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This Day in U.S. History: March 8


1576 – Spanish explorer Diego García de Palacio first sights the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Copán.

1775 – An anonymous writer, thought by some to be Thomas Paine, publishes "African Slavery in America", the first article in the American colonies calling for the emancipation of slaves and the abolition of slavery.

1817 – The New York Stock Exchange is founded.

1862 – American Civil War: The Naval Battle of Hampton Roads begins.

1917 – The United States Senate votes to limit filibusters by adopting the cloture rule.

1924 – A mine disaster kills 172 coal miners near Castle Gate, Utah.

1936 – Daytona Beach and Road Course holds its first oval stock car race.

1942 – World War II: Imperial Japanese Army forces gave ultimatum to Dutch East Indies Governor General Jonkheer Tjarda van Starkenborgh Stachouwer and KNIL Commander in Chief Lieutenant General Hein Ter Poorten, to unconditionally surrender.

1942 – World War II: Imperial Japanese Army forces captured Rangoon, Burma from British.

1949 – Mildred Gillars ("Axis Sally") is condemned to prison for treason.

1957 – The 1957 Georgia Memorial to Congress, which petitions the U.S. Congress to declare the ratification of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution null and void, is adopted by the U.S. state of Georgia.

1965 – Thirty-five hundred United States Marines are the first American land combat forces committed during the Vietnam War.

1971 – The Fight of the Century between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali commences. Frazier wins in 15 rounds via unanimous decision.

1983 – While addressing a convention of Evangelicals, U.S. President Ronald Reagan labels the Soviet Union an "evil empire".


1783 – Hannah Van Buren, American wife of Martin Van Buren (d. 1819)

1841 – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., American colonel, lawyer, and jurist (d. 1935)

1848 – LaMarcus Adna Thompson, American engineer and businessman, developed the roller coaster (d. 1917)

1856 – Colin Campbell Cooper, American painter and academic (d. 1937)

1921 – Alan Hale, Jr., American actor (d. 1990)

1922 – Cyd Charisse, American actress and dancer (d. 2008)

1945 – Micky Dolenz, American singer-songwriter, drummer, and actor (The Monkees)

1959 – Lester Holt, American journalist and actor


1874 – Millard Fillmore, American lawyer and politician, 13th President of the United States (b. 1800)

1887 – Henry Ward Beecher, American minister and activist (b. 1813)

1887 – James Buchanan Eads, American engineer, designed the Eads Bridge (b. 1820)

1889 – John Ericsson, Swedish-American engineer, designed the USS Monitor (b. 1803)

1930 – William Howard Taft, American lawyer, jurist, and politician, 27th President of the United States (b. 1857)

1999 – Joe DiMaggio, American baseball player and coach (b. 1914)