Today in History


Today is Tuesday, March 21, the 80th day of 2023. There are 285 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 21, 1965, civil rights demonstrators led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. began their third, successful march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

On this date:

In 1685, composer Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany.

In 1935, Persia officially changed its name to Iran.

In 1945, during World War II, Allied bombers began four days of raids over Germany.

In 1952, the Moondog Coronation Ball, considered the first rock and roll concert, took place at Cleveland Arena.

In 1972, the Supreme Court, in Dunn v. Blumstein, ruled that states may not require at least a year’s residency for voting eligibility.

In 1990, Namibia became an independent nation as the former colony marked the end of 75 years of South African rule.

In 1997, President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin wrapped up their summit in Helsinki, Finland, still deadlocked over NATO expansion, but able to agree on slashing nuclear weapons arsenals.

In 2006, the social media website Twitter was established with the sending of the first “tweet” by co-founder Jack Dorsey, who wrote: “just setting up my twttr.”

In 2007, former Vice President Al Gore made an emotional return to Congress as he pleaded with House and Senate committees to fight global warming; skeptical Republicans questioned the science behind his climate-change documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

In 2016, laying bare a half-century of tensions, President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro prodded each other over human rights and the longstanding U.S. economic embargo during an unprecedented joint news conference in Havana.

In 2019, President Donald Trump abruptly declared that the U.S. would recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights, a major shift in American policy.

In 2020 during a White House briefing, President Donald Trump doubled down on his support for the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for the coronavirus, while Dr. Anthony Fauci said the evidence was “anecdotal.”

Ten years ago: On his second day in the Middle East, President Barack Obama insisted “peace is possible” as he prodded both Israelis and Palestinians to return to long-stalled negotiations with few, if any, pre-conditions, softening his earlier demands that Israel stop building settlements in disputed territory.

Five years ago: As a SWAT team moved in on his SUV, Mark Conditt, the suspect in the deadly bombings that had terrorized Austin, Texas for three weeks, used one of his own devices to take his own life. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized for a “major breach of trust;” the apology came after it was revealed that the data mining firm Cambridge Analytica, whose clients included the Trump campaign, may have used data improperly obtained from Facebook users to try to sway elections. The fourth nor’easter in three weeks dumped more than a foot of snow on some parts of the East Coast.

One year ago: A China Eastern Boeing 737-800 with 132 people on board crashed in a mountainous area of southern China, setting off a forest fire visible from space in the country’s worst air disaster in nearly a decade. (All 123 passengers and nine crew members would later be confirmed dead.) In her first day of public hearings, Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson pledged to decide cases “without fear or favor” if the Senate confirmed her historic nomination as the first Black woman on the high court. Veteran talk show host Maury Povich announced he was calling it quits, saying he would stop making original episodes of “Maury” after being a daytime mainstay for 31 years.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Kathleen Widdoes is 84. Songwriter Chip Taylor (“Wild Thing”) is 83. Folk-pop singer-musician Keith Potger (The Seekers) is 82. Actor Marie-Christine Barrault is 79. Singer-musician Rose Stone (Sly and the Family Stone) is 78. Actor Timothy Dalton is 77. Singer Ray Dorset (Mungo Jerry) is 77. Rock singer-musician Roger Hodgson (Supertramp) is 73. Rock musician Conrad Lozano (Los Lobos) is 72. R&B singer Russell Thompkins Jr. is 72. Comedy writer-performer Brad Hall is 65. Actor Sabrina LeBeauf is 65. Actor Gary Oldman is 65. Actor Kassie Depaiva is 62. Actor Matthew Broderick is 61. Comedian-actor Rosie O’Donnell is 61. Actor Cynthia Geary is 58. Hip-hop DJ Premier (Gang Starr) is 57. Rock musician Jonas “Joker” Berggren (Ace of Base) is 56. Rock MC Maxim (Prodigy) is 56. Rock musician Andrew Copeland (Sister Hazel) is 55. Actor Laura Allen is 49. Rapper-TV personality Kevin Federline is 45. Actor Sonequa Martin-Green (TV: “The Walking Dead”) is 38. Actor Scott Eastwood is 37. Tennis player Karolina Pliskova is 31. Actor Jasmin Savoy Brown is 29. Actor Forrest Wheeler is 19.

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