Today in History
Today is Friday, March 12, the 71st day of 2021. There are 294 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlights in History:
On March 12, 2020, the stock market had its biggest drop since the Black Monday crash of 1987 as fears of economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis deepened; the Dow industrials plunged more than 2,300 points, or 10%.
On this date:
In 1664, England’s King Charles II granted an area of land on the East Coast of present-day North America known as New Netherland to his brother James, the Duke of York.
In 1864, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant assumed command as General-in-Chief of the Union armies in the Civil War.
In 1912, the Girl Scouts of the USA had its beginnings as Juliette Gordon Low of Savannah, Georgia, founded the first American troop of the Girl Guides.
In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the first of his 30 radio addresses that came to be known as “fireside chats,” telling Americans what was being done to deal with the nation’s economic crisis.
In 1943, Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” had its world premiere with Eugene Goossens conducting the Cincinnati Symphomy.
In 1947, President Harry S. Truman announced what became known as the “Truman Doctrine” to help Greece and Turkey resist Communism.
In 1955, legendary jazz musician Charlie “Bird” Parker died in New York at age 34.
In 1980, a Chicago jury found John Wayne Gacy Jr. guilty of the murders of 33 men and boys. (The next day, Gacy was sentenced to death; he was executed in May 1994.)
In 1994, the Church of England ordained its first women priests.
In 2003, Elizabeth Smart, the 15-year-old girl who vanished from her bedroom nine months earlier, was found alive in a Salt Lake City suburb with two drifters, Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee. (Mitchell is serving a life sentence; Barzee was released from prison in September 2018.)
In 2008, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned two days after reports had surfaced that he was a client of a prostitution ring (Spitzer was succeeded as governor by fellow Democrat David Paterson).
In 2009, disgraced financier Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty in New York to pulling off perhaps the biggest swindle in Wall Street history; he would be sentenced to 150 years behind bars.
Ten years ago: Fifteen passengers were killed when a tour bus returning from a Connecticut casino scraped along a guard rail on the outskirts of New York City, tipped on its side and slammed into a pole that sheared it nearly end to end. (Driver Ophadell Williams was later acquitted of manslaughter and negligent homicide.) A Cuban court found U.S. contractor Alan Gross guilty of bringing satellite phones and other communication equipment to Cuba illegally while working on a USAID-funded democracy-building program and sentenced him to 15 years in prison. (Cuba released Gross in December 2014).
Five years ago: Ted Cruz won most of the delegates at stake in Republican county conventions in Wyoming; Marco Rubio won the GOP presidential caucuses in Washington, D.C.
One year ago: The White House said President Donald Trump had no plans to be tested for the coronavirus or go into quarantine, even though a Brazilian official who attended weekend events with Trump in Florida had tested positive. Trump said he was temporarily halting his campaign rallies. The NCAA canceled its basketball tournaments after earlier planning to play in empty arenas. The NHL joined the NBA in suspending play. Major League Baseball delayed the start of its season by at least two weeks. (An abbreviated 60-game season would begin in July.) New York’s governor ordered Broadway theaters to shut down for a month; all gatherings of more than 500 people were temporarily banned. (The theaters remain closed.) Disneyland in California said it would close for the rest of March. (The park has yet to reopen.) Studios announced that the release of major films, including “Mulan,” would be delayed because of the virus.
Today’s Birthdays: Politician, diplomat and civil rights activist Andrew Young is 89. Actor Barbara Feldon is 88. Former broadcast journalist Lloyd Dobyns is 85. Actor-singer Liza Minnelli is 75. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, is 74. Singer-songwriter James Taylor is 73. Former Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., is 73. Rock singer-musician Bill Payne (Little Feat) is 72. Actor Jon Provost (TV: “Lassie”) is 71. Author Carl Hiaasen (HY’-ah-sihn) is 68. Rock musician Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) is 65. Actor Lesley Manville is 65. Actor Jerry Levine is 64. Singer Marlon Jackson (The Jackson Five) is 64. Actor Jason Beghe is 61. Actor Courtney B. Vance is 61. Actor Titus Welliver is 59. Former MLB All-Star Darryl Strawberry is 59. Actor Julia Campbell is 58. Actor Jake Weber is 58. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., is 53. Actor Aaron Eckhart is 53. CNN reporter Jake Tapper is 52. Rock musician Graham Coxon is 52. Country musician Tommy Bales (Flynnville Train) is 48. Actor Rhys Coiro is 42. Country singer Holly Williams is 40. Actor Samm (cq) Levine is 39. Actor Jaimie Alexander is 37. Actor Tyler Patrick Jones is 27. Actor Kendall Applegate is 22.