Today in History

AP News
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Posted: Mar 21, 2016 12:01 AM

Today is Monday, March 21, the 81st day of 2016. There are 285 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On March 21, 1946, the recently created United Nations Security Council set up temporary headquarters at Hunter College in The Bronx, New York.

On this date:

In 1556, Thomas Cranmer, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, was burned at the stake for heresy.

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 1925, Tennessee Gov. Austin Peay signed the Butler Act, which prohibited the teaching of the Theory of Evolution in public schools. (Tennessee repealed the law in 1967.)

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 1956, "Marty" won best picture at the Academy Awards; its star, Ernest Borgnine, was named best actor. Anna Magnani (man-YAH'-nee) won best actress for "The Rose Tattoo."

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

In 1963, the Alcatraz federal prison island in San Francisco Bay was emptied of its last inmates and closed at the order of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.

In 1976, champion skier Vladimir "Spider" Sabich was shot and killed by his girlfriend, actress-singer Claudine Longet (lohn-ZHAY'), in the home they shared in Aspen, Colorado; Longet, who maintained the shooting was an accident, served 30 days in jail for negligent homicide.

In 1986, Debi Thomas of the United States won the ladies' title at the World Figure Skating Championships in Geneva, Switzerland, dethroning Katarina Witt of East Germany.

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

Ten 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, Maryland, of abusing prisoners. (Smith was sentenced the next day to 179 days in prison.) 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."

Five years ago: Syrians chanting "No more fear!" held a defiant march after a deadly government crackdown failed to quash three days of mass protests in the southern city of Deraa. Grammy-winning bluesman Pinetop Perkins died in Austin, Texas, at 97. Mayhew "Bo" Foster, a World War II U.S. Army pilot who transported Nazi official Hermann Goering for interrogation in an unarmed, unescorted plane, died in Missoula, Montana, at age 99.

One year ago: President Barack Obama, in an interview with The Huffington Post, said he took Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "at his word" for saying an independent Palestinian state would never co-exist with Israel as long as he was in office, yet another sign of the strained relations between longtime allies. A super tide turned France's famed Mount Saint-Michel into an island and then retreated out of sight, delighting thousands of visitors who had come to see the rare phenomenon. In Meribel, France, Marcel Hirscher of Austria became the first skier to win the men's World Cup overall title for a fourth straight year.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Kathleen Widdoes is 77. Folk-pop singer/musician Keith Potger (The Seekers) is 75. Actress Marie-Christine Barrault is 72. Singer-musician Rose Stone (Sly and the Family Stone) is 71. Actor Timothy Dalton is 70. Singer Eddie Money is 67. Rock singer-musician Roger Hodgson (Supertramp) is 66. Rock musician Conrad Lozano (Los Lobos) is 65. Rhythm-and-blues singer Russell Thompkins Jr. (The Stylistics) is 65. Comedy writer-performer Brad Hall is 58. Actress Sabrina LeBeauf is 58. Actor Gary Oldman is 58. Actor Matthew Broderick is 54. Comedian-talk show host Rosie O'Donnell is 54. Rock musician Jonas "Joker" Berggren (Ace of Base) is 49. Rock MC Maxim (Prodigy) is 49. Rock musician Andrew Copeland (Sister Hazel) is 48. Hip-hop DJ Premier (Gang Starr) is 47. Actress Laura Allen is 42. Rapper-TV personality Kevin Federline is 38. Actor Scott Eastwood is 30. Actor Forrest Wheeler is 12.

Thought for Today: "Is it worse to be scared than to be bored, that is the question." — Gertrude Stein, American writer (1874-1946).