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This Day in U.S. History: March 21


1788 – A fire in New Orleans leaves most of the town in ruins.

1861 – Alexander Stephens gives the Cornerstone Speech.

1913 – Over 360 are killed and 20,000 homes destroyed in the Great Dayton Flood in Dayton, Ohio.

1925 – The Butler Act prohibits the teaching of human evolution in Tennessee.

1928 – Charles Lindbergh is presented with the Medal of Honor for the first solo trans-Atlantic flight.

1946 – The Los Angeles Rams sign Kenny Washington, making him the first African American player in the American football since 1933.

1952 – Alan Freed presents the Moondog Coronation Ball, the first rock and roll concert, in Cleveland, Ohio.

1963 – Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, on an island in San Francisco Bay, closes.

1965 – Ranger program: NASA launches Ranger 9, the last in a series of unmanned lunar space probes.

1965 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. leads 3,200 people on the start of the third and finally successful civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

1967 – Charles Manson is released from Terminal Island. Telling the authorities that prison had become his home, he requested permission to stay. Upon his release, he relocates to San Francisco where he spends the Summer of Love.

1970 – The first Earth Day proclamation is issued by Mayor of San Francisco Joseph Alioto.

1980 – US President Jimmy Carter announces a United States boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

1980 – Dallas airs its "A House Divided" episode, which leads to eight months of international speculation regarding Who shot J.R.?

1986 – Debi Thomas became the first African American to win the World Figure Skating Championships

1989 – Sports Illustrated reports allegations tying baseball player Pete Rose to baseball gambling.

2006 – The social media site Twitter is founded.


1867 – Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr., American director and producer (d. 1932)

1904 – Forrest Mars, Sr., American candy maker, created M&M's and Mars bar (d. 1999)

1906 – John D. Rockefeller III, American philanthropist (d. 1978)

1910 – Julio Gallo, American businessman, co-founded E & J Gallo Winery (d. 1993)


1884 – Ezra Abbot, American scholar and academic (b. 1819)

1891 – Joseph E. Johnston, American general (b. 1807)

1980 – Peter Stoner, American mathematician and astronomer (b. 1888)

1991 – Leo Fender, American businessman, founded Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (b. 1909)

2011 – Pinetop Perkins, American singer and pianist (b. 1913)