Today's History Trivia for February 21
1965 Malcolm X Assassinated As he was preparing to address the Organization of Afro-American Unity, someone in the audience yelled, "Nigger! Get your hand outta my pocket!" As Malcolm X and his bodyguards tried to end the disturbance, a man rushed forward and shot him once in the chest with a sawed-off shotgun and two other men charged firing semi-automatic handguns. Nation of Islam member Talmadge Hayer confessed to being one of the gunmen. Hayer and two others were convicted of the crime, but the other two men maintained their innocence. Two days prior to the assassination, Malcolm X told a reporter that the Nation of Islam was trying to kill him.
1989 Iran-Contra Affair Trials begin.
1975 Watergate Former U.S. attorney general John Mitchell and former White House aids H.R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman are each sentenced to 30 months in prison for their involvement in the Watergate cover-up.
1972 Journey for Peace President Nixon begins an eight-day visit to China. This was the first time a U.S. President visited China.
1853 The minting of three-dollar gold pieces is authorized by congress.
Today's Birthdays for February 21
1961 Christopher Atkins actor. Film: The Blue Lagoon (1980).
1955 Kelsey Grammer American Emmy-winning actor. TV: Cheers (Dr. Frasier Crane), Frasier (title role), and The Simpsons (Sideshow Bob).
1950 Robert "Bobo" Armstrong American cartoonist. Creator of Mickey Rat, and author of The Official Coach Potato Handbook (1983), which popularized the term "couch potato."
1946 Tyne Daly American Tony-Emmy-winning actress. TV: Cagney & Lacey (Lacey).
1934 Rue McClanahan d. 2010 American Emmy-winning actress. TV: Maude (1972-78, Vivian) and The Golden Girls (1985-92, Blanche).
1927 Erma Louise Bombeck d. 1996 American columnist, author. Quote: "Insanity is hereditary. You can catch it from your kids."
1925 Sam Peckinpah d. 1984 American film director. Film: Ride the High Country (1962), The Wild Bunch (1969), Straw Dogs (1971), and The Osterman Weekend (1983).
1907 Wystan Hugh Auden d. 1973 English-born American poet. Quote: "We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don't know."
1875 Jeanne Louise Calment d. 1997 French centenarian, world's longest confirmed human lifespan. She lived for 122 years and 164 days. Source: Guinness Book of World Records
1866 August von Wassermann d. 1925 German bacteriologist. He developed the Wassermann test for syphilis (1906).
Deaths for February 21
1965 Malcolm X b. 1925 (Malcolm Little), American civil rights leader. While in prison he converted to the Muslim Nation of Islam (1946) and preached that all whites were of the devil. He was assassinated by the members of the Nation of Islam after breaking from them in 1964.
1993 Harvey Kurtzman b. 1924 American Hall of Fame cartoonist. Writings: Mad magazine (creator 1952) and Little Annie Fanny (featured in Playboy 1962-88).
1968 Sir Howard Walter Florey b. 1898 Australian-born British physician, won a Nobel prize (1945) for his work with Alexander Fleming in developing penicillin.
1941 Sir Frederick Grant Banting b. 1891 Canadian Nobel-winning scientist. He and Charles Best discovered insulin (1921) for which he shared the Nobel Prize with Dr. J.J.R. MacLeod.
1941 Frank J. "Fiddler" Corridon b. 1880 American baseball pitcher. He is credited with inventing the spitball (1904). He claimed to have discovered the idea when he noticed that had landed in a puddle and was wet on one side had an unexpected flight when he threw it.
1926 Heike Onnes b. 1853 Dutch Nobel-winning physicist. First to liquefy helium (1908), and coined the term "super-conductivity" after discovering the drop in electrical resistance exhibited by solids at extremely low temperatures.
1919 Mary Edwards Walker b. 1832 American physician, women's rights leader. She was the first female surgeon in the U.S. Army (1864), and the only woman to receive the Medal of Honor (1865); although it was revoked in 1916 and then reinstated in 1977. In 1897 she established a women's colony called "Adamless Eden."
1730 Benedict XIII b. 1649 religious leader, 245th Pope (1724-30).
1513 Julius II b. 1443 (Giuliano della Rovere), Italian religious leader, 216th Pope (1503-13). Known as "The Warrior Pope." He commissioned the rebuilding of St. Peter's Basilica and the painting of the Sistine Chapel by Michaelangelo.