Today's Highlight in History:
On Feb. 11, 1812, Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry signed a redistricting law favoring his Democratic-Republican Party — giving rise to the term "gerrymandering."
On this date:
In 1858, a French girl, Bernadette Soubirous, reported the first of 18 visions of a lady dressed in white in a grotto near Lourdes. (The Catholic Church later accepted that the visions were of the Virgin Mary.)
In 1862, the Civil War Battle of Fort Donelson began in Tennessee. (Union forces led by Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant captured the fort five days later.)
In 1929, the Lateran Treaty was signed, with Italy recognizing the independence and sovereignty of Vatican City.
In 1937, a six-week-old sit-down strike against General Motors ended, with the company agreeing to recognize the United Automobile Workers Union.
In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin signed the Yalta Agreement during World War II.
In 1963, American author and poet Sylvia Plath was found dead in her London flat, a suicide; she was 30.
In 1964, The Beatles performed their first American concert at the Washington Coliseum in Washington, D.C.
In 1972, McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. and Life magazine canceled plans to publish what had turned out to be a fake autobiography of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes.
In 1979, followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized power in Iran.
In 1989, Rev. Barbara C. Harris became the first woman consecrated as a bishop in the Episcopal Church, in a ceremony held in Boston.
In 1990, South African black activist Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in captivity.
In 2012, pop singer Whitney Houston, 48, was found dead in a hotel room in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Ten years ago: Wesley Clark dropped out of the Democratic race for the White House. A car bomb at an army recruiting center in Baghdad, Iraq, killed 47 people. Cable TV giant Comcast Corp. launched a hostile bid to buy The Walt Disney Co. for more than $54 billion (Comcast later dropped its bid).
Five years ago: The nation's top bankers went before the House Financial Services Committee, pledging to build public trust with greater lending and fewer perks. Stewart Parnell, owner of Peanut Corp. of America, repeatedly invoked his right not to incriminate himself at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on a salmonella outbreak that had sickened hundreds. All-Star shortstop Miguel Tejada pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about steroids in baseball. (He was sentenced to a year's probation.) Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who first went to Congress in 1955, became the longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives. President Robert Mugabe swore in longtime rival Morgan Tsvangirai as Zimbabwe's prime minister. Estelle Bennett, 67, one of the singing trio Ronettes, was found dead in her home in Englewood, N.J.
One year ago: With a few words in Latin, Pope Benedict XVI did what no pope had done in more than half a millennium: announced his resignation. The bombshell came during a routine morning meeting of Vatican cardinals. (The 85-year-old pontiff was succeeded by Pope Francis.)
Today's Birthdays: Actor Conrad Janis is 86. Actress Tina Louise is 80. Actor Burt Reynolds is 78. Songwriter Gerry Goffin is 75. Actor Sonny Landham is 73. Bandleader Sergio Mendes is 73. Rhythm-and-blues singer Otis Clay is 72. Actor Philip Anglim is 62. Actress Catherine Hickland is 58. Rock musician David Uosikkinen (The Hooters) is 58. Actress Carey Lowell is 53. Singer Sheryl Crow is 52. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is 50. Actress Jennifer Aniston is 45. Actor Damian Lewis is 43. Actress Marisa Petroro is 42. Singer D'Angelo is 40. Actor Brice Beckham is 38. Rock M-C/vocalist Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park) is 37. Singer-actress Brandy is 35. Actor Matthew Lawrence is 34. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kelly Rowland is 33. Singer Aubrey O'Day is 30. Actress Q'orianka Kilcher is 24. Actor Taylor Lautner is 22.
Thought for Today: "Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners." — Laurence Sterne, Irish-born English author (1713-1768).