on this day 3/21 1985 – Police in Langa, South Africa, opened fire on blacks marching to mark the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville shootings.

1349 – 3,000 Jews were killed in Black Death riots in Efurt Germany.

1556 – Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was burned at the stake at Oxford after retracting the last of seven recantations that same day.

1788 – Almost the entire city of New Orleans, LA, was destroyed by fire. 856 buildings were destroyed.

1790 – Thomas Jefferson reported to U.S. President George Washington as the new secretary of state.

1804 – The French civil code, the Code Napoleon, was adopted.

1824 – A fire at a Cairo ammunitions dump killed 4,000 horses.

1826 – The Rensselaer School in Troy, NY, was incorporated. The school became known as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and was the first engineering college in the U.S.

1835 – Charles Darwin & Mariano Gonzales met at Portillo Pass.

1851 – Emperor Tu Duc ordered that Christian priests be put to death.

1851 – Yosemite Valley was discovered in California.

1857 – An earthquake hit Tokyo killing about 107,000.

1858 – British forces in India lift the siege of Lucknow, ending the Indian Mutiny.

1859 – In Philadelphia, the first Zoological Society was incorporated.

1868 – The Sorosos club for professional women was formed in New York City by Jennie June. It was the first of its kind.

1871 – Journalist Henry M Stanley began his famous expedition to Africa.

1902 – Romain Roland’s play “The 4th of July” premiered in Paris.

1902 – In New York, three Park Avenue mansions were destroyed when a subway tunnel roof caved in.

1904 – The British Parliament vetoed a proposal to send Chinese workers to Transvaal.

1905 – Sterilization legislation was passed in the State of Pennsylvania. The governor vetoed the measure.

1906 – Ohio passed a law that prohibited hazing by fraternities after two fatalities.

1907 – The U.S. Marines landed in Honduras to protect American interests in the war with Nicaragua.

1907 – The first Parliament of Transvaal met in Pretoria.

1908 – A passenger was carried in a bi-plane for the first time by Henri Farman of France.

1909 – Russia withdrew its support for Serbia and recognized the Austrian annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Serbia accepted Austrian control over Bosnia-Herzegovina on March 31, 1909.

1910 – The U.S. Senate granted ex-President Teddy Roosevelt a yearly pension of $10,000.

1918 – During World War I, the Germans launched the Somme Offensive.

1925 – The state of Tennessee enacted the Butler Act. It was a law that made it a crime for a teacher in any state-supported public school to teach any theory that was in contradiction to the Bible’s account of man’s creation.

1928 – U.S. President Calvin Coolidge gave the Congressional Medal of Honor to Charles Lindbergh for his first trans-Atlantic flight.

1934 – A fire destroyed Hakodate, Japan, killing about 1,500.

1935 – Incubator ambulance service began in Chicago, IL.

1941 – The last Italian post in East Libya, North Africa, fell to the British.

1945 – During World War II, Allied bombers began four days of raids over Germany.

1946 – The Los Angeles Rams signed Kenny Washington. Washington was the first black player to join a National Football League team since 1933.

1946 – The United Nations set up a temporary headquarters at Hunter College in New York City.

1953 – The Boston Celtics beat Syracuse Nationals (111-105) in four overtimes to eliminate them from the Eastern Division Semifinals. A total of seven players (both teams combined) fouled out of the game.

1955 – NBC-TV presented the first “Colgate Comedy Hour”.

1957 – Shirley Booth made her TV acting debut in “The Hostess with the Mostest” on CBS.

1960 – About 70 people were killed in Sharpeville, South Africa, when police fired upon demonstrators.

1963 – Alcatraz Island, the federal penitentiary in San Francisco Bay, CA, closed.

1965 – The U.S. launched Ranger 9. It was the last in a series of unmanned lunar explorations.

1965 – More than 3,000 civil rights demonstrators led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. began a march from Selma to Montgomery, AL.

1966 – In New York, demolition work began to clear thirteen square blocks for the construction of the original World Trade Center.

1971 – Two U.S. platoons in Vietnam refused their orders to advance.

1972 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could not require one year of residency for voting eligibility.

1974 – An attempt was made to kidnap Princess Anne in London’s Pall Mall.

1980 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced to the U.S. Olympic Team that they would not participate in the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow as a boycott against Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

1980 – On the TV show “Dallas”, J.R. Ewing was shot.

1982 – The movie “Annie” premiered.

1982 – The United States, U.K. and other Western countries condemned the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

1984 – A Soviet submarine crashed into the USS Kitty Hawk off the coast of Japan.

1985 – Larry Flynt offered to sell his pornography empire for $26 million or “Hustler” magazine alone for $18 million.

1985 – Police in Langa, South Africa, opened fire on blacks marching to mark the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville shootings. At least 21 demonstrators were killed.

1989 – Randall Dale Adams was released from a Texas prison after his conviction was overturned. The documentary “The Thin Blue Line” had challenged evidence of Adams’ conviction for killing a police officer.

1990 – “Normal Life” with Moon Unit & Dweezil Zappa premiered on CBS-TV.

1990 – Australian businessman Alan Bond sold Van Gogh’s “Irises” to the Gerry Museum. Bond had purchased the painting for $53.9 million in 1987.

1990 – “Sydney” starring Valerie Bertinelli premiered on CBS-TV.

1990 – Namibia became independent of South Africa.

1991 – 27 people were lost at sea when two U.S. Navy anti-submarine planes collided.

1991 – The U.N. Security Council lifted the food embargo against Iraq.

1994 – Dudley Moore was arrested for hitting his girlfriend.

1994 – Steven Spielberg won his first Oscars. They were for best picture and best director for “Schindler’s List.”

1994 – Wayne Gretzky tied Gordie Howe‘s NHL record of 801 goals.

1994 – Bill Gates of Microsoft and Craig McCaw of McCaw Cellular Communications announced a $9 billion plan that would send 840 satellites into orbit to relay information around the globe.

1995 – New Jersey officially dedicated the Howard Stern Rest Area along Route 295.

1995 – Tokyo police raided the headquarters of Aum Shinrikyo in search of evidence to link the cult to the Sarin gas released on five Tokyo subway trains.

1999 – Israel’s Supreme Court rejected the final effort to have American Samuel Sheinbein returned to the U.S. to face murder charges for killing Alfred Tello, Jr. Under a plea bargain Sheinbein was sentenced to 24 years in prison.

2000 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had overstepped its regulatory authority when it attempted to restrict the marketing of cigarettes to youngsters.

2001 – Nintendo released Game Boy Advance.

2002 – In Pakistan, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh was charged with murder for his role in the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Three other Islamic militants that were in custody were also charged along with seven more accomplices that were still at large.

2002 – In Paris, an 1825 print by French inventor Joseph Nicephore Niepce was sold for $443,220. The print, of a man leading a horse, was the earliest recorded image taken by photographic means.

2003 – It was reported that the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 235.27 (2.8%) at 8,521.97. It was the strongest weekly gain in more than 20 years.

2016 – It was reported that the Kepler space telescope had captured the visible light of a “shock breakout” when the star KSN 2011a exploded. It was the first time an exploding star’s brilliant flash shockwave had been captured.

1965 – More than 3,000 civil rights demonstrators led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. began a march from Selma to Montgomery, AL.

Selma March
Selma MarchSelma March, Alabama, March 1965.
Peter Pettus/Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (LC-DIG-ppmsca-08102)

from SelmaAlabama, to the state’s capital, Montgomery, that occurred March 21–25, 1965. Led by Martin Luther King, Jr., the march was the culminating event of several tumultuous weeks during which demonstrators twice attempted to march but were stopped, once violently, by local police. As many as 25,000 people participated in the roughly 50-mile (80-km) march. Together, these events became a landmark in the American civil rights movement and directly led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

for the complete post go to: britannica.com

The African Slave Trade ~ 1808 – The U.S. prohibited import of slaves from Africa … march 1794

A selection of cases from the Records of the U.S. District Courts in the states of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina

The United States government has had a complicated, and often troubling, relationship with the institution of slavery. Though allowed to survive and even thrive long after the nation was established, federal laws were enacted which prevented the importation of new slaves from Africa and inflicted stiff penalties on those who attempted to do so. Many federal statutes regarding slavery focused mainly on the issue of new slaves brought into the country.

In March of 1794, Congress passed an act prohibiting the transport of slaves from the U.S. to any foreign country as well as making it illegal for American citizens to outfit a ship for purposes of importing slaves. The act did not, however, affect foreign nations and their importation of slaves. In addition, the penalties for Americans convicted under this law were fines and did not include incarceration.

An act passed in 1800 built on the 1794 law by increasing the fines for importation of slaves, as well as making it illegal for American citizens to engage in the slave trade between any nations, regardless if the ship originated in the U.S. or was owned by a U.S. citizen. It also gave U.S. authorities the right to seize slave ships which were caught transporting slaves and confiscate their cargo. Laws like these were not unheard of, even in the Colonial period. The Continental Congress had, in fact, passed a resolution in 1774 to ban slave importation and prohibit Americans from engaging in the trade. It was not until after the turn of the century, however, that Congress began to increase the penalties for violating these laws.

An 1803 act established a penalty of one thousand dollars for each person brought to the U.S. on a ship with the intention of selling them as a slave. This act also placed responsibility on the captain of any vessel transporting slaves. It charged customs and revenue officials in the government with enforcing this law, an indirect warning to those who might be in the best position for aiding illegal slave traders.

The Constitution itself established a way which Congress could ban the importation of slaves, but not until 1808. Congress did exercise this power at its earliest opportunity and as of January 1, 1808 the importation of slaves into the U.S. or its territories was banned. Penalties now included a fine, ranging from five to twenty-thousand dollars, forfeiture of ship and equipment, and imprisonment from five to ten years. The act specifically excluded transportation of slaves within the U.S., since the interstate sale of slaves remained legal.

Over a decade later, Congress would pass legislation in 1819 which considered intercontinental slave trading as piracy, punishable by death. Previously, U.S. ships only held a mandate to patrol the eastern seaboard of North America. Now they would extend their activities as far as the West African coast in order to enforce the law. This enforcement was given an additional boost by the Webster-Asburton Treaty signed with Great Britain in 1842. The treaty established a permanent fleet on the West African coast in the hopes of completely suppressing slave trafficking. Ironically this coincides with the period in which the illegal slave trade reached its height, between 1840 and 1860.

In 1861 President Lincoln signed an executive order turning over all responsibility for enforcing slave trade laws to the Secretary of the Interior. By stringently enforcing existing laws, Lincoln’s order spelled the end for the slave trade. The Secretary’s office believed that by 1865 it had effectively ended any attempt to outfit a slave ship in any U.S. port. The Emancipation Proclamation of 1862 and the 13th amendment passed in 1865 effectively ended any reason for transporting slaves to the U.S. No longer could any ship use the defense of originating in the U.S. while bound for a U.S. port.
It is estimated that the total number of slaves brought into the U.S. illegally during the first half the 19th century is approximately 1.2 million.

Given this figure, it is hard to determine the effect of laws banning importation after 1808. As laws were strengthened and enforcement increased, so did attempts to subvert them.

Source: National Archives and Records Administration Southeast Region, Atlanta

image: from the internet