On this day, March 28 …
1979: America’s worst commercial nuclear accident occurs with a partial meltdown inside the Unit 2 reactor at the Three Mile Island plant near Middletown, Pa.
Also on this day:
- 1797: Nathaniel Briggs of New Hampshire receives a patent for a washing machine.
- 1898: The U.S. Supreme Court, in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, rules 6-2 that Wong, who was born in the United States to Chinese immigrants, is an American citizen.
- 1930: The names of the Turkish cities of Constantinople and Angora are changed to Istanbul and Ankara.
- 1941: Novelist and critic Virginia Woolf, 59, drowns herself near her home in Lewes, East Sussex, England.
- 1969: Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States, dies in Washington, D.C., at age 78.
- 1978: In Stump v. Sparkman, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds, 5-3, the judicial immunity of an Indiana judge against a lawsuit brought by a young woman who’d been ordered sterilized by the judge when she was a teenager.
- 1990: President George H.W. Bush presents the Congressional Gold Medal to the widow of U.S. Olympic legend Jesse Owens.
- 2005: The Colorado Supreme Court throws out the death penalty in a rape-and-murder case because five of the trial jurors consulted the Bible and quoted Scripture during deliberations. (The U.S. Supreme Court would refuse to consider reinstating the death sentence of Robert Harlan, who would end up being resentenced to life in prison for the murder of cocktail waitress Rhonda Maloney.)
- 2009: Fears in Fargo, N.D., of catastrophic flood ease with word that the surging Red River crested at lower-than-expected levels.
- 2009: Nearly 4,000 cities and towns in 88 countries switch off nonessential lights for Earth Hour to highlight the threat of climate change.
- 2009: Thousands of people march through European cities to demand jobs, economic justice and environmental accountability.
- 2014: Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan becomes the first man in 12 years to win the Olympic and world figure skating titles in the same year.
- 2017: Wells Fargo says it will pay $110 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over as many as two million accounts its employees opened for customers without getting their permission.
- 2018: President Trump fires Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and nominates White House doctor Ronny Jackson to replace him; the move comes in the wake of an ethics scandal and a rebellion within the agency. (Jackson would withdraw his nomination amid allegations of workplace misconduct.)