This day in history
Today is Monday, March 18, the 77th day of 2019. There are 288 days left in the year.
Birthdays: Composer John Kander is 92. Country singer Charley Pride is 85. Nobel peace laureate and former South African president F.W. de Klerk is 83. Actor Kevin Dobson is 76. Actor Brad Dourif is 69. Jazz musician Bill Frisell is 68. Singer Irene Cara is 60. Filmmaker Luc Besson is 60. Singer-songwriter James McMurtry is 57. Actress Vanessa L. Williams is 56. Olympic gold medal speedskater Bonnie Blair is 55. Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell is 53. Actress-talk show host Queen Latifah is 49. Former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus is 47. Actor-comedian Dane Cook is 47. Olympic gold medal figure skater Alexei Yagudin is 39.
In 1766, Britain repealed the Stamp Act of 1765.
In 1925, the Tri-State Tornado struck southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois, and southwestern Indiana, resulting in some 700 deaths.
In 1937, in America’s worst school disaster, nearly 300 people, most of them children, were killed in a natural gas explosion at the New London Consolidated School in Rusk County, Texas.
In 1940, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met at the Brenner Pass, where the Italian dictator agreed to join Germany’s war against France and Britain.
In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order authorizing the War Relocation Authority, which was put in charge of interning Japanese-Americans, with Milton S. Eisenhower (the younger brother of Dwight D. Eisenhower) as its director.
In 1959, President Eisenhower signed the Hawaii statehood bill. (Hawaii became the 50th state on Aug. 21, 1959.)
In 1963, the Supreme Court, in Gideon v. Wainwright, ruled unanimously that state courts were required to provide legal counsel to criminal defendants who could not afford to hire an attorney.
In 1965, the first spacewalk took place as Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov went outside his Voskhod 2 capsule, secured by a tether.
In 2005, doctors in Florida, acting on orders of a state judge, removed Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube. (Despite the efforts of congressional Republicans to intervene and repeated court appeals by Schiavo’s parents, the brain-damaged woman died on March 31, 2005, at age 41.)
In 2014, with a sweep of his pen, President Vladimir Putin added Crimea to the map of Russia, provoking denunciations from the Western leaders who called Putin a threat to the world.
In 2017, Chuck Berry, rock ‘n’ roll’s founding guitar hero and storyteller who defined the music’s joy and rebellion in such classics as ‘‘Johnny B. Goode’’ and ‘‘Roll Over Beethoven,’’ died at his home west of St. Louis at age 90.
Last year, a self-driving Uber SUV struck and killed a pedestrian in suburban Phoenix in the first death involving a fully autonomous test vehicle; Uber suspended its autonomous vehicle testing program in Arizona, California, Pittsburgh and Toronto after the crash.