Today in History: LBJ signs sweeping civil rights bill

By The Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, July 2, the 183rd day of 2019. There are 182 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight

in History:

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law a sweeping civil rights bill passed by Congress.

On this date:

In 1776, the Continental Congress passed a resolution saying that “these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.”

In 1881, President James A. Garfield was shot by Charles J. Guiteau at the Washington railroad station; Garfield died the following September. Guiteau was hanged in June 1882.

In 1892, the Populist Party (also known as the People’s Party) opened its first national convention in Omaha, Nebraska.

In 1917, rioting erupted in East St. Louis, Illinois, as white mobs attacked black residents; nearly 50 people, mostly blacks, are believed to have died in the violence.

In 1937, aviator Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first round-the-world flight along the equator.

In 1961, author Ernest Hemingway shot himself to death at his home in Ketchum, Idaho.

In 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Gregg v. Georgia, ruled 7-2 the death penalty was not inherently cruel or unusual.

In 1977, Russian-American author Vladimir Nabokov, 78, died in Montreux, Switzerland.

In 1982, Larry Walters of San Pedro, California, used a lawn chair equipped with 45 helium-filled weather balloons to rise to an altitude of 16,000 feet; he landed eight miles away in Long Beach.

In 1987, 18 Mexican immigrants were found dead inside a locked boxcar near Sierra Blanca, Texas, in what authorities called a botched smuggling attempt; a 19th man survived.

In 1996, electricity and phone service was knocked out for millions of customers from Canada to the Southwest on a record-hot day. Seven years after they shotgunned their parents to death in the family’s Beverly Hills mansion, Lyle and Erik Menendez were sentenced to life in prison without parole.

In 1997, Academy Award-winning actor James Stewart died in Beverly Hills, California, at age 89.

Ten years ago: Thousands of U.S. Marines poured into Taliban-controlled villages in southern Afghanistan in the first major operation under President Barack Obama’s strategy to stabilize the country. North Korea test-fired two short-range missiles. The 35-nation International Atomic Energy Agency chose Yukiya Amano of Japan as its next head. Federal marshals took possession of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff’s $7 million Manhattan penthouse, forcing Madoff’s wife, Ruth, to move elsewhere.

Five years ago: Palestinians accused Israeli extremists of abducting and killing an Arab teenager and burning his body, sparking hours of clashes in east Jerusalem and drawing charges that the youth was murdered to avenge the killings of three kidnapped Israeli teens. Louis Zamperini, 97, an Olympic runner who survived a bomber crash in the Pacific Ocean, weeks adrift and then years as a Japanese prisoner of war and became the subject of a celebrated book and movie, died in Los Angeles.