Maine Fast Fact: Bangor was the first town in Maine to erect a memorial to its Civil War soldiers.
- 1685: Johann Sebastian Bach, German composer
- 1904: Forrest Mars, Sr., American inventor of M&Ms and the Mars Bar, son of Frank C. Mars, founder of candy company Mars, Inc.
- 1958: Sabrina Le Beauf, American actress, best known for her role as Sondra Huxtable Tibideaux on the television series The Cosby Show
- 1962: Matthew Broderick, American actor; Rosie O’Donnell, American comedian, actress, talk show host and publisher
- 1980: Deryck Whibley, Canadian musician and producer, guitarist, lead vocalist and songwriter for the band Sum 41
- 1617: Pocahontas, Native American famous for assisting colonial settlers in Jamestown
- 1991: Leo Fender, Greek-American inventor, founder of the Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company
- 1997: Reverend W. Awdry, English clergyman, children’s author and railway enthusiast, creator of Thomas the Tank Engine
- 1857: An earthquake hits Tokyo, Japan, killing over 100,000 people.
- 1933: Construction of Dachau is completed, the first Nazi Germany concentration camp.
- 1945: British planes try to bomb Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark in Operation Carthage during World War II but hit a school, killing 125 civilians.
- 1960: Police in Sharpeville, South Africa open fire on a group of unarmed South Africans demonstrating against Apartheid, killing 69 and wounding 180 people.
- 1963: Alcatraz, the federal prison on an island in San Francisco Bay, closes.
- 1965: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. leads 3,200 people on a successful civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
- 1970: San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto issues the first Earth Day proclamation.
- 1980: President Jimmy Carter announces that the United States will not be participating in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
- 1985: Canadian athlete and paraplegic Rick Hansen begins his circumnavigation of the world in a wheelchair to raise awareness for spinal cord injuries; Police in Langa, South Africa open fire on people marching to mark the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville shootings, killing 21 people.
- 1989: Sports Illustrated reports on baseball player Pete Rose gambling on baseball.
- 1990: Namibia gains its independence from South Africa.
- 1999: Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones become the first people to circumnavigate the Earth in a hot air balloon.
- 2002: Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and three other suspects are charged with murder for their part in the kidnapping and killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
March 21 is Human Rights Day in South Africa, commemorating the Sharpeville Massacre that took place on this day in 1960. It is also Harmony Day in Australia and International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, both coinciding with the Sharpeville Massacre. Today is Independence Day in Namibia, celebrating the day the country gained its independence from France on this day in 1990. It is Truant’s Day in Poland, an unofficial but popular day for children to skip school because it is usually the first day of spring.
Today is also World Down Syndrome Day, a day that Down Syndrome organizations across the world organize and participate in events to raise awareness of Down Syndrome, beginning in 2006. It is also World Poetry Day, declared by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1999 to promote the teaching, reading, writing and publishing of poetry.
For more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_21 , http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/20100321.html , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Rights_Day , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Day_for_the_Elimination_of_Racial_Discrimination , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmony_Day , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Day , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truancy , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Down_Syndrome_Day , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Poetry_Day