Today in History View More

Died February 21

Published: 2/21/2015
Content Image

Malcolm X (AP Photo/Victor Boynton)

Malcolm X was one of the most influential African-American leaders of the 20th century. Standing as a counterpoint to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s philosophy of nonviolent action toward civil rights, Malcolm X was known for urging his followers to fight for civil rights using "any means necessary" – including violent action when needed. His stance frightened some, but many were inspired by his bold leadership and refusal to back down from authority, as well as by another phrase he popularized: "Black is beautiful." His legacy is one of unrelenting activism to raise the self-esteem of black people, urging them to demand full equality. We remember Malcolm X's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history.

2012: Barney Rosset, U.S. publisher who introduced readers to acclaimed authors such as Pablo Neruda and Harold Pinter, dies at 89.

Barney Rosset (AP Photo/Jim Cooper, file)As publisher of Grove Press, Rosset was a First Amendment crusader who helped overthrow 20th-century U.S. censorship laws and profoundly expanded the American reading experience. Rosset had an FBI file that lasted for decades, according to his obituary by The Associated Press, and he would seek out fellow rebels for much of his life. Between Grove and the magazine Evergreen Review, which lasted from 1957 to 1973, Rosset published Samuel Beckett, Malcolm X, Che Guevara, Jean-Paul Sartre, Allen Ginsberg, Henry Miller, D.H. Lawrence and William Burroughs. He was equally daring as a film distributor; his credits included the groundbreaking erotic film, I Am Curious (Yellow), and art-house releases by Jean-Luc Godard, Marguerite Duras and others. Read more


2008: Ben Chapman, U.S. actor remembered best for playing the Gill-Man in The Creature From the Black Lagoon, dies at 82.

2008: Sunny Lowry, first British woman to swim the English Channel in 1933, dies at 97.

2005: Ara Berberian, U.S. bass singer who enjoyed a long international career in opera, dies at 74.

1999: Gertrude B. Elion, U.S. biochemist who developed many important new drugs and received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1988, dies at 81.

1995: Robert Bolt, English playwright and screenwriter who wrote Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia, dies at 70.

1992: Jane Pickens Langley Hoving, U.S. singer who was a member of the Pickens Sisters and then had her own radio and television shows, dies at 83.

1992: Eva A. Jessye, U.S. singer who was the first African-American woman to achieve distinction as a professional choral conductor, dies at 97.

1991: Roger Swaybill, U.S. actor and screenwriter who co-wrote the movies Porky's II: The Next Day and Breaking Point, dies at 47.

1991: Margot Fonteyn, English ballerina who was widely regarded as one of the greatest classical ballet dancers of all time, dies at 71.

1985: Louis Hayward, South African actor who appeared in Hollywood movies such as The Man in the Iron Mask, dies at 75.

1985: Ina Claire, U.S. actress who made her film debut in the Cecil B. DeMille film The Wild Goose Chase, dies at 91.

1982: Murray "the K" Kaufman, influential U.S. rock 'n' roll disc jockey in the 1950s, '60s and '70s who was an early supporter of the Beatles and was called the "Fifth Beatle," dies at 60.

Integration wasn't the only way Murray the K was forward-thinking. As the times changed, so did the music – and Kaufman was on top of each new style. Starting as one of the first supporters of the Beatles (and often calling himself the "Fifth Beatle"), he moved on to champion folk rock and become one of the first FM DJs to play full-album versions of long songs by artists such as Bob Dylan – instead of the shortened singles common on AM radio. Read more



1974: Tim Horton, Canadian NHL Hall of Fame defenseman who also started the successful Tim Hortons restaurant chain, dies in a car accident at 44.

Both of Horton's careers focused on small round objects: one hard, flat and fast, the other soft, fried and sweet. Horton first made a name for himself playing hockey for 24 seasons in the NHL, most of them on the Toronto Maple Leafs. He also was the entrepreneur who co-founded Tim Hortons, a popular chain of coffee and doughnut shops. Read more



1965: Malcolm X, U.S. Muslim minister who was one of the best-known civil rights activists of his generation, is assassinated at 39.

1958: Duncan Edwards, English soccer player who was on England's national team, dies in the Munich airplane disaster at 21.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history.

comments powered by Disqus
Our Picks