Today is Friday, March 20, the 80th day of 2020. There are 286 days left in the year.
On March 20, 1854, the Republican Party of the United States was founded by slavery opponents at a schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin.
On this date:
In 1413, England’s King Henry IV died; he was succeeded by Henry V.
In 1760, a 10-hour fire erupted in Boston, destroying 349 buildings and burning 10 ships, but claiming no lives.
In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte returned to Paris after escaping his exile on Elba, beginning his “Hundred Days” rule.
In 1899, Martha M. Place of Brooklyn, New York, became the first woman to be executed in the electric chair as she was put to death at Sing Sing for the murder of her stepdaughter.
In 1933, the state of Florida electrocuted Giuseppe Zangara for shooting to death Chicago Mayor Anton J. Cermak at a Miami event attended by President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, the presumed target, the previous February.
In 1942, U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur, having evacuated the Philippines at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, told reporters in Terowie, Australia: “I came out of Bataan, and I shall return.”
In 1952, the U.S. Senate ratified, 66-10, a Security Treaty with Japan.
In 1976, kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was convicted of armed robbery for her part in a San Francisco bank holdup carried out by the Symbionese Liberation Army. (Hearst was sentenced to seven years in prison; she was released after serving 22 months, and was pardoned in 2001 by President Bill Clinton.)
In 1977, voters in Paris chose former French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac to be the French capital’s first mayor in more than a century.
In 1995, in Tokyo, 12 people were killed, more than 5,500 others sickened when packages containing the deadly chemical sarin were leaked on five separate subway trains by Aum Shinrikyo (ohm shin-ree-kyoh) cult members.
In 1996, a jury in Los Angeles convicted Erik and Lyle Menendez of first-degree murder in the shotgun slayings of their wealthy parents. (They were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.)
In 2004, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide rallied against the U.S.-led war in Iraq on the first anniversary of the start of the conflict. The U.S. military charged six soldiers with abusing inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison.
Ten years ago: Pope Benedict XVI sent an unprecedented letter to Ireland apologizing for chronic child abuse within the Roman Catholic Church, but failed to calm anger of many victims. Thousands of protesters — many directing their anger squarely at President Barack Obama — marched through the nation’s capital to urge immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. Former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall died in Santa Fe, New Mexico, at 90. Lady Bird Johnson’s former press secretary, Liz Carpenter, died in Austin, Texas, at 89.
Five years ago: A jury in Gadsden, Alabama, convicted 49-year-old Joyce Hardin Garrard of capital murder for running to death her 9-year-old granddaughter, Savannah Hardin. (Garrard was sentenced to life in prison without parole; she died in February 2016.) Suicide bombers attacked a pair of mosques in the capital of Yemen, unleashing blasts that killed 137 people. Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, 84, died in Canberra. Actor Gregory Walcott (“Plan 9 from Outer Space”) died in Los Angeles at age 87.
One year ago: Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels announced agreement on a $426.5 million, 12-year contract, a record deal that would tie baseball’s top player to the Angels for what would likely be the rest of his career. As Republican lawmakers denounced his comments, President Donald Trump aimed new invective at the late Sen. John McCain, claiming credit for McCain’s moving Washington funeral and complaining that he was never properly thanked. A U.N. court upheld the genocide and war crimes convictions of ex-Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic and sentenced him to life behind bars.
Today’s birthdays: Singer Dame Vera Lynn is 103. Producer-director-comedian Carl Reiner is 98. Actor Hal Linden is 89. Former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney is 81. Country singer Don Edwards is 81. Basketball Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley is 75. Country singer-musician Ranger Doug (Riders in the Sky) is 74. Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Orr is 72. Blues singer-musician Marcia Ball is 71. Actor William Hurt is 70. Rock musician Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) is 70. Rock musician Jimmie Vaughan is 69. Country musician Jim Seales (formerly w/Shenandoah) is 66. Actress Amy Aquino is 63. Movie director Spike Lee is 63. Actress Theresa Russell is 63. Actress Vanessa Bell Calloway is 63. Actress Holly Hunter is 62. Rock musician Slim Jim Phantom (The Stray Cats) is 59. Actress-model-designer Kathy Ireland is 57. Actor David Thewlis is 57. Rock musician Adrian Oxaal (James) is 55. Actress Jessica Lundy is 54. Actress Liza Snyder is 52. Actor Michael Rapaport is 50. Actor Alexander Chaplin is 49. Actor Cedric Yarbrough is 47. Actress Paula Garces is 46. Actor Michael Genadry is 42. Actress Bianca Lawson is 41. Comedian-actor Mikey Day is 40. Actor Nick Blood (TV: “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) is 38. Rock musician Nick Wheeler (The All-American Rejects) is 38. Actor Michael Cassidy is 37. Actress-singer Christy Carlson Romano is 36. Actress Ruby Rose is 34. Actress Barrett Doss is 31.
Thought for today: “Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, American writer and poet (1803-1882)