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Detroit Tigers great Ty Cobb is shown sliding in this undated photo. (AP Photo/Tigers Archives )

Today in History

Today is Friday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2013. There are 123 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On August 30, 1983, Guion S. Bluford Jr. became the first black American astronaut to travel in space as he blasted off aboard the Challenger.

On this date:

In 1861, Union Gen. John C. Fremont instituted martial law in Missouri and declared slaves there to be free. (However, Fremont's emancipation order was countermanded by President Abraham Lincoln).

In 1862, Confederate forces won victories against the Union at the Second Battle of Bull Run in Manassas, Va., and the Battle of Richmond in Kentucky.

In 1905, Ty Cobb made his major-league debut as a player for the Detroit Tigers, hitting a double in his first at-bat in a game against the New York Highlanders. (The Tigers won, 5-3.)

In 1941, during World War II, German forces approaching Leningrad cut off the remaining rail line out of the city.

In 1945, Gen. Douglas MacArthur arrived in Japan to set up Allied occupation headquarters.

In 1963, the "Hot Line" communications link between Washington and Moscow went into operation.

In 1967, the Senate confirmed the appointment of Thurgood Marshall as the first black justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1986, Soviet authorities arrested Nicholas Daniloff, a correspondent for U.S. News and World Report, as a spy a week after American officials arrested Gennadiy Zakharov, a Soviet employee of the United Nations, on espionage charges in New York. (Both men were later released.)

In 1987, a redesigned space shuttle booster, created in the wake of the Challenger disaster, roared into life in its first full-scale test-firing near Brigham City, Utah.

In 1991, Azerbaijan declared its independence, joining the stampede of republics seeking to secede from the Soviet Union.

In 1993, "The Late Show with David Letterman" premiered on CBS-TV.

In 1997, Americans received word of the car crash in Paris that claimed the lives of Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed and their driver, Henri Paul. (Because of the time difference, it was Aug. 31 where the crash occurred.)

Ten years ago: A Russian submarine being towed to a scrap yard sank in a gale in the Barents Sea, killing nine of the 10-member crew. The World Trade Organization agreed to let impoverished nations import cheaper copies of patented medicines needed to fight killer diseases. Actor Charles Bronson, 81, died in Los Angeles. Inventor Robert Abplanalp, confidant of President Richard Nixon, died in Bronxville, N.Y., at age 81.

Five years ago: Hurricane Gustav slammed into Cuba as a monstrous Category 4 storm, damaging 100,000 homes and causing billions of dollars in damage, but no reported fatalities. Pro wrestling pioneer Walter "Killer" Kowalski died in Everett, Mass., at age 81.

One year ago: Mitt Romney launched his fall campaign for the White House with a rousing, remarkably personal speech to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., proclaiming that America needs "jobs, lots of jobs." Earlier in the evening, actor-director Clint Eastwood offered an endorsement of Romney that entailed using an empty chair to represent President Barack Obama. The Justice Department announced it had ended its investigation into CIA interrogations of terrorist detainees without bringing criminal charges. Twin satellites were launched by NASA on a quest to explore Earth's treacherous radiation belts and protect the planet from solar outbursts.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Bill Daily is 86. Actress Elizabeth Ashley is 74. Actor Ben Jones is 72. Cartoonist R. Crumb is 70. Olympic gold medal skier Jean-Claude Killy is 70. Actress Peggy Lipton is 66. Comedian Lewis Black is 65. Actor Timothy Bottoms is 62. Actor David Paymer is 59. Jazz musician Gerald Albright is 56. Actor Michael Chiklis is 50. Music producer Robert Clivilles is 49. Actress Michael Michele is 47. Country musician Geoff Firebaugh is 45. Country singer Sherrie Austin is 42. Rock singer-musician Lars Frederiksen (Rancid) is 42. Actress Cameron Diaz is 41. Rock musician Leon Caffrey (Space) is 40. TV personality Lisa Ling is 40. Rock singer-musician Aaron Barrett (Reel Big Fish) is 39. Actor Michael Gladis is 36. Rock musician Matt Taul (Tantric; Days of the New) is 35. Tennis player Andy Roddick is 31. Rock musician Ryan Ross is 27. Actor Cameron Finley is 26.

Thought for Today: "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not." — Proverbs 1:10.

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