, the Maryland House of Delegates voted 53-13 against seceding from the Union. In Montgomery, Ala., President Jefferson Davis asked the Confederate Congress for the authority to wage war.

• In 1916, the Easter Rising in Dublin collapsed as Irish nationalists surrendered to British authorities.

• In 1945, during World War II, American soldiers liberated the Dachau concentration camp. Adolf Hitler married Eva Braun and designated Adm. Karl Doenitz president.

• In 1946, 28 former Japanese officials went on trial in Tokyo as war criminals; seven ended up being sentenced to death.

• In 1961, “ABC’s Wide World of Sports” premiered, with Jim McKay as host.

• In 1974, President Richard M. Nixon announced he was releasing edited transcripts of some secretly made White House tape recordings related to Watergate.

• In 1983, Harold Washington was sworn in as the first black mayor of Chicago.

• In 1987, Ronnie DeSillers, a seven-year-old liver transplant recipient whose story had prompted thousands of Americans, including President Ronald Reagan, to lend support, died at a Pittsburgh hospital while awaiting a fourth transplant.

• In 1991, a cyclone struck the South Asian country of Bangladesh, claiming an estimated 138,000 lives.

• In 1992, Exxon executive Sidney Reso was kidnapped outside his Morris Township, N.J., home by Arthur Seale, a former Exxon security official, and Seale’s wife, Irene, and held for ransom; Reso died in captivity. (Arthur Seale is serving a 95-year prison term, while his wife was given a 20-year sentence; Irene Seale was released in November 2009.)

Ten years ago:

• A year after the loss of a seat it had held for over 50 years, the United States won election to the U.N. Human Rights Commission.

Five years ago:

• A man shot and killed two people when he opened fire in the parking lot of the Ward Parkway Center in Kansas City, Mo.; the gunman, David W. Logsdon, was killed by a police officer inside the mall. (Police later determined that Logsdon had also beaten to death his neighbor, Patricia Reed.)

• An elevated section of highway that carried motorists from the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to a number of freeways was destroyed after heat from an overturned gasoline truck caused part of one overpass to crumple onto another.

• St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Josh Hancock, 29, was killed in the crash of his sport utility vehicle.

One year ago:

• Britain’s Prince William and Kate Middleton were married in an opulent ceremony at London’s Westminster Abbey amid pomp, circumstance — and elaborate hats.

• President Barack Obama visited Tuscaloosa, Ala., one of the sites of deadly tornadoes two days earlier, saying he had “never seen devastation like this.”

Today’s Birthdays:

Actress Celeste Holm is 95. Poet Rod McKuen is 79. Actor Keith Baxter is 79. Bluesman Otis Rush is 78. Conductor Zubin Mehta is 76. Pop singer Bob Miranda (The Happenings) is 70. Country singer Duane Allen (The Oak Ridge Boys) is 69. Singer Tommy James is 65. Movie director Phillip Noyce is 62. Country musician Wayne Secrest (Confederate Railroad) is 62. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is 58. Actor Leslie Jordan is 57. Actress Kate Mulgrew is 57. Actor Daniel Day-Lewis is 55. Actress Michelle Pfeiffer is 54. Actress Eve Plumb is 54. Rock musician Phil King is 52. Country singer Stephanie Bentley is 49. Actor Vincent Ventresca is 46. Singer Carnie Wilson (Wilson Phillips) is 44. Actor Paul Adelstein is 43. Actress Uma Thurman is 42. Tennis player Andre Agassi is 42. Rapper Master P is 42. Country singer James Bonamy is 40. Gospel/rhythm-and-blues singer Erica Campbell (Mary Mary) is 40. Rock musician Mike Hogan (The Cranberries) is 39. Actor Tyler Labine is 34. Actress-model Taylor Cole is 28. Actor Zane Carney is 27.