On March 4, 1960, actress-comedienne Lucille Ball filed for divorce from Cuban-American singer and bandleader Desi Arnaz, citing his drinking and infidelity, after 14 years of marriage. The couple most memorably earned a place in American hearts as Ricky and Lucy Ricardo on their 1950s TV sitcom “I Love Lucy.”
On March 5, 1774, John Hancock delivered the fourth annual Massacre Day speech, commemorating the Boston Massacre in which British soldiers killed five men in a crowd on King Street. Hancock’s oration and denunciation of the presence of British troops in Boston increased his standing as a leading patriot.
On March 6, 1986, American painter Georgia O’Keeffe, whose work included large-format paintings of natural forms, especially flowers and bones, died at age 98. She had continued painting, with the help of assistants, into her last years, even though nearly blind from macular degeneration.
On March 7, 161 A.D., Marcus Aurelius became emperor of Rome at the age of 39, after the death of his predecessor, Antoninus Pius, and after patiently waiting more than 20 years to assume that role. He was extremely popular, and his reign would later be recalled as a “golden age.”
On March 8, 1941, Hugh Mulcahy, a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, gained national attention when he became the first major league baseball player to be drafted into the Army. He continued to pitch during his service, which lasted for four years, before he returned to his old team.
On March 9, 1562, kissing in public was banned in Naples, Italy, and actually punishable by death, but not for reasons of morality. Rather, it was part of an effort to halt the spread of a plague throughout Europe. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the legislation failed to achieve its goal.
On March 10, 1988, Prince Charles narrowly escaped death from an avalanche while skiing at a Swiss resort. Sadly, though he managed to help dig out the body of his friend Major Hugh Lindsay, a former aid to the Queen, Lindsay was declared dead on arrival at a local hospital. Diana, Princess of Wales, and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, had accompanied Prince Charles on the trip but were not skiing when the avalanche occurred.
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared that the COVID-19 outbreak was a pandemic, citing more than 118,000 cases of the coronavirus illness in over 110 countries and territories around the world.
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