Today In History: Washington DC abolishes slave trade, U.S. Supreme Court rules that black citizens are eligible to vote...

1559 - Philip II of Spain and Henry II of France sign the peace of Cateau-Cambresis, ending a long series of wars between the Hapsburg and Valois dynasties.

1860 - The Pony Express mail, traveling by horse and rider relay teams, connects St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California.

1862 - Slavery is abolished in Washington, D.C.

1882 - One of America's most famous
criminals, Jesse James, was shot to death by fellow gang member Bob Ford, who betrayed James for reward money.

1942 - The Japanese infantry staged a major offensive against Allied troops in Bataan, the peninsula guarding Manila Bay of the Philippine Islands.

1944 - The U.S. Supreme Court rules that black citizens are eligible to vote in all elections, including primaries.

1948 - President Harry S. Truman signed off on legislation establishing the Foreign Assistance Act of 1948, more popularly known as the Marshall Plan. The act provided over $12 billion of assistance to aid in the economic recovery of Western Europe.

1974 -  148 tornadoes hit the United States heartland within 16 hours. By the time the deadly storm ended, 330 people had died. This was the largest grouping of tornadoes recorded in its time, affecting 11 states and Ontario, Canada.

1978 - The rise of the action-adventure blockbuster was on the horizon, but on this night at the 50th annual Academy Awards, held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, small-scale Woody Allen's romantic comedy 'Annie Hall' triumphed over George Lucas' big-budget space extravaganza 'Star Wars', winning the Oscar for Best Picture.

1984 - Coach John Thompson of Georgetown University becomes the first African-American coach to win an NCAA basketball tournament.

1996 - Ronald H. Brown, the U.S. secretary of commerce, was killed along with 32 other Americans when their U.S. Air Force plane crashed into a mountain near Dubrovnik, Croatia.

1996 - At his small wilderness cabin near Lincoln, Montana, Theodore John Kaczynski was arrested by FBI agents and accused of being the Unabomber, the elusive terrorist blamed for 16 mail bombs that killed three people and injured 23 during an 18-year period.

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