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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:54am On Feb 13
TODAY IN HISTORY


Firebombing of Dresden

On the evening of February 13, 1945, a series of Allied firebombing raids begins against the German city of Dresden, reducing the “Florence of the Elbe” to rubble and flames, and killing roughly 25,000 people. Despite the horrendous scale of destruction, it arguably accomplished little strategically, since the Germans were already on the verge of surrender.

Among the conclusions reached at the February 1945 Yalta Conference of the Allied powers was the resolution that the Allies would engage in concerted strategic bombing raids against German cities known for war-production and manufacturing, in an effort to bring the Nazi war machine to a crashing halt. The tragic irony of the raid on Dresden, a medieval city renowned for its rich artistic and architectural treasures, is that during the war it had never been a site of war-production or major industry. Both Allies and Germans alike have argued over the real purpose of the firebombing; the ostensible “official” rationale was that Dresden was a major communications center and bombing it would hamper the German ability to convey messages to its army, which was battling Soviet forces at the time. But the extent of the destruction was, for many, disproportionate to the stated strategic goal—many believe that the attack was simply an attempt to punish the Germans and weaken their morale.

More than 3,400 tons of explosives were dropped on the city by 800 American and British aircraft. The firestorm created by the two days of bombing set the city burning for many more days, littering the streets with charred corpses, including many children. Eight square miles of the city was ruined, and the total body count was between 22,700 and 25,000 dead, according to a report published by the city of Dresden in 2010. The hospitals that were left standing could not handle the numbers of injured and burned, and mass burials became necessary.

Among the American POWs who were in Dresden during the raid was novelist Kurt Vonnegut, who conveyed his experience in his classic antiwar novel Slaughterhouse Five.







GREAT BRITAIN

1689

William and Mary proclaimed joint sovereigns of Britain

Following Britain’s bloodless Glorious Revolution, Mary, the daughter of the deposed king, and William of Orange, her husband, are proclaimed joint sovereigns of Great Britain under Britain’s new Bill of Rights. William, a Dutch prince, married Mary, the daughter of the future King.





19TH CENTURY

1861

First Medal of Honor action

The earliest military action to be awarded a Medal of Honor is performed by Colonel Bernard J.D. Irwin, an assistant army surgeon serving in the first major U.S.-Apache conflict. Near Apache Pass, in southeastern Arizona, Irwin.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1633

Galileo arrives in Rome to face charges of heresy

On February 13, 1633, Italian philosopher, astronomer and mathematician Galileo Galilei arrives in Rome to face charges of heresy for advocating Copernican theory, which holds that the Earth revolves around the Sun.





WORLD WAR I

1920

League of Nations recognizes perpetual Swiss neutrality

The League of Nations, the international organization formed at the peace conference at Versailles in the wake of World War I, recognizes the perpetual neutrality of Switzerland on February 13, 1920. Switzerland was a loose confederation of German-, French-, and Italian-speaking Nation.





VIETNAM WAR

1965

Johnson approves Operation Rolling Thunder

President Lyndon B. Johnson decides to undertake the sustained bombing of North Vietnam that he and his advisers have been contemplating for a year. Called Operation Rolling Thunder, the bombing campaign was designed to interdict North Vietnamese transportation routes.





SPORTS

1998

Downhill skier Hermann Maier crashes in Olympics

Austrian ski racer Hermann Maier makes one of the most dramatic crashes in skiing history when he catapults 30 feet in the air, lands on his helmet and rams through two safety fences at an estimated 80 miles per hour on February 13, 1998.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1905

Teddy Roosevelt discusses America’s race problem

On February 13, 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt delivers a stirring speech to the New York City Republican Club. Roosevelt had just won reelection, and in this speech, he discussed the country’s current state of race relations and his plan for improving them.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1914

ASCAP is founded

“If music did not pay, it would be given up.” So wrote Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in a landmark Supreme Court decision in 1917. Holmes wasn’t referring to musicians themselves in that statement.





CRIME

1982

Serial killer strikes in Colorado

A 21-year-old woman named Mary accepts a ride from a man in the ski town of Breckenridge, Colorado, and is raped and severely beaten with a claw hammer. The attacker, Tom Luther, was traced through his truck and apprehended.





RUSSIA

1984

Chernenko becomes general secretary of Soviet Communist Party

Following the death of Yuri Andropov four days earlier, Konstantin Chernenko takes over as the general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, the ruling position in the Soviet Union. Chernenko was the last of the Russian communist “hard-liners” prior to the ascension to power.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:43am On Feb 14
TODAY IN HISTORY


St. Valentine beheaded

On February 14, around the year 270 A.D., Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed.

Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns. The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families.

To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.

When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Valentine was arrested and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. The sentence was carried out on February 14, on or about the year 270.

Legend also has it that while in jail, St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it “From Your Valentine.”

For his great service, Valentine was named a saint after his death.

In truth, the exact origins and identity of St. Valentine are unclear. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date of 14 February.” One was a priest in Rome, the second one was a bishop of Interamna (now Terni, Italy) and the third St. Valentine was a martyr in the Roman province of Africa.

Legends vary on how the martyr’s name became connected with romance. The date of his death may have become mingled with the Feast of Lupercalia, a pagan festival of love. On these occasions, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed. In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius decided to put an end to the Feast of Lupercalia, and he declared that February 14 be celebrated as St. Valentine’s Day.

Gradually, February 14 became a date for exchanging love messages, poems and simple gifts such as flowers.




SPACE EXPLORATION

1990

"Pale Blue Dot" photo of Earth is taken

On Valentine's Day, 1990, 3.7 billion miles away from the sun, the Voyager 1 spacecraft takes a photograph of Earth. The picture, known as Pale Blue Dot, depicts our planet as a nearly indiscernible speck roughly the size of a pixel.




ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1989

Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini calls on Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie, author of "The Satanic Verses"

Salman Rushdie likely understood he would cause a controversy when he published a novel titled The Satanic Verses. The book mocked or at least contained mocking references to the Prophet Muhammad and other aspects of Islam.






CRIME

2018

Teen gunman kills 17, injures 17 at Parkland, Florida high school

On February 14, 2018, an expelled student entered Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and opened fire, killing 17 people and wounding 17 others, in what became the deadliest shooting at a high school in United States history.






EXPLORATION

1779

Captain Cook killed in Hawaii

On February 14, 1779, Captain James Cook, the great English explorer and navigator, is killed by natives of Hawaii during his third visit to the Pacific island group. In 1768, Cook, a surveyor in the Royal Navy, was commissioned a lieutenant in command of the HMS Endeavour.






SPORTS

1988

Olympic speed skater Dan Jansen falls after sister dies

On February 14, 1988, U.S. speed skater Dan Jansen, a favorite to win the gold medal in the 500-meter race at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, falls during competition, only hours after learning his sister had died of cancer.






U.S. PRESIDENTS

1884

Theodore Roosevelt’s wife and mother die

Future President Theodore Roosevelt’s wife and mother die, only hours apart, on February 14, 1884. Roosevelt was at work in the New York state legislature attempting to get a government reform bill passed when he was summoned home by his family.




WESTWARD EXPANSION

1886

First trainload of oranges leaves Los Angeles

Destined to become one of the state’s major exports, the first trainload of oranges grown by Southern California farmers leaves Los Angeles via the transcontinental railroad. The Spanish had established Los Angeles, one of the oldest cities in the Far West.




CRIME

1929

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

Four men dressed as police officers enter gangster Bugs Moran’s headquarters on North Clark Street in Chicago, line seven of Moran’s henchmen against a wall, and shoot them to death. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, as it is now called, was the culmination of a gang war.






LATIN AMERICA

1989

Sandinistas agree to free elections

At a meeting of the presidents of Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica and El Salvador, the leftist Sandinista government of Nicaragua agrees to free a number of political prisoners and hold free elections within a year; in return.




AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1779

Patriots defeat Loyalists at Kettle Creek

A Patriot militia force of 340 led by Colonel Andrew Pickens of South Carolina with Colonel John Dooly and Lieutenant Colonel Elijah Clarke of Georgia defeats a larger force of 700 Loyalist militia commanded by Colonel James Boyd on this day in 1779 at Kettle Creek, Georgia.






WORLD WAR II

1943

Battle of the Kasserine Pass

On this day, German General Erwin Rommel and his Afrika Korps launch an offensive against an Allied defensive line in Tunisia, North Africa. The Kasserine Pass was the site of the United States’ first major battle defeat of the war.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:31am On Feb 15
TODAY IN HISTORY

The USS Maine explodes in Cuba's Havana Harbor

A massive explosion of unknown origin sinks the battleship USS Maine in Cuba’s Havana harbor on February 15, 1898, killing 260 of the fewer than 400 American crew members aboard.

One of the first American battleships, the Maine weighed more than 6,000 tons and was built at a cost of more than $2 million. Ostensibly on a friendly visit, the Maine had been sent to Cuba to protect the interests of Americans there after a rebellion against Spanish rule broke out in Havana in January.

An official U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry ruled in March that the ship was blown up by a mine, without directly placing the blame on Spain. Much of Congress and a majority of the American public expressed little doubt that Spain was responsible and called for a declaration of war.

Subsequent diplomatic failures to resolve the Maine matter, coupled with United States indignation over Spain’s brutal suppression of the Cuban rebellion and continued losses to American investment, led to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in April 1898.

Within three months, the United States had decisively defeated Spanish forces on land and sea, and in August an armistice halted the fighting. On December 12, 1898, the Treaty of Paris was signed between the United States and Spain, officially ending the Spanish-American War and granting the United States its first overseas empire with the ceding of such former Spanish possessions as Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines.

In 1976, a team of American naval investigators concluded that the Maine explosion was likely caused by a fire that ignited its ammunition stocks, not by a Spanish mine or act of sabotage.





SPORTS

1961

U.S. figure skating team killed in plane crash

On February 15, 1961, the entire 18-member U.S. figure skating team is killed in a plane crash in Berg-Kampenhout, Belgium. The team was on its way to the 1961 World Figure Skating Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Among those killed in the crash was 16-year-old Laurence.





1960S

1965

Canada adopts maple leaf flag

In accordance with a formal proclamation by Queen Elizabeth II of England, a new Canadian national flag is raised above Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the capital of Canada. Beginning in 1610, Lower Canada, a new British colony, flew Great Britain’s Union Jack, or Royal Union Flag.





SPORTS

1998

Dale Earnhardt Sr. wins his first Daytona 500

On February 15, 1998, after 20 years of trying, racing great Dale Earnhardt Sr. finally wins his first Daytona 500, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) season opener and an event dubbed the “Super Bowl of stock car racing.”





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1903

First Teddy bear goes on sale

On February 15, 1903, toy store owner and inventor Morris Michtom places two stuffed bears in his shop window, advertising them as Teddy bears. Michtom had earlier petitioned President Theodore Roosevelt for permission to use his nickname, Teddy.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1933

FDR escapes assassination attempt in Miami

On February 15, 1933, a deranged, unemployed brick layer named Giuseppe Zangara shouts "Too many people are starving!" and fires a gun at America’s president-elect, Franklin D. Roosevelt.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1980

Lillian Hellman sues Mary McCarthy

Playwright Lillian Hellman filed a lawsuit claiming $2.2 million in damages against novelist Mary McCarthy for libel on February 15, 1980. McCarthy, a sarcastic and critical novelist whose most popular novel was The Group (1963), about eight Vassar graduates.







ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1950

Disney’s “Cinderella” opens in theaters

On February 15, 1950, Walt Disney’s animated feature Cinderella opens in theaters across the United States. The Chicago-born Disney began his career as an advertising cartoonist in Kansas City. After arriving in Hollywood in 1923, he and his older brother Roy set up shop.





COLD WAR

1950

USSR and PRC sign mutual defense treaty

The Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China, the two largest communist nations in the world, announce the signing of a mutual defense and assistance treaty. The negotiations for the treaty were conducted in Moscow between PRC leaders Mao Zedong and Zhou En-lai.





WORLD WAR II

1942

Singapore falls to Japan

Singapore, the “Gibraltar of the East” and a strategic British stronghold, falls to Japanese forces. An island city and the capital of the Straits Settlement of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore had been a British colony since the 19th century.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:45am On Feb 17
TODAY IN HISTORY

“Madame Butterfly” premieres

On February 17, 1904, Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly premieres at the La Scala theatre in Milan, Italy.

The young Puccini decided to dedicate his life to opera after seeing a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida in 1876. In his later life, he would write some of the best-loved operas of all time: La Boheme (1896), Tosca (1900), Madame Butterfly (1904) and Turandot (left unfinished when he died in 1924). Not one of these, however, was an immediate success when it opened. La Boheme, the now-classic story of a group of poor artists living in a Paris garret, earned mixed reviews, while Tosca was downright panned by critics.

While supervising a production of Tosca in London, Puccini saw the play Madame Butterfly, written by David Belasco and based on a story by John Luther Long. Taken with the strong female character at its center, he began working on an operatic version of the play, with an Italian libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica. Written over the course of two years—including an eight-month break when Puccini was badly injured in a car accident—the opera made its debut in Milan in February 1904.

Set in Nagasaki, Japan, Madame Butterfly told the story of an American sailor, B.F. Pinkerton, who marries and abandons a young Japanese geisha, Cio-Cio-San, or Madame Butterfly. In addition to the rich, colorful orchestration and powerful arias that Puccini was known for, the opera reflected his common theme of living and dying for love. This theme often played out in the lives of his heroines—women like Cio-Cio-San, who live for the sake of their lovers and are eventually destroyed by the pain inflicted by that love.

Perhaps because of the opera’s foreign setting or perhaps because it was too similar to Puccini’s earlier works, the audience at the premiere reacted badly to Madame Butterfly, hissing and yelling at the stage. Puccini withdrew it after one performance. He worked quickly to revise the work, splitting the 90-minute-long second act into two parts and changing other minor aspects. Four months later, the revamped Madame Butterfly went onstage at the Teatro Grande in Brescia. This time, the public greeted the opera with tumultuous applause and repeated encores, and Puccini was called before the curtain 10 times. Madame Butterfly went on to huge international success, moving to New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1907.





1970S

1979

China invades Vietnam

In response to the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, China launches an invasion of Vietnam. Tensions between Vietnam and China increased dramatically after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Attempting to expand its influence, Vietnam established a military presence in Laos.





SPORTS

1996

Chess champion Garry Kasparov defeats IBM’s Deep Blue

In the final game of a six-game match, world chess champion Garry Kasparov triumphs over Deep Blue, IBM’s chess-playing computer, and wins the match, 4-2. However, Deep Blue goes on to defeat Kasparov in a heavily publicized rematch the following year.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1801

Thomas Jefferson is elected third U.S. president

On February 17, 1801, Thomas Jefferson is elected the third president of the United States. The election constitutes the first peaceful transfer of power from one political party to another in the United States. By 1800, when he decided to run for president.





WESTWARD EXPANSION

1820

Senate passes Missouri Compromise

The Senate passes the Missouri Compromise, an attempt to deal with the dangerously divisive issue of extending slavery into the western territories. From colonial days to the Civil War, slavery and western expansion both played fundamental but inherently incompatible roles.





CRIME

1906

Union leaders put on trial for assassination

Union leaders Bill Hayward, Charles Moyer and George Pettibone are taken into custody by Idaho authorities and the Pinkerton Detective Agency. They are put on a special train in Denver, Colorado, following a secret, direct route to Idaho because the officials had no legal right.





COLD WAR

1947

Voice of America begins broadcasts to Russia

With the words, “Hello! This is New York calling,” the U.S. Voice of America (VOA) begins its first radio broadcasts to the Soviet Union. The VOA effort was an important part of America’s propaganda campaign against the Soviet Union during the Cold War.







CIVIL WAR

1865

Union army sacks Columbia, South Carolina

On February 17, 1865, the soldiers from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s army ransack Columbia, South Carolina, and leave a charred city in their wake. Sherman is most famous for his March to the Sea in the closing months of 1864.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1972

Beetle overtakes Model T as world’s best-selling car

On February 17, 1972, the 15,007,034th Volkswagen Beetle comes off the assembly line, breaking a world car production record held for more than four decades by the Ford Motor Company’s iconic Model T, which was in production from 1908 and 1927.






AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1782

French and British battle in the Indian Ocean

The worldwide implications of the American War for Independence are made clear on February 17, 1782 as the American-allied French navy begins a 14-month-long series of five battles with the British navy in the Indian Ocean. Between February 17, 1782, and September 3, 1782.





WORLD WAR I

1915

Zeppelin L-4 crashes into North Sea

After encountering a severe snowstorm on the evening of February 17, 1915, the German zeppelin L-4 crash-lands in the North Sea near the Danish coastal town of Varde. The zeppelin, a motor-driven rigid airship, was developed by German inventor Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:31am On Feb 18
TODAY IN HISTORY


Mark Twain publishes “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”

On February 18, 1885, Mark Twain publishes his famous—and famously controversial—novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Twain (the pen name of Samuel Clemens) first introduced Huck Finn as the best friend of Tom Sawyer, hero of his tremendously successful novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876). Though Twain saw Huck’s story as a kind of sequel to his earlier book, the new novel was far more serious, focusing on the institution of slavery and other aspects of life in the antebellum South.

At the book’s heart is the journey of Huck and his friend Jim, a runaway enslaved person, down the Mississippi River on a raft. Jim runs away because he is about to be sold and separated from his wife and children, and Huck goes with him to help him get to Ohio and freedom. Huck narrates the story in his distinctive voice, offering colorful descriptions of the people and places they encounter along the way. The most striking part of the book is its satirical look at racism, religion and other social attitudes of the time. While Jim is strong, brave, generous and wise, many of the white characters are portrayed as violent, stupid or simply selfish, and the naive Huck ends up questioning the hypocritical, unjust nature of society in general.

Even in 1885, two decades after the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn landed with a splash. A month after its publication, a Concord, Massachusetts, library banned the book, calling its subject matter “tawdry” and its narrative voice “coarse” and “ignorant.” Other libraries followed suit, beginning a controversy that continued long after Twain’s death in 1910. In the 1950s, the book came under fire from African American groups for being racist in its portrayal of Black characters, despite the fact that it was seen by many as a strong criticism of racism and slavery. As recently as 1998, an Arizona parent sued her school district, claiming that making Twain’s novel required high school reading made already existing racial tensions even worse.

Aside from its controversial nature and its continuing popularity with young readers, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been hailed by many serious literary critics as a masterpiece. No less a judge than Ernest Hemingway famously declared that the book marked the beginning of American literature: “There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.”





US GOVERNMENT

2010

WikiLeaks publishes the first documents leaked by Chelsea Manning

On February 18, 2010, a relatively obscure website called WikiLeaks publishes a leaked diplomatic cable detailing discussions between American diplomats and Icelandic government officials. The leak of "Reikjavik13" barely registered with the public.





CRIME

2011

Green River serial killer pleads guilty to 49th murder

On February 18, 2011, in a Kent, Washington, courtroom, Gary Leon Ridgway pleads guilty to the 1982 aggravated, first-degree murder of his 49th victim, 20-year-old Rebecca Marrero. Marrero’s remains were found in December 2010, decades after her murder, in a ravine near Auburn.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1959

Ray Charles records “What’d I Say” at Atlantic Records

The phone call that Ray Charles placed to Atlantic Records in early 1959 went something like this: “I’m playing a song out here on the road, and I don’t know what it is—it’s just a song I made up, but the people are just going wild every time we play it.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1930

Pluto discovered

Pluto, once believed to be the ninth planet, is discovered at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, by astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh. The existence of an unknown ninth planet was first proposed by Percival Lowell.





WESTWARD EXPANSION

1878

Murder ignites Lincoln County War

Long simmering tensions in Lincoln County, New Mexico, explode into a bloody shooting war when gunmen murder the English rancher John Tunstall. Tunstall had established a large ranching operation in Lincoln County two years earlier in 1876.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1929

First Academy Awards announced

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces the winners of the first Academy Awards on February 18, 1929. It was a far cry from the suspense, glamour and endless press coverage surrounding the Oscars today.







CRIME

2003

Arsonist sets fire in South Korean subway

On February 18, 2003, a man ignites a gasoline-filled container inside a subway train in Daegu, South Korea. The blaze engulfed the six-car train, before spreading to another train that pulled into station a few minutes later. In all, 198 people were killed and nearly 150 others.





SPORTS

2001

Dale Earnhardt killed in crash

On February 18, 2001, Dale Earnhardt Sr., considered one of the greatest drivers in National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) history, dies at the age of 49 in a last-lap crash at the 43rd Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach, Florida.





WORLD WAR II

1943

Nazis arrest White Rose resistance leaders

Hans Scholl and his sister Sophie, the leaders of the German youth group Weisse Rose (White Rose), are arrested by the Gestapo for opposing the Nazi regime. The White Rose was composed of university (mostly medical) students who spoke out against Adolf Hitler and his regime.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 2:37pm On Feb 19
TODAY IN HISTORY


Donner Party rescued from the Sierra Nevada Mountains

On February 19, 1847, the first rescuers reach surviving members of the Donner Party, a group of California-bound emigrants stranded by snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

In the summer of 1846, in the midst of a Western-bound fever sweeping the United States, 89 people—including 31 members of the Donner and Reed families—set out in a wagon train from Springfield, Illinois. After arriving at Fort Bridger, Wyoming, the emigrants decided to avoid the usual route and try a new trail recently blazed by California promoter Lansford Hastings, the so-called “Hastings Cutoff.” After electing George Donner as their captain, the party departed Fort Bridger in mid-July.

The shortcut was nothing of the sort: It set the Donner Party back nearly three weeks and cost them much-needed supplies. After suffering great hardships in the Wasatch Mountains, the Great Salt Lake Desert and along the Humboldt River, they finally reached the Sierra Nevada Mountains in early October. Despite the lateness of the season, the emigrants continued to press on, and on October 28 they camped at Truckee Lake, located in the high mountains 21 kilometers northwest of Lake Tahoe. Overnight, an early winter storm blanketed the ground with snow, blocking the mountain pass and trapping the Donner Party.

Most of the group stayed near the lake–now known as Donner Lake–while the Donner family and others made camp six miles away at Alder Creek. Building makeshift tents out of their wagons and killing their oxen for food, they hoped for a thaw that never came. Fifteen of the stronger emigrants, later known as the Forlorn Hope, set out west on snowshoes for Sutter’s Fort on December 16. Three weeks later, after harsh weather and lack of supplies killed several of the expedition and forced the others to resort to cannibalism, seven survivors reached a Native American village.

News of the stranded Donner Party traveled fast to Sutter’s Fort, and a rescue party set out on January 31. Arriving at Donner Lake 20 days later, they found the camp completely snowbound and the surviving emigrants delirious with relief at their arrival. Rescuers fed the starving group as well as they could and then began evacuating them. Three more rescue parties arrived to help, but the return to Sutter’s Fort proved equally harrowing, and the last survivors didn’t reach safety until late April. Of the 89 original members of the Donner Party, only 45 reached California.







SPORTS

2010

Tiger Woods apologizes for extramarital affairs

On February 19, 2010, professional golfer Tiger Woods gives a televised news conference in which he apologizes for his marital infidelities and admits to “selfish” and “foolish” behavior.





RUSSIA

1974

Exiled writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn reunited with family

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn awaits reunion with his family after exile from Russia. Publication of The Gulag Archipelago, a detailed history of the Soviet prison system, prompted Russia to exile the 55 year-old author. One of Russia’s most visible and vocal dissidents.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1473

Polish astronomer Copernicus is born

On February 19, 1473, Nicolaus Copernicus is born in Torun, a city in north-central Poland on the Vistula River. The father of modern astronomy, he was the first modern European scientist to propose that Earth and other planets revolve around the sun.





EARLY US

1807

Aaron Burr arrested for alleged treason

Aaron Burr, a former U.S. vice president, is arrested in Alabama on charges of plotting to annex Spanish territory in Louisiana and Mexico to be used toward the establishment of an independent republic. In November 1800.





WORLD WAR II

1945

U.S. Marines invade Iwo Jima

Operation Detachment, the U.S. Marines’ invasion of Iwo Jima, is launched. Iwo Jima was a barren Pacific island guarded by Japanese artillery, but to American military minds, it was prime real estate on which to build airfields to launch bombing raids against Japan.





VIETNAM WAR

1970

Chicago Seven sentenced

The Chicago Seven (formerly the Chicago Eight—one defendant, Bobby Seale, was being tried separately) are acquitted of riot conspiracy charges, but found guilty of inciting riot.







U.S. PRESIDENTS

1942

FDR orders Japanese Americans into internment camps

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066, initiating a controversial World War II policy with lasting consequences for Japanese Americans.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1878

Thomas Edison patents the phonograph

The technology that made the modern music business possible came into existence in the New Jersey laboratory where Thomas Edison created the first device to both record sound and play it back. He was awarded U.S. Patent No. 200,521 for his invention.





CRIME

1851

San Francisco vigilantes take the law into their own hands

An angry mob in San Francisco’s business district ”tries” two Australian suspects in the robbery and assault of C. J. Jansen. When the makeshift jury deadlocked, the suspects were returned to law enforcement officials.





COLD WAR

1981

United States calls situation in El Salvador a communist plot

The U.S. government releases a report detailing how the “insurgency in El Salvador has been progressively transformed into a textbook case of indirect armed aggression by communist powers.”





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1777

Congress overlooks Benedict Arnold for promotion

On February 19, 1777, the Continental Congress votes to promote Thomas Mifflin, Arthur St. Clair, William Alexander, Lord Stirling, Adam Stephen and Benjamin Lincoln to the rank of major general. Although the promotions were intended in part to balance the number of generals.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 10:44am On Feb 21
TODAY IN HISTORY


Malcolm X assassinated

February 21, 1965: In New York City, Malcolm X, an African American nationalist and religious leader, is assassinated by rival Black Muslims while addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights.

Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1925, Malcolm was the son of James Earl Little, a Baptist preacher who advocated the Black nationalist ideals of Marcus Garvey. Threats from the Ku Klux Klan forced the family to move to Lansing, Michigan, where his father continued to preach his controversial sermons despite continuing threats. In 1931, Malcolm’s father was murdered by the white supremacist Black Legion, and Michigan authorities refused to prosecute those responsible. In 1937, Malcolm was taken from his family by welfare caseworkers. By the time he reached high school age, he had dropped out of school and moved to Boston, where he became increasingly involved in criminal activities.

In 1946, at the age of 21, Malcolm was sent to prison on a burglary conviction. It was there he encountered the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam, whose members are popularly known as Black Muslims. The Nation of Islam advocated Black nationalism and racial separatism and condemned Americans of European descent as immoral “devils.” Muhammad’s teachings had a strong effect on Malcolm, who entered into an intense program of self-education and took the last name “X” to symbolize his stolen African identity.

After six years, Malcolm was released from prison and became a loyal and effective minister of the Nation of Islam in Harlem, New York. In contrast with civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X advocated self-defense and the liberation of African Americans “by any means necessary.” A fiery orator, Malcolm was admired by the African American community in New York and around the country.

In the early 1960s, he began to develop a more outspoken philosophy than that of Elijah Muhammad, whom he felt did not sufficiently support the civil rights movement. In late 1963, Malcolm’s suggestion that President John F. Kennedy’s assassination was a matter of the “chickens coming home to roost” provided Elijah Muhammad, who believed that Malcolm had become too powerful, with a convenient opportunity to suspend him from the Nation of Islam.

A few months later, Malcolm formally left the organization and made a Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, where he was profoundly affected by the lack of racial discord among orthodox Muslims. He returned to America as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz and in June 1964 founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity, which advocated Black identity and held that racism, not the white race, was the greatest foe of the African American. Malcolm’s new movement steadily gained followers, and his more moderate philosophy became increasingly influential in the civil rights movement, especially among the leaders of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.







19TH CENTURY

1885

Washington Monument dedicated

The Washington Monument, built in honor of America’s revolutionary hero and first president, is dedicated in Washington, D.C. The 555-foot-high marble obelisk was first proposed in 1783, and Pierre L’Enfant left room for it in his designs for the new U.S. capital.





CRIME

1961

Rockefeller imposter and convicted felon born

On February 21, 1961, Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, a con man who went by the alias Clark Rockefeller and passed himself off as an American blueblood, is born in Germany. Gerhartsreiter gained the public spotlight in 2008.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1981

Dolly Parton cements her crossover success as “9 to 5″ hits #1

In 1980, Dolly Parton brought the full range of her talents to bear on a project that would cement her crossover from country music to mainstream superstardom. That project was the movie 9 to 5, for which Dolly wrote and performed the song that earned her both Oscar and Grammy Award.





19TH CENTURY

1848

Karl Marx publishes Communist Manifesto

On February 21, 1848, The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx with the assistance of Friedrich Engels, is published in London by a group of German-born revolutionary socialists known as the Communist League.





VIETNAM WAR

1970

Henry Kissinger begins secret negotiations with North Vietnamese

National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger begins secret peace talks with North Vietnamese representative Le Duc Tho, the fifth-ranking member of the Hanoi Politburo, at a villa outside Paris.





SPORTS

1952

Dick Button wins second Olympic figure skating gold

On February 21, 1952, men’s figure skater Dick Button wins his second Olympic gold medal. Button captured his first gold prize at the 1948 Olympics, becoming the first American to ever take home the men’s title. After dominating men’s figure skating at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics.





CIVIL WAR

1862

Battle of Valverde

On February 21, 1862, at the Battle of Valverde, Confederate troops under General Henry Hopkins Sibley attack Union troops commanded by Colonel Edward R. S. Canby near Fort Craig in New Mexico Territory. The first major engagement of the Civil War in the far West.





COLD WAR

1972

President Nixon arrives in China for talks

In an amazing turn of events, President Richard Nixon takes a dramatic first step toward normalizing relations with the communist People’s Republic of China (PRC) by traveling to Beijing for a week of talks.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1948

NASCAR founded

On February 21, 1948, the National Association for Stock Car Racing—or NASCAR, as it will come to be widely known—is officially incorporated. NASCAR racing will go on to become one of America’s most popular spectator sports, as well as a multi-billion-dollar industry.





WORLD WAR II

1944

Japanese prime minister Hideki Tojo makes himself “military czar”

On February 21, 1944, Hideki Tojo, prime minister of Japan, grabs even more power as he takes over as army chief of staff, a position that gives him direct control of the Japanese military. After graduating from the Imperial Military Academy and the Military Staff College, Tojo.





WORLD WAR I

1916

Battle of Verdun begins

At 7:12 a.m. on the morning of February 21, 1916, a shot from a German Krupp 38-centimeter long-barreled gun—one of over 1,200 such weapons set to bombard French forces along a 20-kilometer front stretching across the Meuse River—strikes a cathedral in Verdun, France.





WORLD WAR I

1918

Allied troops capture Jericho

On the morning of February 21, 1918, combined Allied forces of British troops and the Australian mounted cavalry capture the city of Jericho in Palestine after a three-day battle with Turkish troops.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:09am On Feb 24
TODAY IN HISTORY

Alamo defenders call for help

On February 24, 1836, in San Antonio, Texas, Colonel William Travis issues a call for help on behalf of the Texan troops defending the Alamo, an old Spanish mission and fortress under siege by the Mexican army.

A native of Alabama, Travis moved to the Mexican state of Texas in 1831. He soon became a leader of the growing movement to overthrow the Mexican government and establish an independent Texan republic. When the Texas revolution began in 1835, Travis became a lieutenant-colonel in the revolutionary army and was given command of troops in the recently captured city of San Antonio de Bexar (now San Antonio). On February 23, 1836, a large Mexican force commanded by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana arrived suddenly in San Antonio. Travis and his troops took shelter in the Alamo, where they were soon joined by a volunteer force led by Colonel James Bowie.

Though Santa Ana’s 5,000 troops heavily outnumbered the several hundred Texans, Travis and his men determined not to give up. On February 24, they answered Santa Ana’s call for surrender with a bold shot from the Alamo’s cannon. Furious, the Mexican general ordered his forces to launch a siege. Travis immediately recognized his disadvantage and sent out several messages via couriers asking for reinforcements. Addressing one of the pleas to “The People of Texas and All Americans in the World,” Travis signed off with the now-famous phrase “Victory or Death.”

Only 32 men from the nearby town of Gonzales responded to Travis’ call for help, and beginning at 5:30 a.m. on March 6, Mexican forces stormed the Alamo through a gap in the fort’s outer wall, killing Travis, Bowie, Davy Crockett and 190 of their men. Despite the loss of the fort, the Texan troops managed to inflict huge losses on their enemy, killing at least 600 of Santa Ana’s men.

The defense of the Alamo became a powerful symbol for the Texas revolution, helping the rebels turn the tide in their favor. At the crucial Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 910 Texan soldiers commanded by Sam Houston defeated Santa Ana’s army of 1,250 men, spurred on by cries of “Remember the Alamo!” The next day, after Texan forces captured Santa Ana himself, the general issued orders for all Mexican troops to pull back behind the Rio Grande River. On May 14, 1836, Texas officially became an independent republic. Texas joined the Union in 1845.





WORLD WAR I

1917

Zimmermann Telegram presented to U.S. ambassador

During World War I, British authorities give Walter H. Page, the U.S. ambassador to Britain, a copy of the “Zimmermann Telegram,” a coded message from Arthur Zimmermann, the German foreign secretary, to Count Johann von Bernstorff, the German ambassador to Mexico.





US GOVERNMENT

1988

Supreme Court defends right to satirize public figures

The U.S. Supreme Court votes 8-0 to overturn the $200,000 settlement awarded to the Reverend Jerry Falwell for his emotional distress at being parodied in Hustler, a pornographic magazine. In 1983, Hustler ran a piece parodying Falwell’s first sexual experience as a drunken man.





VIETNAM WAR

1968

Tet Offensive halted

On February 24, 1968, the Tet Offensive ends as U.S. and South Vietnamese troops recapture the ancient capital of Hue from communist forces. Although scattered fighting continued across South Vietnam for another week.





LATIN AMERICA

1946

Juan Perón elected in Argentina

Juan Domingo Perón, the controversial former vice president of Argentina, is elected president. In 1943, as an army officer, he joined a military coup against Argentina’s ineffectual civilian government.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1868

President Andrew Johnson impeached

The U.S. House of Representatives votes 11 articles of impeachment against President Andrew Johnson, nine of which cite Johnson’s removal of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, a violation of the Tenure of Office Act.





MIDDLE EAST

1991

Gulf War ground offensive begins

After six weeks of intensive bombing against Iraq and its armed forces, U.S.-led coalition forces launch a ground invasion of Kuwait and Iraq. On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, its tiny oil-rich neighbor, and within hours had occupied most strategic positions in the oil region.







U.S. PRESIDENTS

1841

John Quincy Adams begins arguments in Amistad case

On February 24, 1841, former President John Quincy Adams begins to argue the Amistad case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. A practicing lawyer and member of the House of Representatives, John Quincy Adams was the son of America’s second president.







US GOVERNMENT

1803

Marbury v. Madison establishes judicial review

On February 24, 1803, the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Marshall, decides the landmark case of William Marbury versus James Madison, Secretary of State of the United States and confirms the legal principle of judicial review.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 8:58am On Feb 25
TODAY IN HISTORY


Young Muhammad Ali knocks out Sonny Liston for first world title

On February 25, 1964, 22-year-old Cassius Clay shocks the odds-makers by dethroning world heavyweight boxing champ Sonny Liston in a seventh-round technical knockout. The dreaded Liston, who had twice demolished former champ Floyd Patterson in one round, was an 8-to-1 favorite. However, Clay predicted victory, boasting that he would “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” and knock out Liston in the eighth round.

The fleet-footed and loquacious youngster who would later become known as Muhammed Ali needed less time to make good on his claim—Liston, complaining of an injured shoulder, failed to answer the seventh-round bell. A few moments later, a new heavyweight champion was proclaimed.

Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1942. He started boxing when he was 12 and by age 18 had amassed a record of over 100 wins in amateur competition. In 1959, he won the International Golden Gloves heavyweight title and in 1960 a gold medal in the light heavyweight category at the Summer Olympic Games in Rome. Clay turned professional after the Olympics and went undefeated in his first 19 bouts, earning him the right to challenge Sonny Liston, who had defeated Floyd Patterson in 1962 to win the heavyweight title.

On February 25, 1964, a crowd of 8,300 spectators gathered at the Convention Hall arena in Miami Beach to see if Cassius Clay, who was nicknamed the “Louisville Lip,” could put his money where his mouth was. The underdog proved no bragging fraud, and he danced and backpedaled away from Liston’s powerful swings while delivering quick and punishing jabs to Liston’s head. Liston hurt his shoulder in the first round, injuring some muscles as he swung for and missed his elusive target. By the time he decided to discontinue the bout between the sixth and seventh rounds, he and Clay were about equal in points. A few conjectured that Liston faked the injury and threw the fight, but there was no real evidence, such as a significant change in bidding odds just before the bout, to support this claim.

To celebrate winning the world heavyweight title, Clay went to a private party at a Miami hotel that was attended by his friend Malcolm X, an outspoken leader of the African American Muslim group known as the Nation of Islam. Two days later, a markedly more restrained Clay announced he was joining the Nation of Islam and defended the organization’s concept of racial segregation while speaking of the importance of the Muslim religion in his life. Later that year, Clay, who was the descendant of a formerly enslaved person, rejected the name originally given to his family by the owner of enslaved peoples and took the Muslim name of Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad Ali would go on to become one of the 20th century’s greatest sporting figures, as much for his social and political influence as his prowess in his chosen sport. After successfully defending his title nine times, it was stripped from him in 1967 after he refused induction into the U.S. Army on the grounds that he was a Muslim minister and therefore a conscientious objector. That year, he was sentenced to five years in prison for violating the Selective Service Act but was allowed to remain free as he appealed the decision. His popularity plummeted, but many across the world applauded his bold stand against the Vietnam War.

In 1970, he was allowed to return to the boxing ring, and the next year the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Ali’s draft evasion conviction. In 1974, he regained the heavyweight title in a match against George Foreman in Zaire and successfully defended it in a brutal 15-round contest against Joe Frazier in the Philippines in the following year. In 1978, he lost the title to Leon Spinks but later that year defeated Spinks in a rematch, making him the first boxer to win the heavyweight title three times. He retired in 1979 but returned to the ring twice in the early 1980s. In 1984, Ali was diagnosed with pugilistic Parkinson’s syndrome and has suffered a slow decline of his motor functions ever since. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. In 1996, he lit the Olympic flame at the opening ceremonies of the Summer Games in Atlanta, Georgia. Ali’s daughter, Laila, made her boxing debut in 1999.

At a White House ceremony in November 2005, Ali was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. On June 3, 2016, Ali passed away after a period of failing health.





CIVIL WAR

1862

Legal Tender Act passed to help finance the Civil War

On February 25, 1862, the U.S. Congress passes the Legal Tender Act, authorizing the use of paper notes to pay the government’s bills. This ended the long-standing policy of using only gold or silver in transactions, and it allowed the government to finance the enormously costly war.





BLACK HISTORY

1870

First African American congressman sworn in

Hiram Rhodes Revels, a Republican from Natchez, Mississippi, is sworn into the U.S. Senate, becoming the first African American ever to sit in Congress. During the Civil War, Revels, a college-educated minister, helped form African American army regiments for the Union cause.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1828

John Quincy Adams’ son marries relative at the White House

On February 25, 1828, John Adams, son of President John Quincy Adams, marries his first cousin and inadvertently follows a pattern of keeping marriages within the family. John Adams’ grandfather, President John Adams, had married his third cousin, Abigail Smith. Intermarriage ...read more





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1956

Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes meet

On February 25, 1956, Sylvia Plath meets her future husband, Ted Hughes, at a party in Cambridge, UK. The two poets fell in love at first sight and married four months later. Plath was born in 1932, the daughter of an autocratic German father who taught biology.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

2004

"The Passion of the Christ" opens in the United States

The Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson’s controversial film about the last 44 hours of Jesus of Nazareth’s life, opens in theaters across the United States on February 25, 2004. Not coincidentally, the day was Ash Wednesday, the start of the Catholic season of Lent.





CRIME

1949

Actor Robert Mitchum is released after serving time for marijuana possession

Actor Robert Mitchum is released from a Los Angeles County prison farm after spending the final week of his two-month sentence for marijuana possession there. In the fall of 1948, Mitchum, the star of classics such as Cape Fear and Night of the Hunter.







COLD WAR

1948

Communists take power in Czechoslovakia

Under pressure from the Czechoslovakian Communist Party, President Edvard Benes allows a communist-dominated government to be organized. Although the Soviet Union did not physically intervene (as it would in 1968), Western observers decried the virtually bloodless communist coup.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1779

British surrender Fort Sackville

On February 25, 1779, Fort Sackville is surrendered, marking the beginning of the end of British domination in America’s western frontier. Eighteen days earlier, George Rogers Clark departed Kaskaskia on the Mississippi River with a force of approximately 170 men.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:19am On Feb 26
TODAY IN HISTORY

Florida teen Trayvon Martin is shot and killed

On February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin, an African American teen walking home from a trip to a convenience store, is fatally shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer patrolling the townhouse community of the Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman later claimed to have shot the unarmed 17-year-old out of self-defense during a physical altercation.

After police initially opted not to arrest Zimmerman, whose father is white and mother is Hispanic, the case sparked protests and ignited national debates about racial profiling and self-defense laws. Zimmerman later was charged with second-degree murder. Following a high-profile trial that riveted America, he was acquitted of the charges against him. The term “Black lives matter” was then used for the first time by organizer Alicia Garza in a July 13, 2013 Facebook post in response to Zimmerman's acquittal. The phrase spread widely and became a rallying cry against racial injustice.

On February 26, Martin, a Miami high school student, was in Sanford visiting his father. Dressed in a hooded sweatshirt, the teen was on his way back to the home of his father’s fiancée, after buying a bag of Skittles and a bottle of juice, when he was spotted by Zimmerman, a 28-year-old insurance-fraud investigator who was captain of the neighborhood patrol at the Retreat at Twin Lakes, which recently had experienced a series of break-ins and burglaries. Zimmerman called the non-emergency line of the Sanford police to report that Martin looked suspicious then ignored a police dispatcher’s advice not to follow the young man. Moments later, gunfire rang out. When officers arrived, Martin was dead at the scene. Zimmerman, who had a bloody nose and cuts on the back of his head, was questioned then released. There were no eyewitnesses to the shooting, and police chose not to arrest Zimmerman, who claimed to have acted in self-defense.

After Martin’s parents raised concerns about the police investigation into the death of their son, who had no criminal record, the case gained national attention. Protest rallies were held in cities nationwide, including New York City, where on March 21 hundreds of people gathered for the Million Hoodie March and demanded justice for Martin, who many believed Zimmerman had profiled as suspicious and threatening simply because the teen was Black. Two days later, President Barack Obama said of the shooting: “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.” In addition to raising a national debate about race relations, the shooting drew attention to Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law, which allows people to use lethal force if they fear for their safety and does not require them to retreat from a dangerous situation, even when it’s possible to do so.

On April 11, 2012, following weeks of demonstrations, a special prosecutor appointed by Florida’s governor charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty and the case went to trial in June 2013. In court, the prosecution portrayed Zimmerman as a wannabe cop who had profiled Martin as a criminal, chased him down and fought him. Prosecutors also tried to poke holes in Zimmerman’s self-defense claim by pointing to inconsistencies in his statements to the police. Defense attorneys for Zimmerman, who did not take the stand, contended he only shot Martin after the teen attacked him. On July 13, after deliberating for 16 hours over two days, a jury of six women found Zimmerman not guilty.

In November 2013, the city of Sanford announced new rules forbidding volunteers in its neighborhood watch program from carrying guns and pursuing suspects. Martin’s death set off nationwide protests like the Million Hoodie March. And in 2013, Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi formed the Black Lives Matter Network with the mission to “eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”





VIETNAM WAR

1968

Mass graves discovered in Hue

Allied troops who had recaptured the imperial capital of Hue from the North Vietnamese during the Tet Offensive discover the first mass graves in Hue. It was discovered that communist troops who had held the city for 25 days had massacred about 2,800 civilians.





WORLD WAR II

1945

U.S. troops recapture Philippine island of Corregidor

On February 26, an ammunition dump on the Philippine island of Corregidor is blown up by a remnant of the Japanese garrison, causing more American casualties on the eve of U.S. victory there. In May 1942, Corregidor, a small rock island at the mouth of Manila Bay.





CRIME

1993

World Trade Center is bombed

At 12:18 p.m., a terrorist bomb explodes in a parking garage of the World Trade Center in New York City, leaving a crater 60 feet wide and causing the collapse of several steel-reinforced concrete floors in the vicinity of the blast.





MIDDLE EAST

1984

Last U.S. Marines leave Beirut

The last U.S. Marines sent to Lebanon as part of a multinational peacekeeping force leave Beirut, the war-torn Lebanese capital where some 250 of the original 800 Marines lost their lives during the problem-plagued 18-month mission.





WORLD WAR II

1935

Hitler authorizes the founding of the Reich Luftwaffe

On February 26, 1935, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler signs a secret decree authorizing the founding of the Reich Luftwaffe as a third German military service to join the Reich army and navy. In the same decree, Hitler appointed Hermann Goering, a German air hero from World War I.





US GOVERNMENT

1919

Two national parks preserved, 10 years apart

On this day in history, two national parks were established in the United States 10 years apart–the Grand Canyon in 1919 and the Grand Tetons in 1929. Located in northwestern Arizona, the Grand Canyon is the product of millions of years of excavation by the mighty Colorado River.





WESTWARD EXPANSION

1929

Grand Teton National Park is established

In a controversial move that inspires charges of eastern domination of the West, the Congress establishes Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Home to some of the most stunning alpine scenery in the United States.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1564

Christopher Marlowe is baptized

On February 26, poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe is baptized in Canterbury, England, two months before the birth of his fellow playwright William Shakespeare. Marlowe, the son of a Canterbury shoemaker, was a bright student.





LATIN AMERICA

1990

Sandinistas are defeated in Nicaraguan elections

A year after agreeing to free elections, Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government loses at the polls. The elections brought an end to more than a decade of U.S. efforts to unseat the Sandinista government.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1813

Robert R. Livingston, aka “The Chancellor,” dies

On February 26, 1813, New York Patriot Robert R. Livingston dies. Robert R. (or R.R.) Livingston was the eldest of nine children born to Judge Robert Livingston and Margaret Beekman Livingston in their family seat, Clermont, on the Hudson River in upstate New York.





WORLD WAR I

1917

President Wilson learns of Zimmermann Telegram

In a crucial step toward U.S. entry into World War I, President Woodrow Wilson learns of the so-called Zimmermann Telegram, a message from German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann to the German ambassador to Mexico proposing a Mexican-German alliance in the event of a war.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:38am On Mar 01
TODAY IN HISTORY

Lindbergh baby kidnapped

On March 1, 1932, in a crime that captured the attention of the entire nation, Charles Lindbergh, Jr., the 20-month-old son of aviation hero Charles Lindbergh, is kidnapped from the family’s new mansion in Hopewell, New Jersey. Lindbergh, who became an international celebrity when he flew the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, and his wife Anne discovered a ransom note demanding $50,000 in their son’s empty room. The kidnapper used a ladder to climb up to the open second-floor window and left muddy footprints in the room.

The Lindberghs were inundated by offers of assistance and false clues. Even Al Capone offered his help from prison. For three days, investigators found nothing and there was no further word from the kidnappers. Then, a new letter showed up, this time demanding $70,000.

The kidnappers eventually gave instructions for dropping off the money and when it was delivered, the Lindberghs were told their baby was on a boat called Nelly off the coast of Massachusetts. After an exhaustive search, however, there was no sign of either the boat or the child. Soon after, the baby’s body was discovered near the Lindbergh mansion. He had been killed the night of the kidnapping and was found less than a mile from home. The heartbroken Lindberghs ended up donating the mansion to charity and moved away.

The kidnapping looked like it would go unsolved until September 1934, when a marked bill from the ransom turned up. The gas station attendant who had accepted the bill wrote down the license plate number because he was suspicious of the driver. It was tracked back to a German immigrant and carpenter, Bruno Hauptmann. When his home was searched, detectives found a chunk of Lindbergh ransom money.

Hauptmann claimed that a friend had given him the money to hold and that he had no connection to the crime. The resulting trial was a national sensation. The prosecution’s case was not particularly strong; the main evidence, besides the money, was testimony from handwriting experts that the ransom note had been written by Hauptmann. The prosecution also tried to establish a connection between Hauptmann and the type of wood that was used to make the ladder.

Still, the evidence and intense public pressure were enough to convict Hauptmann and he was electrocuted in 1936. In the aftermath of the crime—the most notorious of the 1930s—kidnapping was made a federal offense.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1961

President Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps

On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy issues Executive Order #10924, establishing the Peace Corps as a new agency within the Department of State. The same day, he sent a message to Congress asking for permanent funding for the agency.





SPACE EXPLORATION

1966

Soviet probe crashes into Venus

Venera 3, a Soviet probe launched from Kazakhstan on November 15, 1965, collides with Venus, the second planet from the sun. Although Venera 3 failed in its mission to measure the Venusian atmosphere, it was the first unmanned spacecraft to reach the surface of another planet.





COLONIAL AMERICA

1692

Salem Witch Hunt begins

In Salem Village in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne and Tituba, an enslaved woman from the Barbados, are charged with the illegal practice of witchcraft. Later that day, Tituba, possibly under coercion, confessed to the crime.





VIETNAM WAR

1971

Bomb explodes in Capitol building

A bomb explodes in the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., causing an estimated $300,000 in damage but hurting no one. A group calling itself the Weather Underground claimed credit for the bombing, which was done in protest of the ongoing U.S.-supported Laos invasion.





SPORTS

1969

New York Yankees star Mickey Mantle retires

On March 1, 1969, New York Yankees center fielder Mickey Mantle announces his retirement from baseball. Mantle was an idol to millions, known for his remarkable power and speed and his everyman personality.





WESTWARD EXPANSION

1872

Yellowstone Park established

President Grant signs the bill creating the nation’s first national park at Yellowstone. Native Americans had lived and hunted in the region that would become Yellowstone for hundreds of years before the first Anglo explorers arrived.







NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

1910

Trains buried by avalanche

Two trains are swept into a canyon by an avalanche in Wellington, Washington, on March 1, 1910, killing 96 people. Due to the remote location of the disaster and the risk of further avalanches, efforts to rescue survivors and find the bodies of the dead were not completed.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1781

The Articles of Confederation are ratified after nearly four years

On March 1, 1781, the Articles of Confederation are finally ratified. The Articles were signed by Congress and sent to the individual states for ratification on November 15, 1777, after 16 months of debate.





WORLD WAR I

1917

Zimmermann Telegram published in United States

On March 1, 1917, the text of the so-called Zimmermann Telegram, a message from the German foreign secretary, Arthur Zimmermann, to the German ambassador to Mexico proposing a Mexican-German alliance in the case of war between the United States and Germany.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 1:28pm On Mar 04
TODAY IN HISTORY


FDR inaugurated

On March 4, 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is inaugurated as the 32nd president of the United States. In his famous inaugural address, delivered outside the east wing of the U.S. Capitol, Roosevelt outlined his “New Deal”–an expansion of the federal government as an instrument of employment opportunity and welfare–and told Americans that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Although it was a rainy day in Washington, and gusts of rain blew over Roosevelt as he spoke, he delivered a speech that radiated optimism and competence, and a broad majority of Americans united behind their new president and his radical economic proposals to lead the nation out of the Great Depression.

Born into an upper-class family in Hyde Park, New York, in 1882, Roosevelt was the fifth cousin of Theodore Roosevelt, who served as the 26th U.S. president from 1901 to 1909. In 1905, Franklin Roosevelt, who was at the time a student at Columbia University Law School, married Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, the niece of Theodore Roosevelt. After three years as a lawyer, he decided to follow his cousin Theodore’s lead and sought public office, winning election to the New York State Senate in 1910 as a Democrat. He soon won a reputation as a charismatic politician dedicated to social and economic reform.

Roosevelt supported the progressive New Jersey governor Woodrow Wilson in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, and after Wilson’s election in 1912 Roosevelt was appointed assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy, a post that Theodore Roosevelt once held. In 1920, Roosevelt, who had proved himself a gifted administrator, won the Democratic nomination for vice president on a ticket with James Cox. The Democrats lost in a landslide to Republicans Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, and Roosevelt returned to his law practice and undertook several business ventures.

In 1921, he was stricken with poliomyelitis, the virus that causes the crippling disease of polio. He spent several years recovering from what was at first nearly total paralysis, and his wife, Eleanor, kept his name alive in Democratic circles. He never fully recovered and was forced to use braces or a wheelchair to move around for the rest of his life.

In 1924, Roosevelt returned to politics when he nominated New York Governor Alfred E. Smith for the presidency with a rousing speech at the Democratic National Convention. In 1928, he again nominated Smith, and the outgoing New York governor urged Roosevelt to run for his gubernatorial seat. Roosevelt campaigned across the state by automobile and was elected even as the state voted for Republican Herbert Hoover in the presidential election.

As governor, Roosevelt worked for tax relief for farmers and in 1930 won a resounding electoral victory just as the economic recession brought on by the October 1929 stock market crash was turning into a major depression. During his second term, Governor Roosevelt mobilized the state government to play an active role in providing relief and spurring economic recovery. His aggressive approach to the economic crisis, coupled with his obvious political abilities, gave him the Democratic presidential nomination in 1932.

Roosevelt had no trouble defeating President Herbert Hoover, who many blamed for the Depression, and the governor carried all but six states. During the next four months, the economy continued to decline, and when Roosevelt took office on March 4, 1933, most banks were closed, farms were suffering, 13 million workers were unemployed, and industrial production stood at just over half its 1929 level.

Aided by a Democratic Congress, Roosevelt took prompt, decisive action, and most of his New Deal proposals, such as the Agricultural Adjustment Act, National Industrial Recovery Act, and creation of the Public Works Administration and Tennessee Valley Authority, were approved within his first 100 days in office. Although criticized by many in the business community, Roosevelt’s progressive legislation improved America’s economic climate, and in 1936 he easily won reelection.

During his second term, he became increasingly concerned with German and Japanese aggression and so began a long campaign to awaken America from its isolationist slumber. In 1940, with World War II raging in Europe and the Pacific, Roosevelt agreed to run for an unprecedented third term. Reelected by Americans who valued his strong leadership, he proved a highly effective commander in chief after the December 1941 U.S. entrance into the war. Under Roosevelt’s guidance, America became, in his own words, the “great arsenal of democracy” and succeeded in shifting the balance of power in World War II firmly in the Allies’ favor. In 1944, with the war not yet won, he was reelected to a fourth term.

Three months after his inauguration, while resting at his retreat at Warm Springs, Georgia, Roosevelt died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 63. Following a solemn parade of his coffin through the streets of the nation’s capital, his body was buried in a family plot in Hyde Park. Millions of Americans mourned the death of the man who led the United States through two of the greatest crises of the 20th century: the Great Depression and World War II. Roosevelt’s unparalleled 13 years as president led to the passing of the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which limited future presidents to a maximum of two consecutive elected terms in office.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1960

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz divorce

After 20 tumultuous years of marriage, actress Lucille Ball divorces her husband and collaborator, Desi Arnaz, on March 4, 1960. The breakup of the couple, stars of the hit sitcom I Love Lucy and owners of the innovative Desilu Studios.





EARLY US

1789

Government under the U.S. Constitution begins

The first session of the U.S. Congress is held in New York City as the U.S. Constitution takes effect. However, of the 22 senators and 59 representatives called to represent the 11 states who had ratified the document.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1952

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis marry

On March 4, 1952, actor and future President Ronald Reagan marries his second wife, actress Nancy Davis. The couple wed in Los Angeles at the Little Brown Church in the Valley. Nancy Davis, whose real name is Anne Frances Robbins, met her husband in 1951.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1829

Andrew Jackson holds “open house” at the White House

On March 4, 1829, Andrew Jackson upholds an inaugural tradition begun by Thomas Jefferson and hosts an open house at the White House.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1966

John Lennon sparks his first major controversy

In England, no one took much notice of the John Lennon quotation that later set off a media frenzy in America. Chalk it up to a fundamental difference in religious outlook between Britain and America, or to a fundamental difference in sense of humor.







ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1952

Ernest Hemingway finishes "The Old Man and the Sea"

Ernest Hemingway completes his short novel The Old Man and the Sea. He wrote his publisher the same day, saying he had finished the book and that it was the best writing he had ever done. The critics agreed: The book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1994

John Candy dies

The larger-than-life comedic star John Candy dies suddenly of a heart attack on March 4, 1994, at the age of 43. At the time of his death, he was living near Durango, Mexico, while filming Wagons East, a Western comedy co-starring the comedian Richard Lewis.





CRIME

1944

Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, the head of Murder, Inc., is executed

Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, the head of Murder, Inc., is executed at Sing Sing Prison in New York. Lepke was the leader of the country’s largest crime syndicate throughout the 1930s and was making nearly $50 million a year from his various enterprises.





CRIME

2005

Martha Stewart is released from prison

On March 4, 2005, billionaire mogul Martha Stewart is released from a federal prison near Alderson, West Virginia, after serving five months for lying about her sale of ImClone stock in 2001.





CIVIL WAR

1861

Abraham Lincoln inaugurated

Abraham Lincoln becomes the 16th president of the United States on March 4, 1861. In his inauguration speech, Lincoln extended an olive branch to the South, but also made it clear that he intended to enforce federal laws in the states that seceded.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1776

American forces occupy Dorchester Heights

Under the cover of constant bombing from American artillery, Brigadier General John Thomas slips 2,000 troops, cannons and artillery into position at Dorchester Heights, just south of Boston, on March 4, 1776.





WORLD WAR I

1918

First cases reported in deadly 1918 flu pandemic

Just before breakfast on the morning of March 4, Private Albert Gitchell of the U.S. Army reports to the hospital at Fort Riley, Kansas, complaining of the cold-like symptoms of sore throat, fever and headache.

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Hula Hoop patented

March 5, 1963: the Hula Hoop, a hip-swiveling toy that became a huge fad across America when it was first marketed by Wham-O in 1958, is patented by the company’s co-founder, Arthur “Spud” Melin. An estimated 25 million Hula Hoops were sold in its first four months of production alone.

In 1948, friends Arthur Melin and Richard Knerr founded a company in California to sell a slingshot they created to shoot meat up to falcons they used for hunting. The company’s name, Wham-O, came from the sound the slingshots supposedly made. Wham-O eventually branched out from slingshots, selling boomerangs and other sporting goods. Its first hit toy, a flying plastic disc known as the Frisbee, debuted in 1957. The Frisbee was originally marketed under a different name, the Pluto Platter, in an effort to capitalize on America’s fascination with UFOs.

Melina and Knerr were inspired to develop the Hula Hoop after they saw a wooden hoop that Australian children twirled around their waists during gym class. Wham-O began producing a plastic version of the hoop, dubbed “Hula” after the hip-gyrating Hawaiian dance of the same name, and demonstrating it on Southern California playgrounds. Hula Hoop mania took off from there.

The enormous popularity of the Hula Hoop was short-lived and within a matter of months, the masses were on to the next big thing. However, the Hula Hoop never faded away completely and still has its fans today. According to Ripley’s Believe It or Not, in April 2004, a performer at the Big Apple Circus in Boston simultaneously spun 100 hoops around her body. Earlier that same year, in January, according to the Guinness World Records, two people in Tokyo, Japan, managed to spin the world’s largest hoop–at 13 feet, 4 inches–around their waists at least three times each.

Following the Hula Hoop, Wham-O continued to produce a steady stream of wacky and beloved novelty items, including the Superball, Water Wiggle, Silly String, Slip ‘n’ Slide and the Hacky Sack.









1960S

1960

Iconic photo of Che Guevara taken

Moments before he was shot to death by a soldier of the Bolivian government, the revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara told his executioner, “Shoot, coward! You are only going to kill a man!” Guevara died a short time later, on October 9, 1967 at the age of 39.





COLONIAL AMERICA

1770

The Boston Massacre

On the cold, snowy night of March 5, 1770, a mob of American colonists gathers at the Customs House in Boston and begins taunting the British soldiers guarding the building. The protesters, who called themselves Patriots, were protesting the occupation of their city by British.





COLD WAR

1946

Churchill delivers Iron Curtain speech

In one of the most famous orations of the Cold War period, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill condemns the Soviet Union’s policies in Europe and declares, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent.”





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1966

Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler hits #1 with “Ballad of the Green Berets”

Thanks to Hollywood, America’s collective memory of the Vietnam War is now inextricably linked with the popular music of that era. More specifically, it is linked with the music of the late-'60s counterculture and antiwar movement.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1868

Impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson begins

For the first time in U.S. history, the impeachment trial of an American president gets underway in the U.S. Senate. President Andrew Johnson, reviled by the Republican-dominated Congress for his views on Reconstruction, stood accused of having violated the controversial Tenure.





WORLD WAR II

1953

Joseph Stalin dies

Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union since 1924, dies in Moscow. Ioseb Dzhugashvili was born in 1889 in Georgia, then part of the old Russian empire. The son of a drunk who beat him mercilessly and a pious washerwoman mother, Stalin learned Russian.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1839

Charlotte Brontë declines marriage

Charlotte Brontë writes to the Reverend Henry Nussey, declining marriage. The 23-year-old Brontë told him that he would find her “romantic and eccentric” and not practical enough to be a clergyman’s wife.





CRIME

1969

Jim Morrison is charged with lewd behavior at a Miami concert

The Dade County Sheriff’s Office issues an arrest warrant for Doors’ lead singer Jim Morrison. He is charged with a single felony count and three misdemeanors for his stage antics at a Miami concert a few days earlier.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1929

David Buick dies

On this day in 1929, David Dunbar Buick, the founder of the Buick Motor Company, dies in relative obscurity and meager circumstances at the age of 74. In 1908, Buick’s company became the foundation for the General Motors Corporation.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 8:09am On Mar 06
TODAY IN HISTORY


Bayer patents aspirin

The German company Bayer patents aspirin on March 6, 1899. Now the most common drug in household medicine cabinets, acetylsalicylic acid was originally made from a chemical found in the bark of willow trees. In its primitive form, the active ingredient, salicin, was used for centuries in folk medicine, beginning in ancient Greece when Hippocrates used it to relieve pain and fever. Known to doctors since the mid-19th century, it was used sparingly due to its unpleasant taste and tendency to damage the stomach.

In 1897, Bayer employee Felix Hoffmann found a way to create a stable form of the drug that was easier and more pleasant to take. (Some evidence shows that Hoffmann’s work was really done by a Jewish chemist, Arthur Eichengrun, whose contributions were covered up during the Nazi era.) After obtaining the patent rights, Bayer began distributing aspirin in powder form to physicians to give to their patients one gram at a time. The brand name came from “a” for acetyl, “spir” from the spirea plant (a source of salicin) and the suffix “in,” commonly used for medications. It quickly became the number-one drug worldwide.

Aspirin was made available in tablet form and without a prescription in 1915. Two years later, when Bayer’s patent expired during the First World War, the company lost the trademark rights to aspirin in various countries. After the United States entered the war against Germany in April 1917, the Alien Property Custodian, a government agency that administers foreign property, seized Bayer’s U.S. assets. Two years later, the Bayer company name and trademarks for the United States and Canada were auctioned off and purchased by Sterling Products Company, later Sterling Winthrop, for $5.3 million.

Bayer became part of IG Farben, the conglomerate of German chemical industries that formed the financial heart of the Nazi regime. After World War II, the Allies split apart IG Farben, and Bayer again emerged as an individual company. Its purchase of Miles Laboratories in 1978 gave it a product line including Alka-Seltzer and Flintstones and One-A-Day Vitamins. In 1994, Bayer bought Sterling Winthrop’s over-the-counter business, gaining back rights to the Bayer name and logo and allowing the company once again to profit from American sales of its most famous product.







1980S

1981

Walter Cronkite signs off as anchorman of "CBS Evening News"

On March 6, 1981, CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite signs off with his trademark valediction, "And that's the way it is," for the final time. Over the previous 19 years, Cronkite had established himself not only as the nation's leading newsman but as "the most trusted man.





19TH CENTURY

1836

The Battle of the Alamo comes to an end

On March 6, 1836, after 13 days of intermittent fighting, the Battle of the Alamo comes to a gruesome end, capping off a pivotal moment in the Texas Revolution. Mexican forces were victorious in recapturing the fort, and nearly all of the roughly 200 Texan defenders.





GERMANY

1983

Helmut Kohl elected West German chancellor

Helmut Kohl, the interim chancellor of West Germany since the fall of Helmut Schmidt’s Social Democrat government in 1982, is elected German chancellor as his Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party is voted back into power. Elected as Rhine-Palatinate state premier in 1969.





US GOVERNMENT

1857

Supreme Court rules in Dred Scott case

The U.S. Supreme Court hands down its decision on Sanford v. Dred Scott, a case that intensified national divisions over the issue of slavery. In 1834, Dred Scott, a slave, had been taken to Illinois, a free state, and then Wisconsin territory.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1475

Michelangelo is born

Michelangelo Buonarroti, the greatest of the Italian Renaissance artists, is born in the small village of Caprese on March 6, 1475. The son of a government administrator, he grew up in Florence, a center of the early Renaissance movement.





SPORTS

1902

Real Madrid founded

On March 6, 1902, the Madrid Foot Ball Club is founded by a group of fans in Madrid, Spain. Later known as Real Madrid, the club would become the most successful European football (soccer) franchise of the 20th century. With its trademark blue-and-white uniforms.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1820

President Monroe signs the Missouri Compromise

On March 6, 1820, President James Monroe signs the Missouri Compromise, also known as the Compromise Bill of 1820, into law. The bill attempted to equalize the number of slave-holding states and free states in the country, allowing Missouri into the Union as a slave state.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1986

Georgia O’Keeffe dies

Georgia O’Keeffe, the artist who gained worldwide fame for her austere minimalist paintings of the American southwest, dies in Santa Fe at the age of 98. Born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, in 1887, O’Keeffe grew up in Virginia.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

2001

The death spiral of Napster begins

In the year 2000, a new company called Napster created something of a music-fan’s utopia—a world in which nearly every song ever recorded was instantly available on your home computer—for free. Even to some at the time, it sounded too good to be true, and in the end, it was.





1980S

1987

Ferry sinks in Belgium, 188 people drown

A British ferry leaving Zeebrugge, Belgium, capsizes, drowning 188 people, on March 6, 1987. Shockingly poor safety procedures led directly to this deadly disaster. Lord Justice Barry Sheen, an investigator of the accident, later said of it, from top to bottom.





COLD WAR

1951

The espionage trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg begins

The trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg begins in New York Southern District federal court. Judge Irving R. Kaufman presides over the espionage prosecution of the couple accused of selling nuclear secrets to the Russians.





COLD WAR

1953

Georgy Malenkov succeeds Stalin

Just one day after the death of long-time Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, Georgy Malenkov is named premier and first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Malenkov’s tenure was extremely brief, and within a matter of weeks he was pushed aside by Nikita Khrushchev.







AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1776

New York demands Sandy Hook lighthouse be dismantled

A committee of the New York Provincial Congress instructs Major William Malcolm to dismantle the Sandy Hook lighthouse in the then-disputed territory of Sandy Hook, now in New Jersey, on March 6, 1776, telling him to “use your best discretion to render the light-house entirely Dismantled.





WORLD WAR II

1945

Dutch Resistance ambushes SS officer

Members of the Dutch Resistance who were attempting to hijack a truck in Apeldoorn, Holland, ambush Lt. Gen. Hanns Rauter, an SS officer. During the following week, the German SS executed 263 Dutch in retaliation.

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TODAY IN HISTORY

Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone

On March 7, 1876, 29-year-old Alexander Graham Bell receives a patent for his revolutionary new invention: the telephone.

The Scottish-born Bell worked in London with his father, Melville Bell, who developed Visible Speech, a written system used to teach speaking to the deaf. In the 1870s, the Bells moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where the younger Bell found work as a teacher at the Pemberton Avenue School for the Deaf. He later married one of his students, Mabel Hubbard.

While in Boston, Bell became very interested in the possibility of transmitting speech over wires. Samuel F.B. Morse’s invention of the telegraph in 1843 had made nearly instantaneous communication possible between two distant points. The drawback of the telegraph, however, was that it still required hand-delivery of messages between telegraph stations and recipients, and only one message could be transmitted at a time. Bell wanted to improve on this by creating a “harmonic telegraph,” a device that combined aspects of the telegraph and record player to allow individuals to speak to each other from a distance

With the help of Thomas A. Watson, a Boston machine shop employee, Bell developed a prototype. In this first telephone, sound waves caused an electric current to vary in intensity and frequency, causing a thin, soft iron plate–called the diaphragm–to vibrate. These vibrations were transferred magnetically to another wire connected to a diaphragm in another, distant instrument. When that diaphragm vibrated, the original sound would be replicated in the ear of the receiving instrument. Three days after filing the patent, the telephone carried its first intelligible message—the famous “Mr. Watson, come here, I need you”—from Bell to his assistant.







CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

1965

Civil rights protesters beaten in “Bloody Sunday” attack

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, a 600-person civil rights demonstration ends in violence when marchers are attacked and beaten by white state troopers and sheriff’s deputies. The day's events became known as "Bloody Sunday."





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

2010

Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first female director to win an Oscar

On March 7, 2010, Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first woman to win an Academy Award for best director, for her movie “The Hurt Locker,” about an American bomb squad that disables explosives in Iraq in 2004. Prior to Bigelow, only three women had been nominated for a best director.





CIVIL WAR

1862

Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern), Arkansas

On March 7, 1862, Union forces under General Samuel Curtis clash with the army of General Earl Van Dorn at the Battle of Pea Ridge (also called the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern),in northwest Arkansas. The following day, the battle ended in defeat for the Confederates.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1999

Stanley Kubrick dies

On March 7, 1999, American filmmaker Stanley Kubrick dies in Hertfordshire, England, at the age of 70. One of the most acclaimed film directors of the 20th century, Kubrick’s 13 feature films explored the dark side of human nature. Born in New York City in 1928.





WORLD WAR II

1936

Hitler reoccupies the Rhineland, violating the Treaty of Versailles

Nazi leader Adolf Hitler violates the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact by sending German military forces into the Rhineland, a demilitarized zone along the Rhine River in western Germany.





VIETNAM WAR

1966

U.S. jets launch heaviest air raids of the war

In the heaviest air raids since the bombing began in February 1965, U.S. Air Force and Navy planes fly an estimated 200 sorties against North Vietnam. The objectives of the raids included an oil storage area 60 miles southeast of Dien Bien Phu and a staging area 60 miles.







ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1923

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is published

The New Republic publishes Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” The poem, beginning with the famous line “Whose woods these are, I think I know. His house is in the village though,” has introduced millions of American students to poetry.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1988

Writers Guild of America strike begins

After rejecting what the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) said was a final offer, representatives of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) called a strike for all the union’s members to begin at 9 a.m. Pacific Time on March 7, 1988.





CRIME

2002

Defense rests in Andrea Yates trial

The defense rests in the trial of Andrea Yates, a 37-year-old Texas woman who confessed to killing her five young children by drowning them in a bathtub. Less than a week later, on March 13, Yates was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1777

Five letters pass between Abigail and John Adams

On March 7, 1777, Continental Congressman John Adams writes three letters to and receives two letters from his wife, Abigail. He is with Congress in Philadelphia, while she maintains their farm in Braintree, Massachusetts.





WORLD WAR II

1941

British forces arrive in Greece

On March 7, 1941, a British expeditionary force from North Africa lands in Greece. In October 1940, Mussolini’s army, already occupying Albania, invaded Greece in what proved to be a disastrous military campaign for the Duce’s forces.

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TODAY IN HISTORY

February Revolution begins, leading to the end of czarist rule in Russia

In Russia, the February Revolution (known as such because of Russia’s use of the Julian calendar) begins when riots and strikes over the scarcity of food erupt in Petrograd. One week later, centuries of czarist rule in Russia ended with the abdication of Nicholas II, and Russia took a dramatic step closer toward communist revolution.

By 1917, most Russians had lost faith in the leadership ability of the czarist regime. Government corruption was rampant, the Russian economy remained backward, and Nicholas repeatedly dissolved the Duma, the Russian parliament established after the Revolution of 1905, when it opposed his will. However, the immediate cause of the February Revolution—the first phase of the Russian Revolution of 1917—was Russia’s disastrous involvement in World War I. Militarily, imperial Russia was no match for industrialized Germany, and Russian casualties were greater than those sustained by any nation in any previous war. Meanwhile, the economy was hopelessly disrupted by the costly war effort, and moderates joined Russian radical elements in calling for the overthrow of the czar.

On March 8, 1917, demonstrators clamoring for bread took to the streets in the Russian capital of Petrograd (now known as St. Petersburg). Supported by 90,000 men and women on strike, the protesters clashed with police but refused to leave the streets. On March 10, the strike spread among all of Petrograd’s workers, and irate mobs of workers destroyed police stations. Several factories elected deputies to the Petrograd Soviet, or “council,” of workers’ committees, following the model devised during the Revolution of 1905.

On March 11, the troops of the Petrograd army garrison were called out to quell the uprising. In some encounters, regiments opened fire, killing demonstrators, but the protesters kept to the streets, and the troops began to waver. That day, Nicholas again dissolved the Duma. On March 12, the revolution triumphed when regiment after regiment of the Petrograd garrison defected to the cause of the demonstrators. The soldiers, some 150,000 men, subsequently formed committees that elected deputies to the Petrograd Soviet.

The imperial government was forced to resign, and the Duma formed a provisional government that peacefully vied with the Petrograd Soviet for control of the revolution. On March 14, the Petrograd Soviet issued “Order No. 1,” which instructed Russian soldiers and sailors to obey only those orders that did not conflict with the directives of the Soviet. The next day, March 15, Czar Nicholas II abdicated the throne in favor of his brother Michael, whose refusal of the crown brought an end to the czarist autocracy.

The new provincial government, tolerated by the Petrograd Soviet, hoped to salvage the Russian war effort while ending the food shortage and many other domestic crises. It would prove a daunting task. Meanwhile, Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik revolutionary party, left his exile in Switzerland and crossed German enemy lines to return home and take control of the Russian Revolution.





21ST CENTURY

2014

Malaysia Airlines flight vanishes with more than 200 people aboard

On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, loses contact with air traffic control less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur then veers off course and disappears.





AFRICA

1957

Egypt opens the Suez Canal

Following Israel’s withdrawal from occupied Egyptian territory, the Suez Canal is reopened to international traffic. However, the canal was so littered with wreckage from the Suez Crisis that it took weeks of cleanup by Egyptian and United Nations workers before larger ships.





VIETNAM WAR

1965

U.S. Marines land at Da Nang

The USS Henrico, Union, and Vancouver, carrying the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade under Brig. Gen. Frederick J. Karch, take up stations 4,000 yards off Red Beach Two, north of Da Nang. First ashore was the Battalion Landing Team 3/9, which arrived on the beach at 8:15 a.m.





SPORTS

1971

Ali battles Frazier in "Fight of the Century" for heavyweight championship

On March 8, 1971, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier meet for the “Fight of the Century” at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The bout marked Ali’s return to the marquee three-and-a-half years after boxing commissions revoked his license over his refusal to fight in the Vietnam.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1983

Reagan refers to U.S.S.R. as “evil empire” again

Speaking to a convention of the National Association of Evangelicals in Florida on March 8, 1983, President Ronald Reagan publicly refers to the Soviet Union as an evil empire for the second time in his career.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1993

"Beavis and Butt-Head" premieres on MTV

On March 8, 1993, the Music Television Network (MTV) airs the first episode of the animated series Beavis and Butt-Head, which will go on to become the network’s highest-rated series up to that point.





NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

1669

Mount Etna begins rumbling

On March 8, 1669, Mount Etna, on the island of Sicily in modern-day Italy, begins rumbling. Multiple eruptions over the next few weeks killed more than 20,000 people and left thousands more homeless. Most of the victims could have saved themselves by fleeing.





CRIME

1951

The Lonely Hearts Killers are executed

The Lonely Hearts Killers, aka Martha Beck and Raymond Martinez Fernandez, are executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in New York. The couple had schemed to seduce, rob and murder women who placed personal ads in newspapers.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1950

VW bus, icon of counterculture movement, goes into production

Volkswagen, maker of the Beetle automobile, expands its product offerings to include a microbus, which goes into production on March 8, 1950. Known officially as the Volkswagen Type 2 (the Beetle was the Type 1) or the Transporter, the bus was a favorite mode of transportation.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1782

Pennsylvania militiamen murder Patriot allies

On March 8, 1782, 160 Pennsylvania militiamen murder 96 Christian Indians–39 children, 29 women and 28 men–by hammering their skulls with mallets from behind as they kneel unarmed, praying and singing, in their Moravian Mission at Gnadenhutten in the Ohio Country.





WORLD WAR II

1942

Dutch surrender on Java

Dutch forces surrender to the Japanese after two months of fighting. Java is an island of modern-day Indonesia, and it lies southeast of Malaysia and Sumatra, south of Borneo and west of Bali. The Dutch had been in Java since 1596, establishing the Dutch East India Company.

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TODAY IN HISTORY


Tibetans revolt against Chinese occupation

On March 10, 1959, Tibetans band together in revolt, surrounding the summer palace of the Dalai Lama in defiance of Chinese occupation forces.

China’s occupation of Tibet began nearly a decade before, in October 1950, when troops from its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) invaded the country, barely one year after the Communists gained full control of mainland China. The Tibetan government gave into Chinese pressure the following year, signing a treaty that ensured the power of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the country’s spiritual leader, over Tibet’s domestic affairs. Resistance to the Chinese occupation built steadily over the next several years, including a revolt in several areas of eastern Tibet in 1956. By December 1958, rebellion was simmering in Lhasa, the capital, and the PLA command threatened to bomb the city if order was not maintained.

The March 1959 uprising in Lhasa was triggered by fears of a plot to kidnap the Dalai Lama and take him to Beijing. When Chinese military officers invited His Holiness to visit the PLA headquarters for a theatrical performance and official tea, he was told he must come alone, and that no Tibetan military bodyguards or personnel would be allowed past the edges of the military camp. On March 10, 300,000 loyal Tibetans surrounded Norbulinka Palace, preventing the Dalai Lama from accepting the PLA’s invitation. By March 17, Chinese artillery was aimed at the palace, and the Dalai Lama was evacuated to neighboring India. Fighting broke out in Lhasa two days later, with Tibetan rebels hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned. Early on March 21, the Chinese began shelling Norbulinka, slaughtering tens of thousands of men, women and children still camped outside. In the aftermath, the PLA cracked down on Tibetan resistance, executing the Dalai Lama’s guards and destroying Lhasa’s major monasteries along with thousands of their inhabitants.

China’s stranglehold on Tibet and its brutal suppression of separatist activity has continued in the decades following the unsuccessful uprising. Tens of thousands of Tibetans followed their leader to India, where the Dalai Lama has long maintained a government-in-exile in the foothills of the Himalayas.





19TH CENTURY

1876

First speech transmitted by telephone

The first discernible speech is transmitted over a telephone system when inventor Alexander Graham Bell summons his assistant in another room by saying, “Mr. Watson, come here; I want you.” Bell had received a comprehensive telephone patent just three days before.





WORLD WAR II

1945

The Firebombing of Tokyo continues

On March 10, 1945, 300 American bombers continue to drop almost 2,000 tons of incendiaries on Tokyo, Japan, in a mission that launched the previous day. The attack destroyed large portions of the Japanese capital and killed 100,000 civilians.







VIETNAM WAR

1970

Army captain charged with My Lai war crimes

The U.S. Army accuses Capt. Ernest Medina and four other soldiers of committing crimes at My Lai in March 1968. The charges ranged from premeditated murder to rape and the “maiming” of a suspect under interrogation.





SPORTS

2006

Cuba plays in World Baseball Classic

On March 10, 2006, the Cuban national baseball team plays Puerto Rico in the first round of the inaugural World Baseball Classic. While the Puerto Rican team was made up of major league All-Stars, the Cuban team was largely unknown to the world.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1864

President Lincoln signs Ulysses S. Grant’s commission to command the U.S. Army

On March 10, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signs a brief document officially promoting then-Major General Ulysses S. Grant to the rank of lieutenant general of the U.S. Army, tasking the future president with the job of leading all Union troops against the Confederate Army.





WESTWARD EXPANSION

1864

Montana vigilantes hang Jack Slade

Local hell-raiser Jack Slade is hanged in one of the more troubling incidents of frontier vigilantism. Slade stood out even among the many rabble-rousers who inhabited the wild frontier-mining town of Virginia City, Montana.



ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1988

Disco sensation Andy Gibb dies at the age of 30

With his knee-buckling good looks and his brothers' songwriting talents backing him up, 19-year-old Andy Gibb staged an unprecedented display of youthful pop mastery in the 12 months following his American debut in the spring of 1977.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1926

First Book-of-the-Month Club selection is published

Lolly Willowes, or The Loving Huntsman, the first Book-of-the-Month Club selection, is published by Viking Press. The book was written by English novelist Sylvia Townsend Warner, who had intended to become a musicologist, not a writer.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1997

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” premieres on the WB

On March 10, 1997, the fledgling Warner Brothers (WB) television network airs the inaugural episode of what will become its first bona-fide hit show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy‘s creator, Joss Whedon, developed the series from an original script he had written.





NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

1906

Mine explosion kills 1,060 in France

A devastating mine disaster kills over 1,000 workers in Courrieres, France, on March 10, 1906. An underground fire sparked a massive explosion that virtually destroyed a vast maze of mines.





CRIME

1993

Dr. David Gunn is murdered by anti-abortion activist

Dr. David Gunn is shot and killed during an anti-abortion protest at the Pensacola Women’s Medical Services clinic. Dr. Gunn performed abortions at several clinics in Florida and Alabama and was getting out of his car in the clinic’s parking lot when Michael Griffin shouted.





COLD WAR

1948

Czech diplomat Jan Masaryk dies under strange circumstances

The communist-controlled government of Czechoslovakia reports that Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk has died by suicide. The story of the noncommunist Masaryk’s death was greeted with skepticism in the West. Masaryk was born in 1886, the son of Czechoslovakia’s first president.





WORLD WAR I

1917

Turkish troops begin evacuation of Baghdad

Less than two weeks after their victorious recapture of the strategically placed city of Kut-al-Amara on the Tigris River in Mesopotamia, British troops under the regional command of Sir Frederick Stanley Maude bear down on Baghdad.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:33am On Mar 14
TODAY IN HISTORY


Albert Einstein born

On March 14, 1879, Albert Einstein is born, the son of a Jewish electrical engineer in Ulm, Germany. Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity drastically altered man’s view of the universe, and his work in particle and energy theory helped make possible quantum mechanics and, ultimately, the atomic bomb.

After a childhood in Germany and Italy, Einstein studied physics and mathematics at the Federal Polytechnic Academy in Zurich, Switzerland. He became a Swiss citizen and in 1905 was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Zurich while working at the Swiss patent office in Bern. That year, which historians of Einstein’s career call the annus mirabilis—the “miracle year”—he published five theoretical papers that were to have a profound effect on the development of modern physics.

In the first of these, titled “On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light,” Einstein theorized that light is made up of individual quanta (photons) that demonstrate particle-like properties while collectively behaving like a wave. The hypothesis, an important step in the development of quantum theory, was arrived at through Einstein’s examination of the photoelectric effect, a phenomenon in which some solids emit electrically charged particles when struck by light. This work would later earn him the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics.

In the second paper, he devised a new method of counting and determining the size of the atoms and molecules in a given space, and in the third he offered a mathematical explanation for the constant erratic movement of particles suspended in a fluid, known as Brownian motion. These two papers provided indisputable evidence of the existence of atoms, which at the time was still disputed by a few scientists.

Einstein’s fourth groundbreaking scientific work of 1905 addressed what he termed his special theory of relativity. In special relativity, time and space are not absolute, but relative to the motion of the observer. Thus, two observers traveling at great speeds in regard to each other would not necessarily observe simultaneous events in time at the same moment, nor necessarily agree in their measurements of space. In Einstein’s theory, the speed of light, which is the limiting speed of any body having mass, is constant in all frames of reference. In the fifth paper that year, an exploration of the mathematics of special relativity, Einstein announced that mass and energy were equivalent and could be calculated with an equation, E=mc2.

Although the public was not quick to embrace his revolutionary science, Einstein was welcomed into the circle of Europe’s most eminent physicists and given professorships in Zurich, Prague and Berlin. In 1916, he published “The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity,” which proposed that gravity, as well as motion, can affect the intervals of time and of space. According to Einstein, gravitation is not a force, as Isaac Newton had argued, but a curved field in the space-time continuum, created by the presence of mass. An object of very large gravitational mass, such as the sun, would therefore appear to warp space and time around it, which could be demonstrated by observing starlight as it skirted the sun on its way to earth. In 1919, astronomers studying a solar eclipse verified predictions Einstein made in the general theory of relativity, and he became an overnight celebrity. Later, other predictions of general relativity, such as a shift in the orbit of the planet Mercury and the probable existence of black holes, were confirmed by scientists.

During the next decade, Einstein made continued contributions to quantum theory and began work on a unified field theory, which he hoped would encompass quantum mechanics and his own relativity theory as a grand explanation of the workings of the universe. As a world-renowned public figure, he became increasingly political, taking up the cause of Zionism and speaking out against militarism and rearmament. In his native Germany, this made him an unpopular figure, and after Nazi leader Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany in 1933 Einstein renounced his German citizenship and left the country.

He later settled in the United States, where he accepted a post at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He would remain there for the rest of his life, working on his unified field theory and relaxing by sailing on a local lake or playing his violin. He became an American citizen in 1940.

In 1939, despite his lifelong pacifist beliefs, he agreed to write to President Franklin D. Roosevelt on behalf of a group of scientists who were concerned with American inaction in the field of atomic-weapons research. Like the other scientists, he feared sole German possession of such a weapon. He played no role, however, in the subsequent Manhattan Project and later deplored the use of atomic bombs against Japan. After the war, he called for the establishment of a world government that would control nuclear technology and prevent future armed conflict.

In 1950, he published his unified field theory, which was quietly criticized as a failure. A unified explanation of gravitation, subatomic phenomena, and electromagnetism remains elusive today. Albert Einstein, one of the most creative minds in human history, died in Princeton in 1955.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1958

First Gold Record awarded to Perry Como for “Catch a Falling Star”

For as long as most people have been buying popular music on records, tapes and compact disks, the records, tapes and disks they’ve bought have carried labels like “Certified Gold!” and “Double Platinum!!” Those labels have been in use since the early days of the rock-and-roll.





CRIME

1964

Jack Ruby sentenced to death for murdering Lee Harvey Oswald

Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed Lee Harvey Oswald—the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy—is found guilty of the “murder with malice” of Oswald and sentenced to die in the electric chair. It was the first courtroom verdict to be televised in U.S.





GREAT BRITAIN

1991

Birmingham Six released from prison

In the face of widespread questioning of their guilt, British authorities release the so-called “Birmingham Six,” six Irish men who had been sent to prison 16 years earlier for the 1974 terrorist bombings of two Birmingham, England, pubs.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1924

Mack Truck founder killed in car crash

John “Jack” Mack, who co-founded Mack Trucks, Inc.—then known as the Mack Brothers Company—with his brothers Augustus and William, is killed when his car collides with a trolley in Pennsylvania on March 14, 1924. After the Mack brothers sold their company to investors in 1911.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1967

JFK’s body moved to permanent gravesite

On March 14, the body of President John F. Kennedy is moved to a spot just a few feet away from its original interment site at Arlington National Cemetery. The slain president had been assassinated more than three years earlier, on November 22, 1963.





CRIME

1950

The FBI debuts “10 Most Wanted Fugitives” list

The Federal Bureau of Investigation institutes the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list in an effort to publicize particularly dangerous fugitives. The creation of the program arose out of a wire service news story in 1949 about the “toughest guys” the FBI wanted to capture.





COLD WAR

1990

Mikhail Gorbachev elected president of the Soviet Union

The Congress of People’s Deputies elects General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev as the new president of the Soviet Union. While the election was a victory for Gorbachev, it also revealed serious weaknesses in his power base that would eventually lead to the collapse of his Regime.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1776

Alexander Hamilton is named captain of artillery company

On March 14, 1776, Alexander Hamilton receives his commission as captain of a New York artillery company. Throughout the rest of 1776, Captain Hamilton established himself as a great military leader as he directed his artillery company in several battles in and around New York.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:11am On Mar 15
TODAY IN HISTORY

LBJ calls for equal voting rights

On March 15, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson addresses a joint session of Congress to urge the passage of legislation guaranteeing voting rights for all.

Using the phrase “we shall overcome,” borrowed from African American leaders struggling for equal rights, Johnson declares that “every American citizen must have an equal right to vote.” Johnson reminds the nation that the Fifteenth Amendment, which was passed after the Civil War, gave all citizens the right to vote regardless of race or color. But states had defied the Constitution and erected barriers. Discrimination had taken the form of literacy, knowledge or character tests administered solely to African Americans to keep them from registering to vote.

“Their cause must be our cause too,”Johnson said. “Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.”

The speech was delivered eight days after racial violence erupted in Selma, Alabama. Civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and over 500 supporters were attacked while planning a march from Selma to Montgomery to register African Americans to vote. The police violence that erupted resulted in the death of a King supporter, a white Unitarian Minister from Boston named James J. Reeb. Television news coverage of the event galvanized voting rights supporters in Congress.

A second attempt to march to Montgomery was also blocked by police. It took Federal intervention with the “federalizing” of the Alabama national guard and the addition of over 2,000 other guards to allow the march to begin.

The march to Montgomery finally began March 21 with over 3,000 participants under the glare of worldwide news publicity.

The violence, however, continued. Just after the march was successfully completed on March 25, four Klansman shot and killed Detroit homemaker Viola Liuzzo as she drove marchers back to Selma.

On August 6, 1965, Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, which made it illegal to impose restrictions on federal, state and local elections that were designed to deny the vote to Black Americans.

While state and local enforcement of the act was initially weak, mainly in the South, the Voting Rights Act gave African American voters the legal means to challenge voting restrictions and vastly improved voter turnout. In Mississippi alone, voter turnout among Black voters increased from 6 percent in 1964 to 59 percent in 1969.

In 1970, President Richard Nixon extended the provisions of the Voting Rights Act and lowered the eligible voting age for all voters to 18.






CRIME

2019

Christchurch, New Zealand mosque attacks

On the afternoon of March 15, 2019, a gunman attacked two different mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand during Friday Prayer, killing 51, wounding 40, and deeply scarring a nation that had, until this point, believed itself to be safe from the scourges of gun violence.




ANCIENT ROME

44 B.C.

The Ides of March

Julius Caesar, dictator of Rome, is stabbed to death in the Roman Senate house by 60 conspirators led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus on March 15. The day later become known as the Ides of March.




19TH CENTURY

1820

Maine enters the Union

As part of the Missouri Compromise between the North and the South, Maine is admitted into the Union as the 23rd state. Administered as a province of Massachusetts since 1647.




RUSSIA

1917

Czar Nicholas II abdicates Russian throne

During the February Revolution, Czar Nicholas II, ruler of Russia since 1894, is forced to abdicate the throne by the Petrograd insurgents, and a provincial government is installed in his place. Crowned on May 26, 1894, Nicholas was neither trained nor inclined to rule.




U.S. PRESIDENTS

1767

Andrew Jackson is born

Future President Andrew Jackson is born in a backwoods region between North and South Carolina to Irish immigrant parents on March 15, 1767. Jackson was essentially an orphan—all but one member of his family were killed during the Revolutionary War.




ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1972

Francis Ford Coppola’s "The Godfather" opens

On March 15, 1972, The Godfather—a three-hour epic chronicling the lives of the Corleones, an Italian-American crime family led by the powerful Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando)—is released in theaters. The Godfather was adapted from the best-selling book of the same name by Mario.




INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1968

Construction begins on America’s highest vehicle tunnel

On March 15, 1968, construction starts on the north tunnel of the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnel on Interstate 70 in Colorado, some 60 miles west of Denver. Located at an altitude of more than 11,000 feet, the project was an engineering marvel and became the world’s highest tunnel.




AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1783

George Washington puts an end to the Newburgh Conspiracy

On the morning of March 15, 1783, General George Washington makes a surprise appearance at an assembly of army officers at Newburgh, New York, to calm the growing frustration and distrust they had been openly expressing towards Congress in the previous few weeks.




WORLD WAR II

1939

Nazis take Czechoslovakia

On this day, Hitler’s forces invade and occupy Czechoslovakia–a nation sacrificed on the altar of the Munich Pact, which was a vain attempt to prevent Germany’s imperial aims.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 10:40am On Mar 20
TODAY IN HISTORY


LBJ sends federal troops to Alabama to protect a civil rights march

On March 20, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson notifies Alabama’s Governor George Wallace that he will use federal authority to call up the Alabama National Guard in order to supervise a planned civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery.

Intimidation and discrimination had earlier prevented Selma’s Black population–over half the city–from registering and voting. On Sunday, March 7, 1965, a group of 600 demonstrators marched on the capital city of Montgomery to protest this disenfranchisement and the earlier killing of a Black man, Jimmie Lee Jackson, by a state trooper.

In brutal scenes that were later broadcast on television, state and local police attacked the marchers with billy clubs and tear gas. TV viewers far and wide were outraged by the images, and a protest march was organized just two days after “Bloody Sunday” by Martin Luther King, Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). King turned the marchers around, however, rather than carry out the march without federal judicial approval.

After an Alabama federal judge ruled on March 18 that a third march could go ahead, President Johnson and his advisers worked quickly to find a way to ensure the safety of King and his demonstrators on their way from Selma to Montgomery. The most powerful obstacle in their way was Governor Wallace, an outspoken segregationist who was reluctant to spend any state funds on protecting the demonstrators. Hours after promising Johnson—in telephone calls recorded by the White House—that he would call out the Alabama National Guard to maintain order, Wallace went on television and demanded that Johnson send in federal troops instead.

Furious, Johnson told Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach to write a press release stating that because Wallace refused to use the 10,000 available guardsmen to preserve order in his state, Johnson himself was calling the guard up and giving them all necessary support. Several days later, 50,000 marchers followed King some 54 miles, under the watchful eyes of state and federal troops.

Arriving safely in Montgomery on March 25, they watched King deliver his famous “How Long, Not Long” speech from the steps of the Capitol building. The clash between Johnson and Wallace—and Johnson’s decisive action—was an important turning point in the civil rights movement. Within five months, Congress had passed the Voting Rights Act, which Johnson proudly signed into law on August 6, 1965.



CRIME

1995

Tokyo subways are attacked with sarin gas

Several packages of deadly sarin gas are set off in the Tokyo subway system killing twelve people and injuring over 5,000 on March 20, 1995. Sarin gas was invented by the Nazis and is one of the most lethal nerve gases known to man.





US POLITICS

1854

Republican Party founded

In Ripon, Wisconsin, former members of the Whig Party meet to establish a new party to oppose the spread of slavery into the western territories. The Whig Party, which was formed in 1834 to oppose the “tyranny” of President Andrew Jackson.





GREAT BRITAIN

1413

Henry V ascends upon father’s death

King Henry IV, the first English monarch of the Lancastrian dynasty, dies after years of illness, and his eldest son, Henry, ascends to the English throne. In 1399, Henry Bolingbroke was crowned King Henry IV of England following the forced abdication of King Richard II.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1852

"Uncle Tom’s Cabin" is published

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, is published. The novel sold 300,000 copies within three months and was so widely read that when President Abraham Lincoln met Stowe in 1862, he reportedly said, “So this is the little lady who made this big war.”





MIDDLE AGES

1345

Black Death is created, allegedly

According to scholars at the University of Paris, the Black Death is created on March 20, 1345, from what they call “a triple conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars in the 40th degree of Aquarius, occurring on the 20th of March 1345″. The Black Death, also known as the Plague.





COLD WAR

1953

Nikita Khrushchev begins his rise to power

The Soviet government announces that Nikita Khrushchev has been selected as one of five men named to the new office of Secretariat of the Communist Party. Khrushchev’s selection was a crucial first step in his rise to power in the Soviet Union.







CIVIL WAR

1861

Willie and Tad Lincoln get the measles

On March 20, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln’s sons, Willie and Tad, are diagnosed with the measles, adding to the president’s many troubles. Few U.S. presidents worked as hard in office as Abraham Lincoln did during the Civil War.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1778

King Louis XVI receives U.S. representatives

Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane and Arthur Lee present themselves to France’s King Louis XVI as official representatives of the United States on March 20, 1778. Louis XVI was skeptical of the fledgling republic, but his dislike of the British eventually overcame these concerns.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:39am On Mar 21
TODAY IN HISTORY

Martin Luther King, Jr. begins the march from Selma to Montgomery

In the name of African American voting rights, 3,200 civil rights demonstrators in Alabama, led by Martin Luther King, Jr., begin a historic march from Selma to Montgomery, the state’s capital. Federalized Alabama National Guardsmen and FBI agents were on hand to provide safe passage for the march, which twice had been turned back by Alabama state police at Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge.

In 1965, King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) decided to make the small town of Selma the focus of their drive to win voting rights for African Americans in the South. Alabama’s governor, George Wallace, was a vocal opponent of the African-American civil rights movement, and local authorities in Selma had consistently thwarted efforts by the Dallas County Voters League and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to register local Black citizens.

Although Governor Wallace promised to prevent it from going forward, on March 7 some 600 demonstrators, led by SCLC leader Hosea Williams and SNCC leader John Lewis, began the 54-mile march to the state capital. After crossing Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were met by Alabama state troopers and posse men who attacked them with nightsticks, tear gas and whips after they refused to turn back.

Several of the protesters were severely beaten, and others ran for their lives. The incident was captured on national television and outraged many Americans.

King, who was in Atlanta at the time, promised to return to Selma immediately and lead another attempt. On March 9, King led another marching attempt, but turned the marchers around when state troopers again blocked the road.

On March 21, U.S. Army troops and federalized Alabama National Guardsmen escorted the marchers across Edmund Pettus Bridge and down Highway 80. When the highway narrowed to two lanes, only 300 marchers were permitted, but thousands more rejoined the Alabama Freedom March as it came into Montgomery on March 25.

On the steps of the Alabama State Capitol, King addressed live television cameras and a crowd of 25,000, just a few hundred feet from the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where he got his start as a minister in 1954.






AFRICA

1960

Massacre in Sharpeville

In the Black township of Sharpeville, near Johannesburg, South Africa, Afrikaner police open fire on a group of unarmed Black South African demonstrators, killing 69 people and wounding 180 in a hail of submachine-gun fire.




ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1952

The Moondog Coronation Ball is history’s first rock concert

Breathless promotion on the local radio station. Tickets selling out in a single day. Thousands of teenagers, hours before show time, lining up outside the biggest venue in town.




FRANCE

1804

Napoleonic Code approved in France

After four years of debate and planning, French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte enacts a new legal framework for France, known as the “Napoleonic Code.” The civil code gave post-revolutionary France its first coherent set of laws concerning property, colonial affairs, and the family.




EXPLORATION

1871

Journalist begins search for Dr. Livingstone

Journalist Henry Morton Stanley begins his famous search through Africa for the missing British explorer Dr. David Livingstone. In the late 19th century, Europeans and Americans were fascinated by the continent of Africa. Few did more to increase Africa’s fame than Livingstone.




WORLD WAR I

1918

Germany begins major offensive on the Western Front

On March 21, 1918, near the Somme River in France, the German army launches its first major offensive on the Western Front in two years. At the beginning of 1918, Germany’s position on the battlefields of Europe looked extremely strong.




COLD WAR

1980

President Carter announces Olympic boycott

On March 21, 1980, President Jimmy Carter announces that the U.S. will boycott the Olympic Games scheduled to take place in Moscow that summer. The announcement came after the Soviet Union failed to comply with Carter’s February 20, 1980, deadline to withdraw its troops.




ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1678

Reward offered for identity of pamphlet author

The London Gazette offers a reward to anyone revealing the author of a pamphlet called An Account of the Growth of Popery. The pamphlet, it was later revealed, had been published anonymously by Andrew Marvell in 1677.




ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1980

Famous “Dallas” cliffhanger airs

On March 21, 1980, J.R. Ewing, the character millions love to hate on television’s popular prime-time drama Dallas, is shot by an unknown assailant. The shooting made the season-ending episode one of TV’s most famous cliffhangers.




CRIME

1963

Alcatraz closes its doors

Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco's Bay closes down and transfers its last prisoners. At its peak period of use in 1950s, “The Rock," or "America’s Devil Island," housed over 200 inmates at the maximum-security facility.




AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1778

Massacre at Hancock’s Bridge

On March 21, 1778, just three days after British Loyalists and Hessian mercenary forces assault the local New Jersey militia at Quinton’s Bridge, three miles from Salem, New Jersey, the same contingent surprises the colonial militia at Hancock’s Bridge, five miles from Salem.




WORLD WAR II

1943

Another plot to kill Hitler foiled

On March 21, 1943, the second military conspiracy plan to assassinate Hitler in a week fails. Back in the summer of 1941, Maj. Gen. Henning von Tresckow, a member of Gen. Fedor von Bock’s Army Group Center, was the leader of one of many conspiracies against Adolf Hitler.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 8:54am On Mar 22
TODAY IN HISTORY


Stamp Act imposed on American colonies

In an effort to raise funds to pay off debts and defend the vast new American territories won from the French in the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763), the British government passes the Stamp Act on March 22, 1765. The legislation levied a direct tax on all materials printed for commercial and legal use in the colonies, from newspapers and pamphlets to playing cards and dice.

Though the Stamp Act employed a strategy that was a common fundraising vehicle in England, it stirred a storm of protest in the colonies. The colonists had recently been hit with three major taxes: the Sugar Act (1764), which levied new duties on imports of textiles, wines, coffee and sugar; the Currency Act (1764), which caused a major decline in the value of the paper money used by colonists; and the Quartering Act (1765), which required colonists to provide food and lodging to British troops under certain circumstances.

With the passing of the Stamp Act, the colonists’ grumbling finally became an articulated response to what they saw as the mother country’s attempt to undermine their economic strength and independence. They raised the issue of taxation without representation, and formed societies throughout the colonies to rally against the British government and nobles who sought to exploit the colonies as a source of revenue and raw materials. By October of that year, nine of the 13 colonies sent representatives to the Stamp Act Congress, at which the colonists drafted the “Declaration of Rights and Grievances,” a document that railed against the autocratic policies of the mercantilist British empire.

Realizing that it actually cost more to enforce the Stamp Act in the protesting colonies than it did to abolish it, the British government repealed the tax the following year. The fracas over the Stamp Act, though, helped plant seeds for a far larger movement against the British government and the eventual battle for independence. Most important of these was the formation of the Sons of Liberty—a group of tradesmen who led anti-British protests in Boston and other seaboard cities—and other groups of wealthy landowners who came together from the across the colonies. Well after the Stamp Act was repealed, these societies continued to meet in opposition to what they saw as the abusive policies of the British empire. Out of their meetings, a growing nationalism emerged that would culminate in the fighting of the American Revolution only a decade later.





NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

2014

Mudslide in Washington state kills more than 40 people

On March 22, 2014, 43 people die when a portion of a hill suddenly collapses and buries a neighborhood in the small community of Oso, Washington, some 55 miles northeast of Seattle. It was one of the deadliest mudslides in U.S. history.





19TH CENTURY

1820

American naval hero killed in duel

U.S. Navy officer Stephen Decatur, hero of the Barbary Wars, is mortally wounded in a duel with disgraced Navy Commodore James Barron at Bladensburg, Maryland. Although once friends, Decatur sat on the court-martial that suspended Barron from the Navy for five years in 1808.





WOMEN'S RIGHTS

1972

Equal Rights Amendment passed by Congress

On March 22, 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment is passed by the U.S. Senate and sent to the states for ratification. First proposed by the National Woman’s political party in 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment was to provide for the legal equality of the sexes.





MIDDLE EAST

1945

Arab League formed

Representatives from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Yemen meet in Cairo to establish the Arab League, a regional organization of Arab states. Formed to foster economic growth in the region, resolve disputes between its members.





SPORTS

1894

First Stanley Cup championship played

On March 22, 1894, the first championship series for Lord Stanley’s Cup is played in Montreal, Canada. The Stanley Cup has since become one of the most cherished and recognized trophies in sport. The Stanley Cup was the creation of Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, lord of Preston.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1933

FDR legalizes sale of beer and wine

On March 22, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Beer and Wine Revenue Act. This law levies a federal tax on all alcoholic beverages to raise revenue for the federal government and gives individual states the option to further regulate the sale and distribution.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

2007

News Corp and NBC announce new internet venture

In a long-anticipated challenge to sites like YouTube, two entertainment giants—News Corporation and NBC Universal—announce a high-stakes internet venture on March 22, 2007. According to the terms of the deal, News Corporation, owned by the Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch.





CRIME

1984

Teachers are indicted at the McMartin Preschool

Seven teachers at the McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Beach, California are indicted by the Los Angeles County grand jury after hearing testimony from 18 children. Included among the charged are Peggy McMartin Buckey, the head of the school and her son Ray Buckey.





COLD WAR

1947

President Truman orders loyalty checks of federal employees

In response to public fears and Congressional investigations into communism in the United States, President Harry S. Truman issues an executive decree establishing a sweeping loyalty investigation of federal employees. As the Cold War began to develop after World War II.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1983

The origins of the Hummer

On March 22, 1983, the Pentagon awards a production contract worth more than $1 billion to AM General Corporation to develop 55,000 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV). Nicknamed the Humvee and designed to transport troops and cargo, the wide, rugged vehicles entered the spotlight when they were used by the American military during the 1989 invasion of Panama and the Persian Gulf War in the early 1990s.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 8:33am On Mar 24
TODAY IN HISTORY

Exxon Valdez crashes, causing one of the worst oil spills in history

One of the worst oil spills in U.S. territory begins when the supertanker Exxon Valdez, owned and operated by the Exxon Corporation, runs aground on a reef in Prince William Sound in southern Alaska. An estimated 11 million gallons of oil eventually spilled into the water. Attempts to contain the massive spill were unsuccessful, and wind and currents spread the oil more than 100 miles from its source, eventually polluting more than 700 miles of coastline. Hundreds of thousands of birds and animals were adversely affected by the environmental disaster.

It was later revealed that Joseph Hazelwood, the captain of the Valdez, was drinking at the time of the accident and allowed an uncertified officer to steer the massive vessel. In March 1990, Hazelwood was convicted of misdemeanor negligence, fined $50,000, and ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service. In July 1992, an Alaska court overturned Hazelwood’s conviction, citing a federal statute that grants freedom from prosecution to those who report an oil spill.

Exxon itself was condemned by the National Transportation Safety Board and in early 1991 agreed under pressure from environmental groups to pay a penalty of $100 million and provide $1 billion over a 10-year period for the cost of the cleanup. However, later in the year, both Alaska and Exxon rejected the agreement, and in October 1991 the oil giant settled the matter by paying $25 million, less than 4 percent of the cleanup aid promised by Exxon earlier that year.





21ST CENTURY

2015

Germanwings pilot intentionally crashes plane, killing 150 people

On March 24, 2015, the co-pilot of a German airliner deliberately flies the plane into the French Alps, killing himself and the other 149 people onboard. When it crashed, Germanwings flight 9525 had been traveling from Barcelona, Spain, to Dusseldorf, Germany.





1990S

1999

NATO bombs Yugoslavia

On March 24, 1999, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) commences air strikes against Yugoslavia with the bombing of Serbian military positions in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo. The NATO offensive came in response to a new wave of ethnic cleansing launched by Serbian.





SPACE EXPLORATION

1996

Astronaut Shannon Lucid enters Mir space station

U.S. astronaut Shannon Lucid transfers to the Russian space station Mir from the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis for a planned five-month stay. Lucid was the first female U.S. astronaut to live in a space station. Lucid, a biochemist, shared Mir with Russian cosmonauts Yuri.





GREAT BRITAIN

1603

Queen Elizabeth I dies

After 44 years of rule, Queen Elizabeth I of England dies, and King James VI of Scotland ascends to the throne, uniting England and Scotland under a single British monarch. The daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth succeeded to the throne in 1559.





WORLD WAR I

1918

German forces cross the Somme River

On March 24, 1918, German forces cross the Somme River, achieving their first goal of the major spring offensive begun three days earlier on the Western Front. Operation Michael, engineered by the German chief of the general staff, Erich von Ludendorff.





VIETNAM WAR

1975

North Vietnamese launch “Ho Chi Minh Campaign”

The North Vietnamese “Ho Chi Minh Campaign” begins. Despite the 1973 Paris Peace Accords cease fire, the fighting had continued between South Vietnamese forces and the North Vietnamese troops in South Vietnam.







VIETNAM WAR

1965

First anti-war teach-in conducted

The first “teach-in” is conducted at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; two hundred faculty members participate by holding special anti-war seminars. Regular classes were canceled, and rallies and speeches dominated for 12 hours.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1958

Elvis Presley is inducted into the U.S. Army

When Elvis Presley turned 18 on January 8, 1953, he fulfilled his patriotic duty and legal obligation to register his name with the Selective Service System, thereby making himself eligible for the draft. The Korean War was still underway at that time.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1955

"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" opens

Tennessee Williams’ play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opens in New York, two days before his 44th birthday. The play would win Williams his second Pulitzer Prize. Williams had been an award-winning playwright since 1945.





CRIME

1998

A school shooting in Jonesboro, Arkansas, kills five

Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, shoot their classmates and teachers in Jonesboro, Arkansas on March 24, 1998. Golden, the younger of the two boys, asked to be excused from his class, pulled a fire alarm and then ran to join Johnson in a wooded area 100 yards away.





ABOLITIONIST MOVEMENT

1862

Wendell Phillips booed in Cincinnati

On March 24, 1862, abolitionist orator Wendell Phillips is booed while attempting to give a lecture in Cincinnati, Ohio. The angry crowd was opposed to fighting for the freedom of enslaved people, as Phillips advocated. He was pelted with rocks and eggs before friends whisked him away.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1765

Parliament passes the Quartering Act

On March 24, 1765, Parliament passes the Quartering Act, outlining the locations and conditions in which British soldiers are to find room and board in the American colonies. The Quartering Act of 1765 required the colonies to house British soldiers in barracks provided by the American.







WORLD WAR II

1944

British Army officer Orde Wingate killed in plane crash

Maj. Gen. Orde Wingate, leader of the 77th Indian Brigade, also called the Chindits, dies in a transport plane crash. He was 41 years old. Wingate, a graduate of the Royal Military Academy, was a famous eccentric who both quoted the Bible and advocated irregular warfare tactics.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:32am On Mar 25
TODAY IN HISTORY


Triangle Shirtwaist fire kills 146 in New York City

In one of the darkest moments of America’s industrial history, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory in New York City burns down, killing 146 workers, on March 25, 1911. The tragedy led to the development of a series of laws and regulations that better protected the safety of factory workers.

The Triangle factory, owned by Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, was located in the top three floors of the 10-story Asch Building in downtown Manhattan. It was a sweatshop in every sense of the word: a cramped space lined with work stations and packed with poor immigrant workers, mostly teenaged women who did not speak English. At the time of the fire, there were four elevators with access to the factory floors, but only one was fully operational and it could hold only 12 people at a time. There were two stairways down to the street, but one was locked from the outside to prevent theft by the workers and the other opened inward only. The fire escape, as all would come to see, was shoddily constructed, and could not support the weight of more than a few women at a time.

Blanck and Harris already had a suspicious history of factory fires. The Triangle factory was twice scorched in 1902, while their Diamond Waist Company factory burned twice, in 1907 and in 1910. It seems that Blanck and Harris deliberately torched their workplaces before business hours in order to collect on the large fire-insurance policies they purchased, a not uncommon practice in the early 20th century. While this was not the cause of the 1911 fire, it contributed to the tragedy, as Blanck and Harris refused to install sprinkler systems and take other safety measures in case they needed to burn down their shops again.

Added to this delinquency were Blanck and Harris’ notorious anti-worker policies. Their employees were paid a mere $15 a week, despite working 12 hours a day, every day. When the International Ladies Garment Workers Union led a strike in 1909 demanding higher pay and shorter and more predictable hours, Blanck and Harris’ company was one of the few manufacturers who resisted, hiring police as thugs to imprison the striking women, and paying off politicians to look the other way.

On March 25, a Saturday afternoon, there were 600 workers at the factory when a fire broke out in a rag bin on the eighth floor. The manager turned the fire hose on it, but the hose was rotted and its valve was rusted shut. Panic ensued as the workers fled to every exit. The elevator broke down after only four trips, and women began jumping down the shaft to their deaths. Those who fled down the wrong set of stairs were trapped inside and burned alive. Other women trapped on the eighth floor began jumping out the windows, which created a problem for the firefighters whose hoses were crushed by falling bodies. Also, the firefighters’ ladders stretched only as high as the seventh floor, and their safety nets were not strong enough to catch the women, who were jumping three at a time.

Blanck and Harris were on the building’s top floor with some workers when the fire broke out. They were able to escape by climbing onto the roof and hopping to an adjoining building.

The fire was out within half an hour, but not before over 140 died. The workers’ union organized a march on April 5 to protest the conditions that led to the fire; it was attended by 80,000 people.

Though Blanck and Harris were put on trial for manslaughter, they managed to get off scot-free. Still, the massacre for which they were responsible did finally compel the city to enact reform. In addition to the Sullivan-Hoey Fire Prevention Law passed that October, the New York Democratic set took up the cause of the worker and became known as a reform party.





COLONIAL AMERICA

1634

The settlement of Maryland

The first colonists to Maryland arrive at St. Clement’s Island on Maryland’s western shore and found the settlement of St. Mary’s. In 1632, King Charles I of England granted a charter to George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, yielding him proprietary rights to a region east of Maryland.





MIDDLE EAST

1975

King Faisal of Saudi Arabia assassinated

In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, King Faisal is shot to death by his nephew, Prince Faisal. King Faisal, son of King Ibn Saud, fought in the military campaigns in the 1920s and ’30s that helped forge modern Saudi Arabia. He later served as Saudi ambassador to the United Nations.





1950S

1957

Europe's Common Market founded in major step toward economic unity

On March 25, 1957, France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg sign a treaty in Rome establishing the European Economic Community (EEC), also known as the Common Market. The EEC, which came into operation in January 1958.





WORLD WAR II

1941

Yugoslavia joins the Axis Powers

Yugoslavia, despite an early declaration of neutrality, signs the Tripartite Pact, forming an alliance with Axis powers Germany, Italy and Japan. A unified nation of Yugoslavia, an uneasy federation of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, was a response to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.





VIETNAM WAR

1967

Martin Luther King, Jr. leads march against the Vietnam War

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., leads a march of 5,000 antiwar demonstrators in Chicago. In an address to the demonstrators, King declared that the Vietnam War was “a blasphemy against all that America stands for.”





VIETNAM WAR

1968

“Wise Men” advise President Johnson to negotiate peace in Vietnam

After being told by Defense Secretary Clark Clifford that the Vietnam War is a “real loser,” President Johnson, still uncertain about his course of action, decides to convene a nine-man panel of retired presidential advisors. The group, which became known as the “Wise Men.”





SPORTS

1958

Sugar Ray Robinson defeats Carmen Basilio for middleweight title

On March 25, 1958, Sugar Ray Robinson defeats Carmen Basilio to regain the middleweight championship. It was the fifth and final title of his career. Robinson is considered by many to be the greatest prizefighter in history.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1955

U.S. Customs seizes copies of Allen Ginsberg's “Howl"

The U.S. Customs Department confiscates 520 copies of Allen Ginsberg’s book Howl, which had been printed in England. Officials alleged that the book was obscene. City Lights, a publishing company and bookstore in San Francisco owned by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

2001

Icelandic pop singer Björk makes splash at the Oscars

To some, Oscar night is more about the fashion than the awards themselves. Much of the audience tunes in to see who looks fabulous, who takes the biggest risks, and–of course–who’s the most egregious fashion disaster.





CRIME

1932

Verdict is announced in Scottsboro case

The Supreme Court hands down its decision in the case of Powell v. Alabama. The case arose out of the infamous Scottsboro case. Nine young Black men were arrested and accused of raping two white women on train in Alabama. The boys were fortunate to barely have escaped a lynch mob.





COLD WAR

1946

Soviets announce withdrawal from Iran

In conclusion to an extremely tense situation of the early Cold War, the Soviet Union announces that its troops in Iran will be withdrawn within six weeks. The Iranian crisis was one of the first tests of power between the United States and the Soviet Union in the postwar world.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1774

Parliament passes the Boston Port Act

On March 25, 1774, British Parliament passes the Boston Port Act, closing the port of Boston and demanding that the city’s residents pay for the nearly $1 million worth (in today’s money) of tea dumped into Boston Harbor during the Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 11:31am On Mar 26
TODAY IN HISTORY

Dr. Jonas Salk announces polio vaccine

On March 26, 1953, American medical researcher Dr. Jonas Salk announces on a national radio show that he has successfully tested a vaccine against poliomyelitis, the virus that causes the crippling disease of polio. In 1952—an epidemic year for polio—there were 58,000 new cases reported in the United States, and more than 3,000 died from the disease. For promising eventually to eradicate the disease, which is known as “infant paralysis” because it mainly affects children, Dr. Salk was celebrated as the great doctor-benefactor of his time.

Polio, a disease that has affected humanity throughout recorded history, attacks the nervous system and can cause varying degrees of paralysis. Since the virus is easily transmitted, epidemics were commonplace in the first decades of the 20th century. The first major polio epidemic in the United States occurred in Vermont in the summer of 1894, and by the 20th century thousands were affected every year. In the first decades of the 20th century, treatments were limited to quarantines and the infamous “iron lung,” a metal coffin-like contraption that aided respiration. Although children, and especially infants, were among the worst affected, adults were also often afflicted, including future president Franklin D. Roosevelt, who in 1921 was stricken with polio at the age of 39 and was left partially paralyzed. Roosevelt later transformed his estate in Warm Springs, Georgia, into a recovery retreat for polio victims and was instrumental in raising funds for polio-related research and the treatment of polio patients.

Salk, born in New York City in 1914, first conducted research on viruses in the 1930s when he was a medical student at New York University, and during World War II helped develop flu vaccines. In 1947, he became head of a research laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh and in 1948 was awarded a grant to study the polio virus and develop a possible vaccine. By 1950, he had an early version of his polio vaccine.

Salk’s procedure, first attempted unsuccessfully by American Maurice Brodie in the 1930s, was to kill several strains of the virus and then inject the benign viruses into a healthy person’s bloodstream. The person’s immune system would then create antibodies designed to resist future exposure to poliomyelitis. Salk conducted the first human trials on former polio patients and on himself and his family, and by 1953 was ready to announce his findings. This occurred on the CBS national radio network on the evening of March 25 and two days later in an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Dr. Salk became an immediate celebrity.

In 1954, clinical trials using the Salk vaccine and a placebo began on nearly two million American schoolchildren. In April 1955, it was announced that the vaccine was effective and safe, and a nationwide inoculation campaign began. Shortly thereafter, tragedy struck in the Western and mid-Western United States, when more than 200,000 people were injected with a defective vaccine manufactured at Cutter Laboratories of Berkeley, California. Thousands of polio cases were reported, 200 children were left paralyzed and 10 died.

The incident delayed production of the vaccine, but new polio cases dropped to under 6,000 in 1957, the first year after the vaccine was widely available. In 1962, an oral vaccine developed by Polish-American researcher Albert Sabin became available, greatly facilitating distribution of the polio vaccine. Today, there are just a handful of polio cases in the United States every year. Among other honors, Jonas Salk was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977. He died in La Jolla, California, in 1995.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1955

Black music gets whitewashed, as Georgia Gibbs hits the pop charts with “The Wallflower (Dance With Me, Henry)”

For its time, the mid-1950s, the lyrical phrase “You got to roll with me, Henry” was considered risqué just as the very label “rock and roll” was understood to have a sexual connotation. The line comes from an Etta James record originally called “Roll With Me Henry”





CRIME

1997

Heaven’s Gate cult members found dead

Following an anonymous tip, police enter a mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, an exclusive suburb of San Diego, California, and discover 39 victims of a mass suicide. The deceased—21 women and 18 men of varying ages—were all found lying peaceably in matching dark clothes.





MIDDLE EAST

1979

Israel-Egypt peace agreement signed

In a ceremony at the White House, Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin sign a historic peace agreement, ending three decades of hostilities between Egypt and Israel and establishing diplomatic and commercial ties.





WORLD WAR II

1941

Naval warfare gets new weapon

Italy attacks the British fleet at Souda Bay, Crete, using detachable warheads to sink a British cruiser. This was the first time manned torpedoes had been employed in naval warfare, adding a new weapon to the world’s navies’ arsenals.





VIETNAM WAR

1969

Antiwar demonstration in Washington

A group called Women Strike for Peace demonstrate in Washington, D.C., in the first large antiwar demonstration since President Richard Nixon’s inauguration in January. The antiwar movement had initially given Nixon a chance to make good on his campaign promises to end the war.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1804

President Jefferson presented with a “mammoth loaf” of bread

On March 26, 1804, President Thomas Jefferson attends a public party at the Senate and leads a diverse crowd in consuming an enormous loaf of bread dubbed the mammoth loaf. The giant bread was baked to go with the remnants of an enormous block of cheese.







ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1920

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first novel published

This Side of Paradise is published, immediately launching 23-year-old F. Scott Fitzgerald to fame and fortune. Fitzgerald, named for his ancestor Francis Scott Key, author of “The Star Spangled Banner,” was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, to a once well-to-do family.





CRIME

1987

Torture chamber uncovered in Philadelphia

Responding to a 911 call, police raid the Philadelphia home of Gary Heidnik and find an appalling crime scene. In the basement of Heidnik’s dilapidated house is a veritable torture chamber where three naked women were found chained to a sewer pipe.





RED SCARE

1950

McCarthy charges that Owen Lattimore is a Soviet spy

During a radio broadcast dealing with a Senate investigation into communists in the U.S. Department of State, news is leaked that Senator Joseph McCarthy has charged Professor Owen Lattimore with being a top spy for the Soviet Union.

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