Today in History

The Associated Press
·4-min read

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, March 31, the 90th day of 2021. There are 275 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 31, 1931, Notre Dame college football coach Knute Rockne (noot RAHK’-nee), 43, was killed in the crash of a TWA plane in Bazaar, Kan.

On this date:

In 1814, Paris was occupied by a coalition of Russian, Prussian and Austrian forces; the surrender of the French capital forced the abdication of Emperor Napoleon.

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

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 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.”

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 1991, the Warsaw Pact military alliance came to an end.

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 2004, four American civilian contractors were killed in Fallujah, Iraq; frenzied crowds dragged the burned, mutilated bodies and strung two of them from a bridge.

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 court fight.

In 2009, Benjamin Netanyahu took office as Israel’s new prime minister after the Knesset approved his government.

In 2019, rapper Nipsey Hussle was fatally shot outside the clothing store he had founded to help rebuild his troubled South Los Angeles neighborhood; he was 33. Former Vice President Joe Biden defended his interactions with women; saying he didn’t believe he had ever acted inappropriately.

Ten years ago: Moammar Gadhafi struck a defiant stance after two high-profile defections from his regime, saying the Western leaders who had decimated his military with airstrikes should resign immediately — not him. (Gadhafi’s message was in the form of a scroll across the bottom of state TV as he remained out of sight.)

Five years ago: An overpass collapsed onto a crowded Kolkata, India, neighborhood, killing 26 people. A man who was convicted of fatally beating another man to death after a night of drinking and drug use in 1994 was put to death in Georgia. A 34-year-old Illinois man fatally shot a Virginia state trooper at a busy bus terminal in Richmond before being killed by other troopers. A Maryland man accused of fatally beating his girlfriend’s 9-year-old son over a missing piece of birthday cake pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

One year ago: The White House released new projections that the number of coronavirus deaths in the U.S. could range from 100,000 to 240,000 even if current social distancing guidelines were maintained. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial had distracted the federal government from the coronavirus as it reached the United States in January. CNN’s Chris Cuomo anchored his CNN show from the basement of his home after testing positive for the coronavirus. A temporary hospital in a New York City convention center began accepting patients. Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan officially stepped down from duties as members of the royal family. Stocks finished the first quarter of 2020 with a decline of 20%, the market’s worst quarter since the 2008 financial crisis. NFL owners voted to expand the number of playoff teams by one in each conference in the 2020 season.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor William Daniels is 94. Actor Richard Chamberlain is 87. Actor Shirley Jones is 87. Musician Herb Alpert is 86. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is 81. Former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., is 81. Actor Christopher Walken is 78. Comedian Gabe Kaplan is 77. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, is 77. Rock musician Mick Ralphs (Bad Company; Mott the Hoople) is 77. Former Vice President Al Gore is 74. Author David Eisenhower is 73. Actor Rhea Perlman is 73. Actor Robbie Coltrane is 71. Actor Ed Marinaro is 71. Rock musician Angus Young (AC/DC) is 66. Actor Marc McClure is 64. Actor William McNamara is 56. Alt-country musician Bob Crawford (The Avett (AY’-veht) Brothers) is 50. Actor Ewan (YOO’-en) McGregor is 50. Actor Erica Tazel is 46. Actor Judi Shekoni is 43. Rapper Tony Yayo is 43. Actor Kate Micucci is 41. Actor Brian Tyree Henry (TV: “Atlanta” Stage: “Book of Mormon”) is 39. Actor Melissa Ordway is 38. Jazz musician Christian Scott is 38. Pop musician Jack Antonoff (fun.) is 37. Actor Jessica Szohr is 36.