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Today in History: March 8, Joe Frazier defeats Muhammad Ali in 'Fight of the Century'

Today in History

Today is Friday, March 8, the 68th day of 2024. There are 298 days left in the year.

Today's highlight in history:

On March 8, 1971, in the first of three fights between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, Frazier defeated Ali by decision in what was billed as "The Fight of the Century" at Madison Square Garden in New York.

On this date:

In 1618, German astronomer Johannes Kepler devised his third law of planetary motion.

In 1817, the New York Stock & Exchange Board, which had its beginnings in 1792, was formally organized; it later became known as the New York Stock Exchange.

In 1948, the Supreme Court, in McCollum v. Board of Education, struck down voluntary religious education classes in Champaign, Illinois, public schools, saying the program violated separation of church and state.

In 1965, the United States landed its first combat troops in South Vietnam as 3,500 Marines arrived to defend the U.S. air base at Da Nang.

In 1971, silent film comedian Harold Lloyd died in Beverly Hills, California, at age 77.

In 1983, in a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals convention in Orlando, Florida, President Ronald Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as an "evil empire."

In 1988, 17 soldiers were killed when two Army helicopters from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, collided in mid-flight.

In 1999, baseball Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio died in Hollywood, Florida, at age 84.

In 2000, President Bill Clinton submitted to Congress legislation to establish permanent normal trade relations with China. (The U.S. and China signed a trade pact in November 2000.)

In 2004, Iraq's Governing Council signed a landmark interim constitution.

In 2008, President George W. Bush vetoed a bill that would have banned the CIA from using simulated drowning and other coercive interrogation methods to gain information from suspected terrorists.

In 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, a Boeing 777 with 239 people on board, vanished during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, setting off a massive and ultimately unsuccessful search.

In 2016, Sir George Martin, the Beatles' urbane producer who guided the band's swift, historic transformation from rowdy club act to musical and cultural revolutionaries, died at age 90.

In 2017, many American women stayed home from work, joined rallies or wore red to demonstrate how vital they were to the U.S. economy, as International Women's Day was observed with a multitude of events around the world, including the Day Without a Woman in the U.S.

In 2022, President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. would ban all Russian oil imports, toughening the toll on Russia's economy in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine as a humanitarian crisis unfolded in the port city of Mariupol.

Today's birthdays: Jazz musician George Coleman is 89. Actor Sue Ane (correct) Langdon is 88. College Football Hall of Famer Pete Dawkins is 86. Songwriter Carole Bayer Sager is 80. Actor-director Micky Dolenz (The Monkees) is 79. Pop singer Peggy March is 76. Baseball Hall of Famer Jim Rice is 71. Jazz musician Billy Childs is 67. Singer Gary Numan is 66. NBC News anchor Lester Holt is 65. Actor Aidan Quinn is 65. Actor Camryn Manheim is 63. Actor Leon is 63. Country-rock singer Shawn Mullins is 56. Neo-soul singer Van Hunt is 54. Actor Andrea Parker is 54. Actor Boris Kodjoe is 51. Actor Freddie Prinze Jr. is 48. Actor Laura Main is 47. Actor James Van Der Beek is 47. R&B singer Kameelah Williams (702) is 46. Actor Nick Zano is 46. Rock singer Tom Chaplin (Keane) is 45. Rock musician Andy Ross (OK Go) is 45. Actor Jessica Collins is 41. R&B singer Kristinia (kris-teh-NEE'-ah) DeBarge is 34.