Today in History

Today is Friday, March 9, the 68th day of 2018. There are 297 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 9, 1862, during the Civil War, the ironclads USS Monitor and CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimac) clashed for five hours to a draw at Hampton Roads, Virginia.

On this date:

In 1661, Cardinal Jules Mazarin, the chief minister of France, died, leaving King Louis XIV in full control.

In 1796, the future emperor of the French, Napoleon Bonaparte, married Josephine de Beauharnais (boh-ahr-NAY’). (The couple later divorced.)

In 1841, the U.S. Supreme Court, in United States v. The Amistad, ruled 7-1 in favor of a group of illegally enslaved Africans who were captured off the U.S. coast after seizing control of a Spanish schooner, La Amistad; the justices ruled that the Africans should be set free.

In 1916, more than 400 Mexican raiders led by Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, New Mexico, killing 18 Americans. During the First World War, Germany declared war on Portugal.

In 1918, writer Mickey Spillane, famous for his pulp detective novels, was born Frank Morrison Spillane in Brooklyn, New York.

In 1933, Congress, called into special session by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, began its “hundred days” of enacting New Deal legislation.

In 1945, during World War II, U.S. B-29 bombers began launching incendiary bomb attacks against Tokyo, resulting in an estimated 100,000 deaths.

In 1954, CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow critically reviewed Wisconsin Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy’s anti-communism campaign on “See It Now.”

In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court, in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, raised the standard for public officials to prove they’d been libeled in their official capacity by news organizations.

In 1977, about a dozen armed Hanafi Muslims invaded three buildings in Washington, D.C., killing one person and taking more than 130 hostages. (The siege ended two days later.)

In 1983, Margaret Heckler was sworn in as secretary of Health and Human Services, the same day Anne M. Burford resigned as head of the embattled Environmental Protection Agency.

In 1997, gangsta rapper The Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace) was killed in a still-unsolved drive-by shooting in Los Angeles; he was 24.

Ten years ago: Highway and utility crews worked overtime to recover from a huge storm that buried Ohio and other parts of the Midwest in snow and tore down power lines elsewhere. Spain’s Socialist prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, won re-election as voters dismissed worries about a slumping economy, immigration and resurgent Basque militants to hand him a second term.

Five years ago: During U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s first trip to Afghanistan as defense chief, two suicide bombings, one outside the Afghan Defense Ministry and the other near a police checkpoint in eastern Khost province, killed at least 19 people; a Taliban spokesman said the blast outside the defense ministry was a message to the visiting Pentagon chief. Egyptian soccer fans rampaged through the heart of Cairo, furious about the acquittal of seven police officers while death sentences against 21 alleged rioters were confirmed in a trial over a stadium melee that had left 74 people dead.

One year ago: Fox News Channel’s parent company announced it had settled a sexual assault complaint made by Tamara Holder, a former network contributor; The New York Times said the company had fired an executive, Francisco Cortes, and paid more than $2.5 million. Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney urged Iraq and the world’s nations not to let the Islamic State extremist group “get away with genocide,” telling a U.N. meeting that what was “shocking” was not just the group’s brutality but the “passive” response by the world’s nations.

Today’s Birthdays: Former Sen. James L. Buckley, Conservative-N.Y., is 95. Singer Lloyd Price is 85. Actress Joyce Van Patten is 84. Country singer Mickey Gilley is 82. Actress Trish Van Devere is 77. Singer-musician John Cale (The Velvet Underground) is 76. Singer Mark Lindsay (Paul Revere and the Raiders) is 76. Former ABC anchorman Charles Gibson is 75. Rock musician Robin Trower is 73. Singer Jeffrey Osborne is 70. Country musician Jimmie Fadden (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) is 70. Actress Jaime Lyn Bauer is 69. Magazine editor Michael Kinsley is 67. TV newscaster Faith Daniels is 61. Actress Linda Fiorentino is 60. Actor Tom Amandes is 59. Actor-director Lonny Price is 59. Country musician Rusty Hendrix (Confederate Railroad) is 58. Actress Juliette Binoche is 54. Rock musician Robert Sledge (Ben Folds Five) is 50. Rock musician Shannon Leto (30 Seconds to Mars) is 48. Rapper C-Murder (AKA C-Miller) is 47. Actor Emmanuel Lewis is 47. Actress Jean Louisa Kelly is 46. Actor Kerr Smith is 46. Actor Oscar Isaac is 39. Comedian Jordan Klepper (TV: “The Daily Show”) is 39. Rapper Chingy is 38. Actor Matthew Gray Gubler is 38. Rock musician Chad Gilbert (New Found Glory) is 37. Roots rock musician Ben Tanner (Alabama Shakes) is 35. Actress Brittany Snow is 32. Rapper Bow Wow is 31. Rapper YG is 28. Actor Luis Armand Garcia is 26. Actress Cierra Ramirez is 23.