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Today in History

Wednesday March 20, 2002

Wednesday, March 20 is the 79th day of 2002. There are 286 days left in the year. Spring arrives in the northern hemisphere at 2:16 p.m. Eastern time. 


Today’s Highlight in History: 

One hundred and fifty years ago, on March 20, 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s influential novel about slavery, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” was first published. 


On this date: 

In 1413, England’s King Henry IV died; he was succeeded by Henry V. 

In 1727, physicist, mathematician and astronomer Sir Isaac Newton died in London. 

In 1828, Norwegian poet-dramatist Henrik Ibsen was born. 

In 1896, U.S. Marines landed in Nicaragua to protect U.S. citizens in the wake of a revolution. 

In 1952, at the Academy Awards, “An American in Paris” was named best picture; Humphrey Bogart best actor for “The African Queen”; Vivien Leigh best actress, Kim Hunter best supporting actress and Karl Malden best supporting actor for “A Streetcar Named Desire”; and George Stevens best director for “A Place in the Sun.” 

In 1969, John Lennon married Yoko Ono in Gibraltar. 

In 1976, kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was convicted of armed robbery for her part in a San Francisco bank holdup. 

In 1987, the Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of AZT, a drug shown to prolong the lives of some AIDS patients. 

In 1990, Namibia became an independent nation as the former colony marked the end of 75 years of South African rule. 

In 1995, in Tokyo, 12 people were killed, more than 5,500 others sickened when packages containing the poisonous gas sarin leaked on five separate subway trains. 

Ten years ago: Congress passed, and President Bush immediately vetoed, a Democratic tax cut for the middle class that would have been funded by a tax hike on the rich. 

Five years ago: President Clinton and Boris Yeltsin opened talks in Helsinki, Finland, on the issue of NATO expansion. Liggett Group, the maker of Chesterfield cigarettes, settled 22 state lawsuits by agreeing to warn on every pack that smoking is addictive and admitting the industry markets cigarettes to teen-agers. 

One year ago: The skipper of the USS Greeneville took the stand in a Navy court and accepted sole responsibility for the Feb. 9 collision of his submarine with a Japanese trawler off Hawaii that killed nine Japanese. New York native Lori Berenson, accused of aiding guerrillas in Peru, received a retrial in civilian court (she was later convicted of “terrorist collaboration”). Power-strapped California saw a second day of rolling blackouts. 


Today’s Birthdays: Actor Jack Kruschen is 80. Producer-director-comedian Carl Reiner is 80. Children’s TV host Fred Rogers is 74. Actor Hal Linden is 71. Singer Jerry Reed is 65. Former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney is 63. Country singer Don Edwards is 63. TV producer Paul Junger Witt is 59. Country singer-musician Ranger Doug (Riders in the Sky) is 56. Hockey Hall-of-Famer Bobby Orr is 54.