On This Day March 3
1973 – Roberta Flack rules the Billboard Hot 100 with “Killing Me Softly with His Song,” which remains a chart-topper for four weeks. The track goes on to garner Flack Grammys in 1974 for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance as well as a Song of the Year Grammy for its writers, Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox.
1973 – At the 15th Annual Grammy Awards, Roberta Flack wins Song of the Year and Record of the Year honors for “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” as well as Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo for her duet with Donny Hathaway, “Where Is The Love.” Harry Nilsson wins the Best Pop Vocal Performance Grammy for “Without You.”
1820 – Congress passes the Missouri Compromise, temporarily resolving the first serious political clash between slavery and antislavery interests by admitting Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state.
1887 – Anne Mansfield Sullivan begins teaching six-year-old Helen Keller, who lost her sight and hearing at 19 months of age. Under Sullivan’s tutelage, including her pioneering “touch teaching” techniques, the previously uncontrollable Keller thrived, eventually graduating from college and becoming an international lecturer and activist.
1952 – The U.S. Supreme Court upholds a New York state law (Feinberg Law) that prohibits communists from teaching in public schools. Coming at the height of the Red Scare in the U.S., the high court’s decision was further proof that many Americans feared possible subversive communist activity within their borders.
1991 – In what’s believed to be the first viral video, amateur video footage captures the beating of African American motorist Rodney King by four Los Angeles police officers, igniting outrage over alleged police brutality and social inequalities in LA’s black community. The cops are later tried and acquitted, which triggers riots.