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This Day in U.S. History: March 23

Events

1775 – American Revolutionary War: Patrick Henry delivers his speech – "Give me liberty, or give me death!" – at St. John's Episcopal Church, Richmond, Virginia.

1806 – After traveling through the Louisiana Purchase and reaching the Pacific Ocean, explorers Lewis and Clark and their "Corps of Discovery" begin their arduous journey home.

1857 – Elisha Otis's first elevator is installed at 488 Broadway New York City.

1862 – The First Battle of Kernstown, Virginia, marks the start of Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign. Though a Confederate defeat, the engagement distracts Federal efforts to capture Richmond.

1868 – The University of California is founded in Oakland, California when the Organic Act is signed into law.

1908 – American diplomat Durham Stevens is attacked by Korean assassins Jeon Myeong-un and Jang In-hwan, leading to his death in a hospital two days later.

1909 – Theodore Roosevelt leaves New York for a post-presidency safari in Africa. The trip is sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society.

1933 – The Reichstag passes the Enabling Act of 1933, making Adolf Hitler dictator of Germany.

1965 – NASA launches Gemini 3, the United States' first two-man space flight (crew: Gus Grissom and John Young).

1977 – The first of The Nixon Interviews (12 will be recorded over four weeks) are videotaped with British journalist David Frost interviewing former United States President Richard Nixon about the Watergate scandal and the Nixon tapes.

1983 – Strategic Defense Initiative: President Ronald Reagan makes his initial proposal to develop technology to intercept enemy missiles.

1994 – A United States Air Force (USAF) F-16 aircraft collides with a USAF C-130 at Pope Air Force Base and then crashes, killing 24 United States Army soldiers on the ground. This later became known as the Green Ramp disaster.

2005 – Texas City Refinery explosion: During a test on a distillation tower liquid waste builds up and flows out of a blowout tower. Waste fumes ignite and explode killing 15 workers.

Births

1699 – John Bartram, American botanist and explorer (d. 1777)

1823 – Schuyler Colfax, American journalist and politician, 17th Vice President of the United States (d. 1885)

1929 – Roger Bannister, English runner, neurologist and academic

1937 – Robert Gallo, American physician and academic

1952 – Kim Stanley Robinson, American author

 

Deaths

1960 – Franklin Pierce Adams, American journalist and author (b. 1881)

1980 – Arthur Melvin Okun, American economist and academic (b. 1928)

2002 – Eileen Farrell, American soprano (b. 1920)

2016 – Joe Garagiola, Sr., American baseball player and sportscaster (b. 1926)

2016 – Ken Howard, American actor (b. 1944)