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• On March 7, 161 A.D., Marcus Aurelius became emperor of Rome at the age of 39, after the death of his predecessor, Antoninus Pius, and after patiently waiting more than 20 years to assume that role. He was extremely popular, and his reign would later be recalled as a “golden age.”
• On March 9, 1562, kissing in public was banned in Naples, Italy, and actually punishable by death, but not for reasons of morality. Rather, it was part of an effort to halt the spread of a plague throughout Europe. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the legislation failed to achieve its goal.
• On March 5, 1774, John Hancock delivered the fourth annual Massacre Day speech, commemorating the Boston Massacre in which British soldiers killed five men in a crowd on King Street. Hancock’s oration and denunciation of the presence of British troops in Boston increased his standing as a leading patriot.
• On March 1, 1869, U.S. postage stamps featuring scenes were issued for the first time. The pictorials included a post horse and rider, a locomotive, a shield, an eagle and a ship, and the Adriatic Sea. Prior to that time, the stamps had only depicted portraits of dead statesmen.
• On March 8, 1941, Hugh Mulcahy, a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, gained national attention when he became the first major league baseball player to be drafted into the Army. He continued to pitch during his service, which lasted for four years, before he returned to his old team.
• On March 4, 1960, actress-comedienne Lucille Ball filed for divorce from Cuban-American singer and bandleader Desi Arnaz, citing his drinking and infidelity, after 14 years of marriage. The couple most memorably earned a place in American hearts as Ricky and Lucy Ricardo on their 1950s TV sitcom “I Love Lucy.”
• On March 2, 1962, Philadelphia Warriors center Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points, the most ever by an NBA player in a single game, in a match with the New York Knicks in Hershey, Pennsylvania, with a final winning score for the Warriors of 169-147. Six decades later, Chamberlain’s record still remains unbroken.
• On March 6, 1986, American painter Georgia O’Keeffe, whose work included large-format paintings of natural forms, especially flowers and bones, died at age 98. She had continued painting, with the help of assistants, into her last years, even though nearly blind from macular degeneration.
• On March 10, 1988, Prince Charles narrowly escaped death from an avalanche while skiing at a Swiss resort. Sadly, though he managed to help dig out the body of his friend Major Hugh Lindsay, a former aid to the Queen, Lindsay was declared dead on arrival at a local hospital. Diana, Princess of Wales, and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, had accompanied Prince Charles on the trip but were not skiing when the avalanche occurred.
• On March 3, 1991, motorist Rodney King’s severe beating at the hands of Los Angeles police officers was captured on an amateur video taken by bystander George Holliday from a nearby balcony, which later led to riots when the officers were acquitted. King had been stopped and arrested for driving while intoxicated on the interstate.
• On March 10, 2015, a copyright infringement suit filed against Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke led to a record payout of $7.3 million to the family of Marvin Gaye. Williams and Thicke had copied from Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up.”
• On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared that the COVID-19 outbreak was a pandemic, citing more than 118,000 cases of the coronavirus illness in over 110 countries and territories around the world.
© 2023 King Features Synd., Inc.
Social Security Celebrates