Today in History

Published 12:01 am Saturday, March 31, 2018

Today is Saturday, March 31, the 90th day of 2018. There are 275 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 31, 1968, at the conclusion of a nationally broadcast address on Vietnam, President Lyndon B. Johnson stunned listeners by declaring, “I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.”

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On this date:

In 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain issued an edict expelling Jews from Spanish soil, except those willing to convert to Christianity.

In 1889, French engineer Gustave Eiffel unfurled the French tricolor from atop the Eiffel Tower, officially marking its completion.

In 1917, the United States took formal possession of the Virgin Islands from Denmark.

In 1923, the first U.S. dance marathon, held in New York City, ended with Alma Cummings, who had danced with six consecutive male partners, setting a world record of 27 hours on her feet.

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Emergency Conservation Work Act, which created the Civilian Conservation Corps.

In 1943, “Oklahoma!,” the first musical play by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, opened on Broadway.

In 1958, the Chuck Berry single “Johnny B. Goode” was first released on the Chess label.

In 1976, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that Karen Ann Quinlan, a young woman in a persistent vegetative state, could be disconnected from her respirator. (Quinlan, who remained unconscious, died in 1985.)

In 1986, 167 people died when a Mexicana Airlines Boeing 727 crashed in a remote mountainous region of Mexico.

In 1993, actor Brandon Lee, 28, was accidentally shot to death during the filming of a movie in Wilmington, North Carolina, when he was hit by a bullet fragment that had become lodged inside a prop gun.

In 1995, Mexican-American singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, 23, was shot to death in Corpus Christi, Texas, by the founder of her fan club, Yolanda Saldivar, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

In 2005, Terri Schiavo (SHY’-voh), 41, died at a hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida, 13 days after her feeding tube was removed in a wrenching right-to-die dispute.

Ten years ago: HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson announced his resignation amid the wreckage of the national housing crisis. A Bahamas jury ruled that Anna Nicole Smith’s son, Daniel, died from an accidental drug overdose, just like his mother. American movie director Jules Dassin, whose Greek wife, Melina Mercouri, starred in his hit movie “Never on Sunday” and six more of his films, died in Athens at age 96.

Five years ago: Pope Francis marked Christianity’s most joyous day at the Vatican with a passionate plea for world peace as he celebrated his first Easter Sunday as pontiff. The Houston Astros, coming off consecutive 100-loss seasons, made an impressive debut in the American League, trouncing the Texas Rangers 8-2 on opening night.

One year ago: President Donald Trump signed a pair of executive orders focused on reducing the U.S. trade deficit; the first order gave the Commerce Department 90 days to assemble a report on the factors behind the trade deficit, while the second sought to increase collection of duties on imports. Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia retained her world figure skating title at the championship in Helsinki. William T. Coleman Jr., a civil rights lawyer who served as transportation secretary during the Ford administration, died in Alexandria, Virginia, at age 96.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor William Daniels is 91. Actor Richard Chamberlain is 84. Actress Shirley Jones is 84. Musician Herb Alpert is 83. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is 78. Former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., is 78. Actor Christopher Walken is 75. Comedian Gabe Kaplan is 74. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, is 74. Rock musician Mick Ralphs (Bad Company; Mott the Hoople) is 74. Former Vice President Al Gore is 70. Author David Eisenhower is 70. Actress Rhea Perlman is 70. Actor Robbie Coltrane is 68. Actor Ed Marinaro is 68. Rock musician Angus Young (AC/DC) is 63. Actor Marc McClure is 61. Actor William McNamara is 53. Alt-country musician Bob Crawford (The Avett (AY’-veht) Brothers) is 47. Actor Ewan (YOO’-en) McGregor is 47. Actress Judi Shekoni is 40. Rapper Tony Yayo is 40. Actress Kate Micucci is 38. Actor Brian Tyree Henry (TV: “Atlanta” Stage: “Book of Mormon”) is 36. Actress Melissa Ordway is 35. Jazz musician Christian Scott is 35. Pop musician Jack Antonoff (fun.) is 34. Actress Jessica Szohr is 33.