11th February
It was on this day...
1990 Nelson Mandela is free

South Africa Leading antiapartheid campaigner, 71 year-old Nelson Mandela, appeared at the gates of Victor-Verster Prison in Paarl at 4:14PM local time, with his wife, Winnie, by his side.

For most of his 27 year sentence he had been detained at Robben Island, off Cape Town, serving hard labor. During this time no pictures of him were allowed which meant that the world press didn't know what he looked like.

Mr Mandela, the deputy-president of the ANC, then traveled to Cape Town where, at 8pm local time, he made a speech to a crowd of 50,000.

He told them:

"Our struggle has reached a decisive moment. Our march to freedom is irreversible."

"Now is the time to intensify the struggle on all fronts. To relax now would be a mistake which future generations would not forgive."

It was on this day...
1858 Legend has it that The Virgin Mary appears to St Bernadette

Lourds, France 14 year old peasant girl Marie-Bernarde Soubirous claims to have seen the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. There were to be 18 apparitions in all, in which the Virgin Mary is said to have revealed herself as the Immaculate Conception and asked that a chapel be built on the site of the vision. It is said that the Virgin Mary told Marie-Bernarde to drink from a fountain in the grotto, which she found by digging into the earth.

Marie-Bernarde was treated harshly by the authorities, who challenged her story, and a disbelieving public. She was to eventually enter the convent of Notre Dame de Nevers, where she would die of ill health at the age of 35.

The site of this alleged manifestation has become one of the most famous Christian shrines. Marie-Bernarde Soubirous was canonized in 1933 as St Bernadette. The water in the grotto is still believed to have curative powers.

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Birthdays
1969
Jennifer Aniston
1963
Sheryl Crow
1941
Sergio Mendes
1940
Bobby 'Boris' Pickett
1936
Burt Reynolds
1926
Leslie Nielson
1917
Sidney Sheldon
1847
Thomas Edison
Source
Other News
1937 The first ever simultaneous radio broadcast on all three US networks was of a charity concert from Radio City for the American National Red Cross
1960 Jack Paar walks off The Tonight Show (on which he was the host) to protest at the show being censored. Management had, earlier in the year, decided that the show was to be recorded before being shown, which allowed for the program to be edited.
1963 The Beatles record their first album, Please Please Me
1984 Challenger 4 is the first space shuttle to land on the runway at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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