Today in History – February 21, 2018

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Today is Wednesday, Feb. 21, the 52nd day of 2018. There are 313 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 21, 1965, black Muslim leader and civil rights activist Malcolm X, 39, was shot to death inside Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom in New York by assassins identified as members of the Nation of Islam. (Three men were convicted of murder and imprisoned; all were eventually paroled.)

On this date:

In 1437, James I, King of Scots, 42, was assassinated in Perth by a group of conspirators led by Walter, Earl of Atholl; his 6-year-old son succeeded him as James II.

In 1513, Pope Julius II, who commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, died nearly four months after the project was completed.

In 1613, Mikhail Romanov, 16, was unanimously chosen by Russia’s national assembly to be czar, beginning a dynasty that would last three centuries.

In 1885, the Washington Monument was dedicated.

In 1916, the World War I Battle of Verdun began in France as German forces attacked; the French were able to prevail after 10 months of fighting.

In 1945, during the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima, the escort carrier USS Bismarck Sea was sunk by kamikazes with the loss of 318 men.

In 1947, inventor Edwin H. Land publicly demonstrated his Polaroid Land camera, which used self-developing film to produce a black & white photograph in 60 seconds.

In 1958, the USS Gudgeon (SS-567) became the first American submarine to complete a round-the-world cruise, eight months after departing from Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon began his historic visit to China as he and his wife, Pat, arrived in Beijing.

In 1975, former Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aides H.R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman were sentenced to 2 1/2 to 8 years in prison for their roles in the Watergate cover-up (each ended up serving a year and a-half).

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

In 1992, Kristi Yamaguchi (yah-mah-GOO’-chee) of the United States won the gold medal in ladies’ figure skating at the Albertville Olympics; Midori Ito (mee-doh-ree ee-toh) of Japan won the silver, Nancy Kerrigan of the U.S., the bronze.

Ten years ago: Serb rioters broke into the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade and set fire to an office during protests against Western support for an independent Kosovo. President George W. Bush concluded his six-day African tour in Liberia, where he offered help to lift the country from years of ruinous fighting. A Venezuelan plane crashed in the Andes, killing all 46 on board. Author Robin Moore, who wrote “The French Connection” and “The Green Berets,” died in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, at age 82. Former Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham (MEE’-kuhm), who was removed in a 1988 impeachment trial, died in Phoenix at age 83.

Five years ago: Drew Peterson, the Chicago-area police officer who gained notoriety after his much-younger fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, vanished in 2007, was sentenced to 38 years in prison for murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

One year ago: President Donald Trump condemned recent threats against Jewish community centers in the U.S. as “painful reminders” of lingering prejudice and evil; the president also denounced “bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms” during his first visit to the new Smithsonian black history museum. Conservative writer Milo Yiannopoulos (MY’-loh yuh-NAH’-poh-lihs) resigned as an editor for Breitbart News, apologizing for comments he’d made in video clips in which he appeared to defend sexual relationships between men and boys as young as 13.

Today’s Birthdays: Former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (moo-GAH’-bay) is 94. Fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy is 91. Movie director Bob Rafelson is 85. Actor Gary Lockwood is 81. Actor-director Richard Beymer is 79. Actor Peter McEnery is 78. U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., is 78. Film/music company executive David Geffen is 75. Actress Tyne Daly is 72. Actor Anthony Daniels is 72. Tricia Nixon Cox is 72. Former Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, is 71. Rock musician Jerry Harrison (The Heads) is 69. Actress Christine Ebersole is 65. Actor William Petersen is 65. Actor Kelsey Grammer is 63. Country singer Mary Chapin Carpenter is 60. Actor Kim Coates is 60. Actor Jack Coleman is 60. Actor Christopher Atkins is 57. Rock singer Ranking Roger is 57. Actor William Baldwin is 55. Rock musician Michael Ward is 51. Actress Aunjanue Ellis is 49. Blues musician Corey Harris is 49. Country singer Eric Heatherly is 48. Rock musician Eric Wilson is 48. Rock musician Tad Kinchla (Blues Traveler) is 45. Singer Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops) is 41. Actor Tituss Burgess is 39. Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt is 39. Comedian-actor Jordan Peele is 39. Actor Brendan Sexton III is 38. Singer Charlotte Church is 32. Actress Ashley Greene is 31. Actress Ellen Page is 31. Actor Corbin Bleu is 29. Actress Hayley Orrantia is 24. Actress Sophie Turner is 22.

Thought for Today: “In scandal, as in robbery, the receiver is always as bad as the thief.” — Lord Chesterfield, English author and statesman (1694-1773).