This Day in History

Posted: Friday, February 21, 2003

In Alaska

• In 1924, Carl Ben Eielson flew the first official airmail in Alaska from Fairbanks to McGrath.

• In 1987, the University of Alaska Board of Regents approved plans to merge Alaska community colleges and universities.

In the nation

• In 1878, the first telephone directory was issued, by the District Telephone Company of New Haven, Conn.

• In 1885, the Washington Monument was dedicated.

• In 1925, The New Yorker magazine made its debut.

• In 1947, Edwin H. Land publicly demonstrated his Polaroid Land camera, which could produce a black-and-white photograph in 60 seconds.

• In 1965, former Black Muslim leader Malcolm X, 39, was shot to death in New York by assassins identified as Black Muslims.

• In 1986, Larry Wu-tai Chin, the first American found guilty of spying for China, killed himself in his Virginia jail cell.

• In 2000, consumer advocate Ralph Nader announced his entry into the presidential race, bidding for the nomination of the Green Party.

• In 2002, In Salt Lake City, U.S. figure skater Sarah Hughes jumped from fourth to first to win the gold after a near-flawless performance, leaving teammate Michelle Kwan to settle for a bronze.

In the world

• In 1916, the World War I Battle of Verdun began in France.

• In 1972, President Nixon began his historic visit to China as he and his wife, Pat, arrived in Shanghai.

• In 1973, Israeli fighter planes shot down a Libyan Airlines jet over the Sinai Desert, killing more than 100 people.

• In 1993, four days after suspending Bosnian relief operations because of interference from Serbs, Muslims and Croats, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata ordered full resumption of the aid effort.

• In 1995, Chicago stockbroker Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon, landing in Leader, Saskatchewan, Canada.

• In 1998, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan began formal talks with Iraqi officials in the standoff over weapons inspections.

• In 2002, the State Department declared that Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was dead, a month after he'd been abducted by Islamic extremists in Pakistan.

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