This Day In History, March 3rd

What happened on this day in history: Alexander Graham Bell is born, L.A. police officers beat Rodney King, and more events that took place on March 3rd.

1847: Alexander Graham Bell Is Born

Scientist and inventor Alexander Graham Bell is born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He began inventing at an early age, creating a wheat de-husking machine when he was just 12 years old. However, Bell is best known for patenting the first telephone in 1876. He famously refused to have a phone in his office, as he said it interfered with his real work as a scientist and engineer. Bell also helped found the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) in 1885.

1861: Emperor Alexander II Frees Serfs In The Russian Empire

Emperor Alexander II of Russia frees serfs in the Russian Empire. The Emancipation Reform of 1861 granted 23 million serfs freedom to marry without approval from a lord, the right to own property, and the right to own a business. Serfs were peasants who worked a noble’s land without pay. Usually, the serf was attached to the land, meaning that a lord could not sell an individual serf, but they could transfer the land on which the serf worked to another, effectively “selling” or “trading” the serf to another lord. After the Emancipation Reform of 1861, serfs were able to buy land of their own for the first time.

1931: “The Star-Spangled Banner” Becomes The U.S. National Anthem

President Herbert Hoover declares “The Star-Spangled Banner” America’s official national anthem. The lyrics were written more than 100 years prior by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812, and they were eventually set to the tune of the English song “To Anacreon in Heaven.” Though most branches of the armed forces had considered “The Star-Spangled Banner” the national anthem during the 19th century, it wasn’t until 1931 that the government officially adopted it.

1923: The First Issue Of TIME Is Published

First Issue Of Time

Twitter/The Daily StarThe first cover of TIME magazine.

Journalists Henry Luce and Briton Hadden publish the first issue of TIME magazine. The debut cover featured Joseph G. Cannon, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives at the time. Within just four years, TIME became one of the most influential magazines in America, with a circulation of more than 175,000. The first issue was just 32 pages long, with just a few illustrations and photos sprinkled throughout.

1991: Los Angeles Police Beat Rodney King

Rodney King Beating

YouTubeA screenshot of the video that ultimately sparked the Los Angeles riots of 1992.

Los Angeles police officers are caught on camera brutally beating Rodney King, a man on parole for robbery who had just led authorities on an eight-mile car chase. When King finally stopped near Hansen Dam Park, a local man named George Holliday filmed what happened next from his apartment balcony. After police officers knocked King to the ground with a baton, they continued beating him, hitting him up to 56 times as he lay prone. Holliday sent the video to local news organizations, and the resulting acquittals of the police officers involved in the beating sparked the L.A. riots.