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• On March 5, 1770, a mob of American colonists gathers at the Customs House in Boston and begins taunting the British soldiers guarding the building. The protesters, who called themselves Patriots, were protesting the occupation of their city by British troops.
• On March 13, 1781, English astronomer William Hershel discovers Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun. It was the first discovery of a new planet in modern times, and the first to be made using a telescope.
• On March 20, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln's sons, Willie and Tad, are diagnosed with the measles. The boys recovered, but in 1862 Willie contracted typhoid fever and died. Tad died at age 18 in 1871. Of Lincoln's four boys, only the first child, Robert, lived to an advanced age; he passed away at age 82 in 1926.
• On March 3, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln signs a bill creating the Freedman's Bureau. The federal agency oversaw the transition of African Americans from slavery to freedom. The bureau was given power to dispense relief in the South, provide medical care and education, and redistribute "abandoned" lands to former slaves.
• On March 10, 1876, the first discernible speech is transmitted over a telephone system when inventor Alexander Graham Bell summons his assistant in another room by saying, "Mr. Watson, come here; I want you."
• On March 2, 1904, Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, the author and illustrator of such beloved children's books as "The Cat in the Hat," is born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Geisel used his middle name (which was also his mother's maiden name) as his pen name.
• On March 18, 1911, Irving Berlin copyrights the biggest pop song of the early 20th century, "Alexander's Ragtime Band." The song was easier to play than Joplin's "The Entertainer," which encouraged sheet music sales. Those topped 1.5 million copies in the first 18 months after publication.
• On March 14, 1914, stock-car racer Lee Arnold Petty is born near Randleman, North Carolina. In 1959, he won the Daytona 500. Lee Petty never lost a race on account of being too kind to his competitors, even if they were family.
• On March 4, 1918, the first cases of the deadly Spanish flu pandemic are reported in soldiers at Fort Riley, Kansas. The virus soon traveled to Europe with U.S. soldiers heading to aid the Allies in France. The flu would eventually kill 20 million to 50 million people around the world.
• On March 7, 1923, The New Republic publishes Robert Frost's poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," which begins with the famous line "Whose woods these are, I think I know."
• On March 16, 1926, Robert Goddard successfully launches the world's first liquid-fueled rocket at Auburn, Massachusetts. The 10-foot-tall rocket traveled for 2.5 seconds at a speed of about 60 mph, reaching an altitude of 41 feet and landing 184 feet away.
• On March 12, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gives his first national radio address broadcast from the White House, in which he explained his recent decision to close the nation's banks.
• On March 19, 1953, for the first time, audiences are able to watch from their living rooms as the movie world's most prestigious honors, the Academy Awards, are given out at the RKO Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, California.
• On March 1, 1966, Venera 3, an unmanned Soviet probe launched from Kazakhstan, collides with Venus, the second planet from the sun. It was the first spacecraft to reach the surface of another planet.
• On March 15, 1968, construction starts on the north tunnel of the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnel on I-70 in Colorado west of Denver. At more than 11,000 feet, the project became the world's highest vehicular tunnel when it was completed in 1979.
• On March 8, 1971, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier meet for the "Fight of the Century" at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The bout marked Ali's return after the boxing commission revoked his license over his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War. Frazier won by a unanimous decision.
• On March 21, 1971, "The Andromeda Strain," the first movie to use computer animation, opens. Based on a Michael Crichton book, the sci-fi thriller featured scientists racing against time and an alien virus.
• On March 9, 1981, a nuclear accident at a Japan Atomic Power Company plant in Tsuruga, Japan, exposes 59 workers to radiation. Sixteen tons of waste spilled into Wakasa Bay, but Japan's Atomic Power Commission made no mention of the accident until more than a month later. By then, radioactive levels of seaweed in the area were found to be 10 times greater than normal.
• On March 11, 1997, Paul McCartney, a former member of Beatles, is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his "services to music." McCartney became Sir Paul in a centuries-old ceremony of pomp and solemnity at Buckingham Palace in central London.
• On March 17, 2000, Julia Roberts becomes the first actress ever to command $20 million per movie when "Erin Brockovich" is released. At the time, $20 million was the standard paycheck for Hollywood's male stars.
• On March 6, 2001, Napster begins complying with a federal court order to block the transfer of copyrighted songs over its peer-to-peer network. Some 60 million users around the world had freely exchanged digital mp3 files using Napster, which folded three months later.
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