Today in History — March 18, 2017
Today is Saturday, March 18, the 77th day of 2017. There are 288 days left in the year.
Today in History
On March 18, 1937, in America’s worst school disaster, nearly 300 people, most of them children, were killed in a natural gas explosion at the New London Consolidated School in Rusk County, Texas.
On this date:
In 1766, Britain repealed the Stamp Act of 1765.
In 1837, the 22nd and 24th president of the United States, Grover Cleveland, was born in Caldwell, New Jersey.
In 1917, the Mexican newspaper Excelsior published its first edition.
In 1925, the Tri-State Tornado struck southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois and southwestern Indiana, resulting in some 700 deaths.
In 1940, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met at the Brenner Pass, where the Italian dictator agreed to join Germany’s war against France and Britain.
In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order authorizing the War Relocation Authority, which was put in charge of evacuating “persons whose removal is necessary in the interests of national security,” with Milton S. Eisenhower (the youngest brother of Dwight D. Eisenhower) as its director.
In 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Hawaii statehood bill. (Hawaii became a state on Aug. 21, 1959.)
In 1962, France and Algerian rebels signed the Evian Accords, a cease-fire agreement which took effect the next day, ending the Algerian War.
In 1965, the first spacewalk took place as Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov went outside his Voskhod 2 capsule, secured by a tether. Farouk I, the former king of Egypt, died in exile in Rome.
In 1974, most of the Arab oil-producing nations ended their 5-month-old embargo against the United States that had been sparked by American support for Israel in the Yom Kippur War.
In 1980, Frank Gotti, the 12-year-old youngest son of mobster John Gotti, was struck and killed by a car driven by John Favara, a neighbor in Queens, New York. (The following July, Favara vanished, the apparent victim of a gang hit.)
In 1990, thieves made off with 13 works of art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston (the crime remains unsolved).
Ten years ago
Pakistan’s national cricket team coach, Bob Woolmer, 58, was found dead in his hotel room in Kingston, Jamaica, during cricket’s World Cup tournament. (An inquest into Woolmer’s death ended with the Jamaican jury unable to reach a ruling on the cause.)
Five years ago
Mitt Romney scored an overwhelming win in Puerto Rico’s Republican presidential primary, trouncing chief rival Rick Santorum.
One year ago
A jury in St. Petersburg, Florida, sided with ex-pro wrestler Hulk Hogan, awarding him $115 million in compensatory damages in his sex tape lawsuit against Gawker Media. (Three days later, the jury awarded $25 million in punitive damages; Gawker, which ended up going bankrupt, finally settled with Hogan for $31 million.) Police in Brussels captured Europe’s most wanted fugitive, Salah Abdeslam, who was the prime suspect in the deadly 2015 Paris attacks. North Korea ignored U.N. resolutions by firing a medium-range ballistic missile into the sea.
Composer John Kander is 90. Country singer Charley Pride is 83. Nobel peace laureate and former South African president F.W. de Klerk is 81. Country singer Margie Bowes is 76. Actor Kevin Dobson is 74. Actor Brad Dourif is 67. Jazz musician Bill Frisell is 66. Singer Irene Cara is 58. Alt-country musician Karen Grotberg (The Jayhawks) is 58. Movie writer-director Luc Besson is 58. Actor Geoffrey Owens is 56. Actor Thomas Ian Griffith is 55. Singer-songwriter James McMurtry is 55. TV personality Mike Rowe is 55. Singer-actress Vanessa L. Williams is 54. Olympic gold medal speedskater Bonnie Blair is 53. Country musician Scott Saunders (Sons of the Desert) is 53. Actor David Cubitt is 52. Rock musician Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains) is 51. Rock singer-musician Miki Berenyi (ber-EN’-ee) is 50. Actor Michael Bergin is 48. Rapper-actress-talk show host Queen Latifah is 47. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (ryns PREE’-bus) is 45. Actor-comedian Dane Cook is 45. Country singer Philip Sweet (Little Big Town) is 43. Rock musician Stuart Zender is 43. Singers Jaron and Evan Lowenstein are 43. Actress-singer-dancer Sutton Foster is 42. Singer Devin Lima (LFO) is 40. Rock singer Adam Levine (Maroon 5) is 38. Rock musician Daren Taylor (Airborne Toxic Event) is 37. Olympic gold medal figure skater Alexei Yagudin is 37. Actor Adam Pally is 35. Actor Cornelius Smith Jr. is 35. Actress Lily Collins is 28. Actress-dancer Julia Goldani Telles is 22. Actress Ciara Bravo is 20. Actor Blake Garrett Rosenthal is 13.
Thought for Today
“To start is easy, to persist is an art.” — German proverb.