1911 - National Squash Tennis Association forms (NYC)
1978 - Flyers' Rick MacLeash scores on 6th penalty shot against Islanders
1996 - Erik and Lyle Menendez found guilty of killing their parents
2001 - Petrobras 36 Oil Platform, the world's largest oil rig, sinks with 400,000 US gallons of fuel and crude oil aboard, after suffering three explosions on March 15
2006 - Over 150 Chadian soldiers are killed in eastern Chad by members of the rebel UFDC. The rebel movement sought to overthrow Chadian president Idriss Deby.
2016 - Barack Obama becomes the first US President to visit Cuba since 1928, arriving for a 2 day tour
1680 - Baron Emanuele d' Astorga, Italian composer (Stabat mater)
1888 - Siegfried von Vegesack, German writer, born in Gut Blumbergshof, Latvia (d. 1974)
1911 - Mieke Verstraete [Maria Augustina De Graef], Belgian-Dutch actress (Pleasantly Settled), born in Antwerp, Belgium (d. 1990)
1916 - Pierre Messmer, PM (France)
1941 - Pat Corrales, American baseball player
1943 - Gerard Malanga, American poet and photographer
1619 - Matthias II, Holy Roman Catholic emperor (1611-19), dies
1646 - Matthew Vossius, historian (Annales Holland Zelandiaeque), dies at 35
1892 - Arthur Goring Thomas, English composer, dies at 41
1940 - Alfred Ploetz, German physician, biologist, and eugenicist (b. 1860)
1968 - Carl T Dreyer, Danish director (Passion of Jeanne d'Arc), dies
2016 - Anker Jørgensen, Danish politician, Prime Minister of Denmark (1972-3, 75-82), dies at 93
On this day in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson notifies Alabamaâs Governor George Wallace that he will use federal authority to call up the Alabama National Guard in order to supervise a planned civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery.
Intimidation and discrimination had earlier prevented Selmaâs black populationâover half the cityâfrom registering and voting. On Sunday, March 7, 1965, a group of 600 demonstrators marched on the capital city of Montgomery to protest this disenfranchisement and the earlier killing of a black man, Jimmie Lee Jackson, by a state trooper.
In brutal scenes that were later broadcast on television, state and local police attacked the marchers with billy clubs and tear gas. TV viewers far and wide were outraged by the images, and a protest march was organized just two days after âBloody Sundayâ by Martin Luther King, Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). King turned the marchers around, however, rather than carry out the march without federal judicial approval.
After an Alabama federal judge ruled on March 18 that a third march could go ahead, President Johnson and his advisers worked quickly to find a way to ensure the safety of King and his demonstrators on their way from Selma to Montgomery. The most powerful obstacle in their way was Governor Wallace, an outspoken segregationist who was reluctant to spend any state funds on protecting the demonstrators. Hours after promising Johnsonâin telephone calls recorded by the White Houseâthat he would call out the Alabama National Guard to maintain order, Wallace went on television and demanded that Johnson send in federal troops instead.
Furious, Johnson told Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach to write a press release stating that because Wallace refused to use the 10,000 available guardsmen to preserve order in his state, Johnson himself was calling the guard up and giving them all necessary support. Several days later, 50,000 marchers followed King some 54 miles, under the watchful eyes of state and federal troops.
Arriving safely in Montgomery on March 25, they watched King deliver his famous âHow Long, Not Longâ speech from the steps of the Capitol building. The clash between Johnson and Wallaceâand Johnsonâs decisive actionâwas an important turning point in the civil rights movement. Within five months, Congress had passed the Voting Rights Act, which Johnson proudly signed into law on August 6, 1965.