Today in History

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Posted: Mar 21, 2011 12:01 AM
Today in History

Today is Monday, March 21, the 80th day of 2011. There are 285 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On March 21, 1806, Mexican statesman Benito Juarez was born in the state of Oaxaca (wuh-HAH'-kuh).

On this date:

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

In 1804, the French civil code, or the "Code Napoleon" as it was later called, was adopted.

In 1907, U.S. Marines arrived in Honduras to protect American lives and interests in the wake of political violence.

In 1940, a new government was formed in France by Paul Reynaud (ray-NOH'), who became prime minister, succeeding Edouard Daladier (dah-lah-DYAY').

In 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan began a four-day conference in Bermuda.

In 1960, about 70 people were killed in Sharpeville, South Africa, when police fired on black protesters.

In 1965, more than 3,000 civil rights demonstrators led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. began their march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.

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 1981, Michael Donald, a black teenager in Mobile, Ala., was abducted, tortured and killed by members of the Ku Klux Klan. (A lawsuit brought by Donald's mother, Beulah Mae Donald, later resulted in a landmark judgment that bankrupted one Klan organization.)

In 1985, police in Langa, South Africa, opened fire on blacks marching to mark the 25th anniversary of Sharpeville; the reported death toll varies between 29 and 43.

Ten years ago: Space shuttle Discovery glided to a predawn touchdown, bringing home the first residents of the international space station. The Supreme Court ruled that public hospitals could not test pregnant women for drug use and turn the results over to police without the women's consent. The U.S. ordered 51 Russian diplomats to leave, in retaliation for Russia's use of an FBI spy, Robert Hanssen.

Five years ago: President George W. Bush predicted American forces would remain in Iraq for years and that it would be up to a future president to decide when to bring them all home. But defying critics and plunging polls, Bush declared, "I'm optimistic we'll succeed." Sgt. Michael J. Smith, an Army dog handler at Abu Ghraib, was convicted at Fort Meade, Md., of abusing prisoners. (Smith was sentenced the next day to 179 days in prison.)

One year ago: Frustrated with the pace of action to overhaul the country's immigration system, thousands of immigrant rights supporters descended on the nation's capital, waving American flags and holding homemade signs in English and Spanish. France's long-flailing political left made a big comeback, crushing President Nicolas Sarkozy's (sahr-koh-ZEEZ') conservatives in regional elections.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Al Freeman Jr. is 80. Violinist-conductor Joseph Silverstein is 79. Actress Kathleen Widdoes is 72. Actress Marie-Christine Barrault is 67. Singer-musician Rose Stone (Sly and the Family Stone) is 66. Actor Timothy Dalton is 65. Singer Eddie Money is 62. Rock singer-musician Roger Hodgson (Supertramp) is 61. Rock musician Conrad Lozano (Los Lobos) is 60. Rhythm-and-blues singer Russell Thompkins Jr. (The Stylistics) is 60. Comedy writer-performer Brad Hall is 53. Actress Sabrina LeBeauf is 53. Actor Gary Oldman is 53. Actor Matthew Broderick is 49. Comedian-talk show host Rosie O'Donnell is 49. Rock musician Jonas "Joker" Berggren (Ace of Base) is 44. Rock MC Maxim (Prodigy) is 44. Rock musician Andrew Copeland (Sister Hazel) is 43. Hip-hop DJ Premier (Gang Starr) is 42. Actress Laura Allen is 37. Rapper-TV personality Kevin Federline is 33.

Thought for Today: "Never lose your temper with the press or the public is a major rule of political life." _ Dame Christabel Pankhurst, English suffragist (1880-1958).

(Above Advance for Use Monday, March 21)

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