March 17, 2021

#ThrowbackThursday – 18 March

18 March marks a day of famous events and infamous occurrences. Take a look at these five happenings that went down in history today:

1922 – The Trial of Mahatma Gandhi

In a trial that lasted only one day, a lawyer and independence activist named Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – best known as “Mahatma”, or “Great-souled” – was sentenced by British magistrates to prison in his homeland of India.

The magistrates found him guilty of sedition after he called for mass civil disobedience among his oppressed brethren, which included boycotting British educational institutions, law courts and foreign-made goods.

Gandhi was given a six-year prison sentence, but served only two years after being released for medical reasons.

1965 – The First Spacewalk

Alexei Leonov went into space as a cosmonaut and returned home as a hero after becoming the first person to ever walk in space.

After exiting from his spacecraft – to which he was connected with a 5.4-metre tether – the 30-year-old Soviet national proceeded to carry out the historic feat. He video-recorded himself floating through the vacuum of space for 12 minutes, which ended with him performing a somersault.

During an interview in 2015, Leonov recalled: “It was so quiet, I could even hear my heart beat. I was surrounded by stars and was floating without much control. I will never forget the moment. I also felt an incredible sense of responsibility.”

1970 – All Hail the Queen

Born Dana Elaine Owens, Queen Latifah has reached a milestone as she turns 50 today.

An aspiring rapper in her youth, Latifah was signed to Tommy Boy Records when she was just 18-years-old. In 1989, she released her debut album, “All Hail the Queen”, which earned commercial and critical acclaim.

Afterwards, she expanded her prolific entertainment career by branching out into television and film acting, music production and book-writing. To date, she has won a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, and an Academy Award nomination, among other accolades.

1990 – Getting Theft Down to a Fine Art

In the early hours of 18 March, two men posing as police officers entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts. After tying up the security guards, they proceeded to rob the museum of 13 art pieces; this took them at least 81 minutes.

The stolen artwork – valued at half a billion dollars – had been procured by the museum’s namesake during her lifetime. Among these pieces are Edgar Degas’ “5 Works On Paper”, Rembrandt’s “A Lady and a Gentleman in Black”, and Vermeer’s “The Concert.”

Today, the artwork and the culprits have yet to be found. All that remains are the empty frames of the missing paintings, which the museum hopes will be filled again when the paintings return.

1992 – A Time for Change

“Today, we have written in our history the fundamental turning point” were the words spoken by President FW de Klerk after a majority of white South Africans backed a mandate for political reforms to end apartheid.

This day saw 1.9 million white citizens (approximately 68.9%) voting for a new non-racial constitution, as well as for the creation of a power-sharing, multi-racial government.

Two years later, citizens of all races were able to partake in the first non-racial national elections, which resulted in Nelson Mandela becoming the president of post-apartheid South Africa.

Image Credit: Source