This day in history

Today is Tuesday, March 21, the 80th day of 2017. There are 285 days left in the year.

Today’s birthdays: Actress Kathleen Widdoes is 78. Actress Marie-Christine Barrault is 73. Singer Rose Stone is 72. Actor Timothy Dalton is 71. Singer Eddie Money is 68. Comedian Brad Hall is 59. Actor Gary Oldman is 59. Actor Matthew Broderick is 55. Comedian-talk show host Rosie O’Donnell is 55.

In 1685, composer Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany.


In 1804, the French civil code, or the ‘‘Code Napoleon’’ as it was later called, was adopted.

Get Fast Forward in your inbox:
Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

In 1925, Tennessee Governor Austin Peay signed a law prohibiting the teaching of the theory of evolution in public schools. (Tennessee repealed the law in 1967.)

In 1935, Persia changed its name to Iran.

In 1952, the Moondog Coronation Ball, considered the first rock ‘n’ roll concert, took place at Cleveland Arena.

In 1963, the Alcatraz federal prison island in San Francisco Bay was emptied of its last inmates and closed at the order of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.


In 1981, Michael Donald, a black teenager in Mobile, Ala., was abducted, tortured and killed by members of the Ku Klux Klan. (A lawsuit brought by Donald’s mother, Beulah Mae, resulted in a landmark judgment that bankrupted a Klan organization.)

In 1997, President Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin wrapped up their summit in Helsinki, still deadlocked over NATO expansion, but able to agree on slashing nuclear weapons arsenals.

In 2006, the social media website Twitter was established with the sending of the first ‘‘tweet’’ by cofounder Jack Dorsey, who wrote: ‘‘just setting up my twttr.’’

Last year , laying bare a half-century of tensions, President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro prodded each other over human rights and the longstanding US economic embargo during an unprecedented joint news conference in Havana.