Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 9, 1841, the U.S. Supreme Court, in United States v. The Amistad, ruled 7-1 in favor of a group of illegally enslaved Africans who were captured off the U.S. coast after seizing control of a Spanish schooner, La Amistad; the justices ruled that the Africans should be set free.
On this date:
In 1916, more than 400 Mexican raiders led by Pancho Villa (VEE’-uh) attacked Columbus, New Mexico, killing 18 Americans. During the First World War, Germany declared war on Portugal.
In 1933, Congress, called into special session by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, began its “hundred days” of enacting New Deal legislation.
In 1945, during World War II, U.S. B-29 bombers began launching incendiary bomb attacks against Tokyo, resulting in an estimated 100,000 deaths.
In 1954, CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow critically reviewed Wisconsin Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy’s anti-communism campaign on “See It Now.”
In 1959, Mattel’s Barbie doll, created by Ruth Handler, made its public debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York.
In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court, in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, raised the standard for public officials to prove they’d been libeled in their official capacity by news organizations.
In 1976, a cable car in the Italian ski resort of Cavalese fell some 700 feet to the ground when a supporting line snapped, killing 43 people.
In 1987, Chrysler Corp. announced it had agreed to buy the financially ailing American Motors Corp.
In 1989, the Senate rejected President George H.W. Bush’s nomination of John Tower to be defense secretary by a vote of 53-47. (The next day, Bush tapped Wyoming Rep. Dick Cheney, who went on to win unanimous Senate approval.)
In 1990, Dr. Antonia Novello was sworn in as surgeon general, becoming the first woman and the first Hispanic to hold the job.
In 1997, gangsta rapper The Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace) was killed in a still-unsolved drive-by shooting in Los Angeles; he was 24.
In 2000, John McCain suspended his presidential campaign, conceding the Republican nomination to George W. Bush. Bill Bradley ended his presidential bid, conceding the Democratic nomination to Vice President Al Gore.
Ten years ago: After a trip to the International Space Station, shuttle Discovery ended its career as the most flown U.S. spaceship, returning from orbit for the last time. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation abolishing the death penalty in his state and commuting the sentences of all remaining death row inmates.
Five years ago: Six days before the Florida primary, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders tangled in an intense debate in Miami over who was the true friend of American Hispanics, and had even worse things to say about Republican front-runner Donald Trump. During a Trump rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, John Franklin McGraw struck protester Rakeem Jones as Jones was being removed by sheriff’s deputies (McGraw, who later apologized for his actions, received a 30-day suspended sentence).
One year ago: Global stock markets and oil prices plunged, reflecting mounting alarm over the impact of the coronavirus. An alarmingly sharp slide at the opening bell on Wall Street triggered the first automatic halt in trading in more than two decades; the Dow industrials finished nearly 8% lower. A cruise ship with at least 21 infected people aboard was allowed to dock in Oakland, California after days idling at sea while dozens of those aboard were tested. Italy’s premier put the entire country on lockdown to combat the coronavirus, urging all 60 million Italians to stay home. The Capitol’s attending physician said “several” members of Congress had contact with a person who had attended a recent political conference and had later developed COVID-19. More than two dozen people, including the trainer of champion horse Maximum Security, were charged in what authorities described as a widespread scheme to drug racehorses to make them run faster.
Today’s Birthdays: Former Sen. James L. Buckley, Conservative-N.Y., is 98. Singer Lloyd Price is 88. Actor Joyce Van Patten is 87.
Country singer Mickey Gilley is 85. Actor Trish Van Devere is 80. Singer-musician John Cale (The Velvet Underground) is 79. Singer Mark Lindsay (Paul Revere and the Raiders) is 79. Former ABC anchorman Charles Gibson is 78. Rock musician Robin Trower is 76. Singer Jeffrey Osborne is 73. Country musician Jimmie Fadden (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) is 73. Actor Jaime Lyn Bauer is 72. Magazine editor Michael Kinsley is 70. TV newscaster Faith Daniels is 64. Actor Linda Fiorentino is 63. Actor Tom Amandes is 62. Actor-director Lonny Price is 62. Country musician Rusty Hendrix (Confederate Railroad) is 61. Actor Juliette Binoche is 57. Rock musician Robert Sledge (Ben Folds Five) is 53. Rock musician Shannon Leto (30 Seconds to Mars) is 51. Rapper C-Murder (AKA C-Miller) is 50. Actor Emmanuel Lewis is 50. Actor Jean Louisa Kelly is 49. Actor Kerr Smith is 49. Actor Oscar Isaac is 42. Comedian Jordan Klepper (TV: “The Daily Show”) is 42. Rapper Chingy is 41. Actor Matthew Gray Gubler is 41. Rock musician Chad Gilbert (New Found Glory) is 40. NHL defenseman Brent Burns is 36. Actor Brittany Snow is 35. Rapper Bow Wow is 34. Rapper YG is 31. Actor Luis Armand Garcia is 29. Actor Cierra Ramirez is 26.