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Almanac

By The Associated Press

Today in History

Today is Thursday, March 19, the 79th day of 2020. There are 287 days left in the year. Spring arrives at 11:50 p.m. EDT, the earliest the vernal equinox has occurred in 124 years.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 19, 1966, the Texas Western Miners defeated the heavily favored Kentucky Wildcats, 72-65, to win the NCAA Championship played in College Park, Maryland; making the contest especially noteworthy was that Texas Western became the first basketball team to start five black players in a national title game as it faced an all-white Kentucky squad.

On this date:

In 1687, French explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, the first European to navigate the length of the Mississippi River, was murdered by mutineers in present-day Texas.

In 1917, a divided U.S. Supreme Court, in Wilson v. New, upheld, 5-4, the eight-hour work day for interstate railroad workers.

In 1931, Nevada Gov. Fred B. Balzar signed a measure legalizing casino gambling.

In 1945, during World War II, 724 people were killed when a Japanese dive bomber attacked the carrier USS Franklin off Japan (the ship was saved). Adolf Hitler ordered the destruction of German facilities that could fall into Allied hands in his so-called “Nero Decree,” which was largely disregarded.

In 1953, the Academy Awards ceremony was televised for the first time; “The Greatest Show on Earth” was named best picture of 1952.

In 1977, the series finale of “Mary Tyler Moore” aired on CBS-TV, ending the situation comedy’s seven-season run.

In 1979, the U.S. House of Representatives began televising its floor proceedings; the live feed was carried by C-SPAN (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network), which was making its debut.

In 1987, televangelist Jim Bakker resigned as chairman of his PTL ministry organization amid a sex and money scandal involving Jessica Hahn, a former church secretary.

In 1993, Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White announced plans to retire. (White’s departure paved the way for Ruth Bader Ginsburg to become the court’s second female justice.)

In 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the start of war against Iraq. (Because of the time difference, it was early March 20 in Iraq.)

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