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The History Channel

• On March 30, 1820, Anna Sewell, author of “Black Beauty,” is born in Norfolk, England. “Black Beauty,” first published in 1877, was the first significant children’s story in the English language to focus on animal characters and was was made into a movie at least three times.

• On March 27, 1912, in Washington, D.C., the wife of President William Taft and the wife of the Japanese ambassador plant two Yoshina cherry trees near the Jefferson Memorial. After World War II, cuttings from the trees were sent back to Japan to restore the Tokyo collection that was decimated by American bombing attacks during the war.

• On March 29, 1927, Major Henry O’Neil de Hane Segrave becomes the first person to break the 200-mph barrier. Driving a 1,000 horsepower Mystery Sunbeam, Segrave averaged 203.79 mph on the course at Daytona Beach, Fla.

• On March 26, 1937, Crystal City, Texas, unveils America’s first monument to a comic-strip hero when a 6-foot-tall statue of Popeye is unveiled in Popeye Park during the city’s second annual Spinach Festival.

• On March 25, 1957, Ricky Nelson cuts his first records, “A Teenager’s Romance” and “I’m Walkin’.” A few weeks later, he sang the songs on his family’s TV series and became an overnight pop star, despite his complete lack of musical experience.

• On March 28, 1979, the worst accident in the history of the U.S. nuclear power industry begins when a pressure valve in the Unit-2 reactor at the Three Mile Island plant near Harrisburg, Pa., fails to close. As engineers struggled to understand what had happened, the reactor came within less than an hour of a complete meltdown.

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