Way back when: Today in history
BY GENE CURTIS
Monday, February 11, 2013
2/11/13 at 2:33 AM
1920 - Gen. Pershing in Tulsa
Gen. John J. Pershing, who had commanded American Expeditionary Forces during World War I and became the Army chief of staff in the 1920s, was called Tulsa's most distinguished visitor ever during a visit. Pershing was guest of honor in a parade through downtown and at a reception at Hotel Tulsa before taking a tour of the city that included a stop at 21st Street and Utica Avenue to break ground for the proposed St. John's Hospital. A school holiday was declared to give children a chance to see the famous commander.
1932 - Floyd escapes police
After a gun battle at Fifth Street and Utica Avenue with outlaw Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd, Tulsa police received a tip and tried to corner Floyd and a companion at a house on East Young Street. But Floyd and his companion, believed to be George Birdwell, fled out the back door as heavily armed police concentrated on the front of the house. Floyd's wife, Ruby, and son, Jack, 7, had left the house as the police approached and were later picked up at the bus station. Ruby never confirmed she was Floyd's wife, but the boy recognized a photo police showed him. "That's Daddy's picture," he said.
1990 - Mandela released
After 27 years in prison for fighting white-minority rule in South Africa, Nelson Mandela, 71, walked out of the country's Victor Verster Prison, his fists clenched high in exultation, setting off celebrations among his followers. President F.W. de Klerk said he hoped the long-awaited release would halt decades of racial conflict and clear the way for negotiations that would extend political rights to the black majority. Makaziwe Mandela-Amuah, Nelson Mandela's daughter in Amherst, Mass., where she was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Massachusetts, was elated but said her responsibilities as a mother took first priority. She said, however, that she would be in church Sunday to "thank God it finally happened."
2007 - Abortion legalized
A national referendum to legalize abortion in Portugal failed because of the low turnout at the polls, but the country's center-left Socialist government later passed a law allowing abortion. Almost 60 percent of voters approved the referendum allowing women to opt for abortions up to the 10th week of pregnancy, but under Portuguese law more than 50 percent of the country's 8.9 million registered voters were required to participate in a referendum to make the ballot valid. The turnout was 44 percent.
Nelson Mandela celebrating his 94th birthday in July 2012. AP file