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Today in History: March 10, James Earl Ray pleads guilty to shooting Martin Luther King Jr.

Today in History

Today is Sunday, March 10, the 70th day of 2024. There are 296 days left in the year. Daylight saving time returns at 2 a.m. local time.

Today's highlight in history:

On March 10, 1969, James Earl Ray pleaded guilty in Memphis, Tennessee, to assassinating civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (Ray later repudiated that plea, maintaining his innocence until his death.)

On this date:

In 1496, Christopher Columbus concluded his second visit to the Western Hemisphere as he left Hispaniola for Spain.

In 1785, Thomas Jefferson was appointed America's minister to France, succeeding Benjamin Franklin.

In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln assigned Ulysses S. Grant, who had just received his commission as lieutenant-general, to the command of the Armies of the United States.

In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell's assistant, Thomas Watson, heard Bell say over his experimental telephone: "Mr. Watson — come here — I want to see you" from the next room of Bell's Boston laboratory.

In 1906, about 1,100 miners in northern France were killed by a coal-dust explosion.

In 1913, former slave, abolitionist and Underground Railroad "conductor" Harriet Tubman died in Auburn, New York; she was in her 90s.

In 1965, Neil Simon's play "The Odd Couple," starring Walter Matthau and Art Carney, opened on Broadway.

In 1985, Konstantin U. Chernenko, who was the Soviet Union's leader for 13 months, died at age 73; he was succeeded by Mikhail Gorbachev.

In 1988, pop singer Andy Gibb died in Oxford, England, at age 30 of heart inflammation.

In 2015, breaking her silence in the face of a growing controversy over her use of a private email address and server, Hillary Rodham Clinton conceded that she should have used government email as secretary of state but insisted she had not violated any federal laws or Obama administration rules.

In 2019, a Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed shortly after taking off from the capital, Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board.

In 2021, the House gave final congressional approval to a landmark $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill against the opposition of Republicans, while the Senate confirmed Merrick Garland to be U.S. attorney general with a strong bipartisan vote.

In 2022, civilians trapped inside the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol desperately scrounged for food and fuel as Russian forces kept up their bombardment amid international condemnation over an airstrike a day earlier that killed three people at a maternity hospital.

In 2023, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation seized the assets of Silicon Valley Bank, leaving many Silicon Valley workers and companies potentially locked out of their money in the second-largest bank failure in history, behind only the failure of Washington Mutual in 2008.

Today's birthdays: Bluegrass/country singer-musician Norman Blake is 86. Actor Chuck Norris is 84. Playwright David Rabe is 84. Singer Dean Torrence (Jan and Dean) is 84. Actor Katharine Houghton (Film: "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?") is 82. Actor Richard Gant is 80. Rock musician Tom Scholz (Boston) is 77. Former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell is 77. TV personality/businesswoman Barbara Corcoran (TV: "Shark Tank") is 75. Actor Aloma Wright is 74. Blues musician Ronnie Earl (Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters) is 71. Alt-country/rock musician Gary Louris is 69. Actor Shannon Tweed is 67. Pop/jazz singer Jeanie Bryson is 66. Actor Sharon Stone is 66. Rock musician Gail Greenwood is 64. Magician Lance Burton is 64. Actor Jasmine Guy is 62. Rock musician Jeff Ament (Pearl Jam) is 61. Music producer Rick Rubin is 61. Britain's Prince Edward is 60. Rock singer Edie Brickell is 58. Actor Stephen Mailer is 58. Actor Philip Anthony-Rodriguez is 56. Actor Paget Brewster is 55. Actor Jon Hamm is 53. Rapper-producer Timbaland is 52. Actor Cristián (kris-tee-AHN') de la Fuente is 50. Rock musician Jerry Horton (Papa Roach) is 49. Actor Jeff Branson is 47. Singer Robin Thicke is 47. Actor Bree Turner is 47. Olympic gold medal gymnast Shannon Miller is 47. Contemporary Christian singer Michael Barnes (Red) is 45. Actor Edi Gathegi is 45. Actor Thomas Middleditch is 42. Country singer Carrie Underwood is 41. Actor Olivia Wilde is 40. R&B singer Emeli Sandé (EH'-mihl-ee SAN'-day) is 37. Country singer Rachel Reinert is 35. Country musician Jared Hampton (LANCO) is 33. Actor Emily Osment is 32.