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February 11, 2013

Today in History

Today is Monday, Feb. 11, the 42nd day of 2013. There are 323 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Feb. 11, 1963, American author and poet Sylvia Plath was found dead in her London flat, a suicide; she was 30.

On this date:

  • In 1812, Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry signed a re-districting law favoring his Democratic-Republican Party — giving rise to the term "gerrymandering."
  • In 1858, a French girl, Bernadette Soubirous, reported the first of 18 visions of a lady dressed in white in a grotto near Lourdes. (The Catholic Church later accepted that the visions were of the Virgin Mary.)
  • In 1862, the Civil War Battle of Fort Donelson began in Tennessee. (Union forces led by Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant captured the fort five days later.)
  • In 1929, the Lateran Treaty was signed, with Italy recognizing the independence and sovereignty of Vatican City.
  • In 1937, a six-week-old sit-down strike against General Motors ended, with the company agreeing to recognize the United Automobile Workers Union.
  • In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin signed the Yalta Agreement during World War II.
  • In 1960, "Tonight Show" host Jack Paar walked off the program in a censorship dispute with NBC. (Despite his very public resignation, Paar returned to the Tonight Show less than a month later.)
  • In 1972, McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. and Life magazine canceled plans to publish what had turned out to be a fake autobiography of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes.
  • In 1975, Margaret Thatcher was elected leader of Britain's opposition Conservative Party.
  • In 1979, followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (hoh-MAY'-nee) seized power in Iran.
  • In 1990, South African black activist Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in captivity.
  • In 1993, President Bill Clinton announced his choice of Miami prosecutor Janet Reno to be the nation's first female attorney general, after two earlier candidates stumbled because they'd hired illegal aliens.

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