Today in History

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Associated Press

Posted on March 20, 2014 at 11:02 PM

Today is Friday, March 21, the 80th day of 2014. There are 285 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On March 21, 1685, composer Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany.

On this date:

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

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

In 1871, journalist Henry M. Stanley began his famous expedition in Africa to locate the missing Scottish missionary David Livingstone.

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

In 1944, Charles Chaplin went on trial in Los Angeles, accused of transporting former protegee Joan Barry across state lines for immoral purposes. (Chaplin was acquitted, but later lost a paternity suit despite tests showing he wasn't the father of Barry's child.)

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 1965, civil rights demonstrators led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. began their third, successful 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 1985, police in Langa, South Africa, opened fire on blacks marching to mark the 25th anniversary of Sharpeville; the reported death toll varied between 29 and 43.

In 1994, at the Academy Awards, "Schindler's List" won seven Oscars, including best picture and best director for Steven Spielberg; Tom Hanks won best actor for "Philadelphia" while Holly Hunter was honored as best actress for "The Piano."

In 1999, Israel's Supreme Court rejected a final effort to have American teenager Samuel Sheinbein (SHYN'-byn) returned to the United States to face murder charges. (Under a plea agreement, Sheinbein received a 24-year prison sentence in Israel for the slaying and dismemberment of 19-year-old Alfredo Enrique Tello Jr.; on Feb. 23, 2014, Sheinbein was killed in a prison shootout.) "Shakespeare in Love" won seven Oscars, including best picture and best actress for Gwyneth Paltrow; Roberto Benigni won best actor for "Life is Beautiful"; Steven Spielberg won best director for "Saving Private Ryan."

Ten years ago: The White House disputed assertions by President George W. Bush's former counterterrorism coordinator, Richard A. Clarke, that the administration had failed to recognize the risk of an attack by al-Qaida in the months leading up to 9/11. (Clarke's assertions were contained in a new book, "Against All Enemies," that went on sale the next day.) Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid won the prestigious 2004 Pritzker Architecture Prize, becoming the first woman to receive the profession's highest honor.

Five years ago: In Oakland, Calif., parolee Lovelle Mixon shot and killed two motorcycle officers, then killed two SWAT team members while holed up in an apartment before he was killed by law enforcement. A busload of activists representing working- and middle-class families paid visits to the lavish Connecticut homes of American International Group executives to protest the tens of millions of dollars in bonuses awarded by the struggling insurance company after it had received a massive federal bailout. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (hah-meh-neh-EE') dismissed overtures from President Barack Obama, saying Tehran did not see any change in U.S. policy under its new administration.

One year 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.

Today's Birthdays: Violinist-conductor Joseph Silverstein is 82. Actress Kathleen Widdoes is 75. Actress Marie-Christine Barrault is 70. Singer-musician Rose Stone (Sly and the Family Stone) is 69. Actor Timothy Dalton is 68. Singer Eddie Money is 65. Rock singer-musician Roger Hodgson (Supertramp) is 64. Rock musician Conrad Lozano (Los Lobos) is 63. Rhythm-and-blues singer Russell Thompkins Jr. (The Stylistics) is 63. Comedy writer-performer Brad Hall is 56. Actress Sabrina LeBeauf is 56. Actor Gary Oldman is 56. Actor Matthew Broderick is 52. Comedian-talk show host Rosie O'Donnell is 52. Rock musician Jonas "Joker" Berggren (Ace of Base) is 47. Rock MC Maxim (Prodigy) is 47. Rock musician Andrew Copeland (Sister Hazel) is 46. Hip-hop DJ Premier (Gang Starr) is 45. Actress Laura Allen is 40. Rapper-TV personality Kevin Federline is 36.

Thought for Today: "Among individuals, as among nations, peace is the respect of others' rights." — Benito Juarez, Mexican statesman (1806-1872).

(Above Advance for Use Friday, March 21)

Copyright 2014, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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