This Day in History

Posted: Friday, March 09, 2007

In Alaska

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• In 1911, a fire destroyed a dozen buildings in the business district of Douglas.

• In 1969, the University of Alaska received a $10,000 grant to collect and analyze Indian, Eskimo and Aleut languages.

• In 1975, work began on the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.

In the nation

• In 1862, during the Civil War, the ironclads Monitor and Virginia (formerly Merrimac) clashed for five hours to a draw at Hampton Roads, Va.

• In 1907, Indiana's General Assembly passed America's first involuntary sterilization law, one that was aimed at "confirmed criminals, idiots, imbeciles, and rapists" in state custody. (More than 30 states ended up passing compulsory sterilization laws that were eventually overturned or repealed.)

• In 1916, Mexican raiders led by Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, N.M., killing 18 Americans.

• In 1933, Congress, called into special session by President Roosevelt, began its 100 days of enacting New Deal legislation.

• In 1954, CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow critically reviewed Wisconsin Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy's anti-Communism campaign on an episode of "See It Now."

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

• In 1987, Chrysler Corp. announced it had agreed to buy the financially ailing American Motors Corp.

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

• In 2002, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, the 1960s black power radical formerly known as H. Rap Brown, was convicted of murder in the shooting death of a sheriff's deputy in Atlanta. (Al-Amin was sentenced to life without parole.) Melissa Gilbert was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild, defeating challenger Valerie Harper.

• In 2006, bowing to ferocious opposition in Congress, a Dubai-owned company relinquished its quest to take over operations at U.S. ports.

In the world

• In 1796, the future emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte, married Josephine de Beauharnais. (The couple divorced in 1809.)

• In 1932, Eamon de Valera was elected the head of government of the Irish Free State.

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

• In 2002, the space shuttle Columbia's astronauts released the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit after five days of repairs.

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