This week in history


On March 8, 1917, the “February Revolution,” which saw the end of Czarist Russia with Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin at its forefront, resulted in the formation of the USSR.

Though the USSR would prove a valuable “ally” in World War II, the divisive aftermath resulted in an international relations nightmare, as the world fell into two camps split over the control of Berlin.

Unwillingness to back down between the East and West kept the sides needlessly separated by borders and culture, while the constant threat of mutual annihilation during the Cold War left the populace of both sides living in fear for 47 years.


At 11 inches tall, Mattel’s “Barbie” doll debuted on March 9, 1959, after Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel, Inc. saw her daughter playing with paper cutouts of adult women as opposed to her baby dolls.

From then on, Barbie would become an iconic American toy. Mattel has sold 800 million of the dolls since 1959.

Though some considered Barbie to be breaking gender stereotypes by having a lot of different outfits and jobs over the years, her “perfect” body (36-18-38) and cascade of blonde hair set an unrealistic and harmful standard of beauty for girls.

Famous crimes

James Earl Ray pleaded guilty to the assassination of famed civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. on March 10, 1969. Ray was sentenced to 99 years in prison in lieu of the electric chair.

Three days later he attempted to withdraw the plea, claiming to be the patsy of a gunrunnning operation. Members of King’s family would come out in support of Ray’s innocence in the 1990s, speculating about assassination conspiracy theories.

With the mountain of evidence against Ray, justice was served, and he remained guilty.

Hybrid moments

One million Toyota gas-electric hybrids had been sold in the U.S. by March 11, 2009, a hallmark in the effort to reduce carbon-based emissions from transport.

That same week, Ford Motor Company reported production numbers of 100,000 hybrids in the U.S. Unfortunately for Toyota, a year later it would be in its current public relations crisis for some of those same hybrids because of safety issues.

Prius, derived from the Latin “earlier,” was a car ahead of the game in 1997 and was a gamble in a time when dinosaur SUVs ruled the earth and gasoline was cheap.


Sir Paul McCartney was knighted on March 11, 1997, by Queen Elizabeth II for his “services to music.”

The knighting for the member of the most successful rock band in history was long overdue by Beatles fans’ standards because the crowds that gathered outside of Buckingham Palace were a modern-day repeat of “Beatle Mania.”

Sir McCartney dedicated his knighthood to his fellow Beatles: George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon.

Gender equity

On March 12, 1776, in Baltimore, Md., a public notice appeared in local papers urging readers to recognize the contributions of women to the revolutionary war.

This early urging of gender equity was a direct message to the writers of the Constitution to include rights for women. Women provided nursing and care for wounded soldiers, assented to boycotts and took over labor that was instrumental to the war.

The women contributed as much as the men, and should have had the same freedoms in the drafting of the Constitution.


Our Lady of Fátima is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary with respect to reported apparitions of her to three shepherd children at Fátima in Portugal on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on May 13, know as the Most important Virgin Mary Apparition.

The three children were Lúcia Santos and her cousins, siblings Jacinta and Francisco Marto. The events at Fatima gained particular fame due to their elements of prophecy and eschatology, particularly with regard to possible world war and the conversion of Russia. The reported apparitions at Fatima were officially declared “worthy of belief” by the Catholic Church (more details during the week).

Source: dailyemerald.com

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