This Week in History, March 3 – 9


by Dianne Hermann

“The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”
– Winston Churchill

Week of March 3-9, 2014

March 3

1845 – The U.S. Senate overrides a presidential veto for the first time. Tyler vetoed a Congressional bill that would have denied him the power to appropriate federal funds to build ships without Congressional approval.

1885 – American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) incorporates.

1887 – Anne Sullivan begins teaching 6-year-old blind and deaf Helen Keller. Sullivan died in 1936 at age 70. Author and lecturer Helen Keller died in 1968 at age 87.


1915 – The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics is founded, which is the predecessor of NASA.

1926 – The International Greyhound Racing Association is formed in Miami, Florida.

1931 – The “Star Spangled Banner” officially becomes the U.S. National Anthem. Francis Scott Key writes it as a poem on a ship near Fort McHenry, Maryland, during the War of 1812.

1934 – John Dillinger breaks out of jail using a wooden pistol.

1972 – Sculpted figures of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson are completed on Stone Mountain in Georgia.


1975 – The first “People’s Choice Awards” show airs on TV. The Favorite All-Around Male and Female Entertainers were Bob Hope and Carol Burnett.

1991 – The Los Angeles Police severely beat motorist Rodney King, which is captured on amateur video. Four LAPD police officers are indicted for assault and using excessive force. Their acquittal results in riots where more than 50 people are killed. King is arrested several more times for various offenses. King died in 2012 at age 47.

2005 – Steve Fossett becomes the first person to fly an airplane around the world solo without any stops and without refueling. The journey of 40,234 km/25,000 mi completed in 67 hours and 2 minutes.


March 4

1793 – George Washington is inaugurated for his second term as president and delivers the shortest inaugural speech (133 words).

1801 – Thomas Jefferson is the first president inaugurated in Washington, DC.

1841 – William Henry Harrison delivers the longest inauguration speech in history (8,443 words).

1849 – The U.S. has no president for one day. James Polk’s term ends at noon on Sunday, but Zachary Taylor couldn’t be sworn in until noon on Monday. Senator David Atchison (D-MO), the pres pro tem, is sworn in for one day.

1861 – Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated as the sixteenth president. For the first time the U.S. has five living former presidents: Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan.

1902 – The American Automobile Association (AAA) is founded in Chicago.

1934 – The Easter Cross located on Mt. Davidson (San Francisco) is dedicated. In 1991 the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Jewish Congress, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State sue the city over its ownership of the cross. The city loses and in 1997 auctions the .38-acre and cross to the highest bidder. The Council of Armenian American Organization purchases the cross for $26,000.


1964 – Jimmy Hoffa is convicted of jury tampering. He appeals his case all the way to the Supreme Court, and loses. (See March 7, 1967)

1995 – A blind teenage boy receives a “Bionic Eye” at a Washington Hospital.

2006 – The final attempted contact with Pioneer 10 by the Deep Space Network is unsuccessful when no response is received. Pioneer is launched on 1972 and is over 6 billion miles from earth.


March 5

1770 – During the “Boston Massacre,” British troops kill five citizens in a crowd. African American Crispus Attucks is the first to die. He is later held up as a black martyr.


1925 – South Dakota Governor Gunderson signs a bill establishing a memorial association that will build Mount Rushmore. The faces of presidents Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Lincoln (L to R) are carved under the direction of sculptor Gutzon Borglum. He died before the monument was dedicated in October of 1941.


1836 – Samuel Colt manufactures the first pistol, a 34-caliber “Texas” model.

1946 – Winston Churchill delivers his “Iron Curtain” speech in Fulton, Missouri.

1960 – Elvis Presley ends his 2-year hitch in the U.S. Army and resumes his music career.

1979 – Voyager I, launched in 1977, makes its closest approach to Jupiter (172,000 miles).

1984 – The Supreme Court rules by a 5-4 decision in Lynch v Donnelly that a city (Pawtucket, Rhode Island) may use public money for a Nativity scene because it does not violate the Establishment Clause and has “legitimate secular purposes.”


March 6

1836 – Several thousand Mexican soldiers under the command of Santa Anna overrun the Alamo defended by fewer than 200 Americans near modern-day San Antonio, Texas. All defenders were killed, including Jim Bowie and former Congressman Davey Crockett.


1857 – In the infamous Dred Scott Decision the Supreme Court rules that slaves cannot be citizens or sue in federal court. The Dred Scott decision is overturned by the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution.

1930 – Brooklyn’s Clarence Birdseye develops a method for quick freezing food.

1950 – Silly Putty is invented by accident while researchers are trying to find a replacement for rubber.

1964 – Cassius Clay joins the Nation of Islam and its leader, Elijah Muhammad, renames him Muhammad Ali.

1967 – Muhammad Ali is ordered by selective service to be inducted. He refuses.

1982 – In the NBA’s highest scoring game to date, the San Antonio Spurs beat the Milwaukee Bucks 171-166 (337 points) in triple overtime. The current record is 370 points when the Detroit Pistons beat the Denver Nuggets 186-184 in triple overtime in December 1993.

1985 – Yul Brynner appears in his 4,500th stage performance of “The King & I.” He stars in 4,633 performances, the last one just four months before his death. He also starred in the movie of the same name. Brynner won a Tony in 1952 and an Oscar in 1956 for the musical and movie, respectively.


March 7

1876 – Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone.

1908 – Cincinnati Mayor Mark Breith stands before the city council and announces that, “Women are not physically fit to operate automobiles.”

1917 – The first jazz record “Dixie Jazz Band One Step” is recorded by Nick LaRocca’s Original Dixieland Jazz Band and released by RCA Victor in Camden, New Jersey.

1942 – The first cadets graduate from flying school at Tuskegee, Alabama. The Tuskegee Airmen, the first black pilots in the U.S. armed forces, distinguish themselves during World War II.


1955 – “Peter Pan” starring Mary Martin is televised.


1967 – Teamster Union president Jimmy Hoffa begins an 8-year jail sentence for defrauding the union and jury tampering. His sentence is commuted on December 23, 1971. Hoffa disappears in July 1975. His disappearance is never solved and his body is never found.

1993 – Former “Diff’rent Strokes” child actor Todd Bridges is arrested for stabbing a tenant. It is later determined Bridges acted in self-defense. He is now 48 years old.


March 8

1884 – Susan B. Anthony addresses the U.S. House Judiciary Committee arguing for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote. Anthony’s argument came 16 years after legislators had first introduced a federal women’s suffrage amendment. The 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote is not passed until 1919 and is ratified in 1920. The 15th Amendment giving black men the right to vote is ratified in 1870.

1894 – The state of New York enacts the nation’s first dog-licensing law.

1924 – A coal mine explosion at Castle Gate Utah kills 171 miners.

1948 – The Supreme Court rules 8-1 in McCollum v Illinois Board of
Education that religious instruction in public schools is unconstitutional.

1953 – The U.S. Census Bureau indicates that 239,000 farmers gave up farming in previous 2 years.

1958 – Nobel Prize winning author William Faulkner says U.S. schools have “degenerated to become babysitters.”

1983 – President Ronald Reagan calls the USSR an “Evil Empire.” While in Berlin in 1987 Reagan tells Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” The Berlin Wall is torn down in 1989 and the empire falls in 1991.



March 9

1776 – The book on economics “The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith is published.

1864 – Ulysses S. Grant is appointed commander of the Union Army. Grant serves as president from 1869 to 1873.

1933 – Congress is called into special session by President FDR and begins its “100 days.” In all, Roosevelt pushed 15 major bills through Congress in his first 100 days in office.

1954 – The first color TV commercial airs in New York City for Castro Decorators. The ad is for a convertible sofa.

1964 – The first Ford Mustang is produced. Introduced mid-year, it is known as the 1964 ½ Mustang. Over one million Mustangs are sold in the first two years of production.



1979 – Commissioner Bowie Kuhn orders baseball to give equal access to female reporters.

1986 – NASA announces that searchers have found the remains of the Space Shuttle Challenger astronauts following the January 28th explosion on takeoff.

2007 – The U.S. Justice Department releases an internal audit that finds that the Federal Bureau of Investigation acted illegally in its use of the USA Patriot Act to secretly obtain personal information about U.S. citizens.

2011 – The Space Shuttle Discovery makes its final landing after 39 flights. The last Space Shuttle flight is the Atlantis in July 2011. There are a total of 135 missions.


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