Today in History: February 11, Nelson Mandela freed after 27 years (2024)

Today in History:

On Feb. 11, 1990, South African Black activist Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in captivity.

On this date:

In 660 B.C., tradition holds that Japan was founded as Jimmu ascended the throne as the country’s first emperor.

In 1847, American inventor Thomas Alva Edison was born in Milan, Ohio.

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, in which Stalin agreed to declare war against Imperial Japan following Nazi Germany’s capitulation.

In 1963, American author and poet Sylvia Plath was found dead in her London flat, a suicide; she was 30.

In 1975, Margaret Thatcher was elected leader of Britain’s opposition Conservative Party.

In 1979, followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (hoh-MAY’-nee) seized power in Iran.

In 2006, Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded Harry Whittington, a companion during a weekend quail-hunting trip in Texas.

In 2008, the Pentagon charged Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (HAH’-leed shayk moh-HAH’-med) and five other detainees at Guantanamo Bay with murder and war crimes in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks.

In 2011, Egypt exploded with joy after pro-democracy protesters brought down President Hosni Mubarak, whose resignation ended three decades of authoritarian rule.

In 2012, singing superstar Whitney Houston was found dead in a hotel room bathtub in Beverly Hills, California on the eve of the Grammy Awards at age 48.

In 2013, 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.)

In 2018, a Russian passenger plane crashed into a snowy field six minutes after taking off from Moscow, killing all 65 passengers and six crew members.

In 2020, the World Health Organization gave the official name of COVID-19 to the disease caused by the coronavirus that had emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

In 2021, at the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, Democrats asserted that Trump had incited an attack on the U.S. Capitol, put his own vice president in danger and expressed solidarity with rioters who sought to overturn the 2020 election in his name.

In 2023, rescue crews pulled more survivors, including entire families, from toppled buildings despite diminishing hopes as the death toll of the magnitude-7.8 earthquake that struck a border region of Turkey and Syria five days earlier surpassed 28,000. (It would eventually reach more than 50,000.)

Today in History: February 11, Nelson Mandela freed after 27 years (2024)


What happened on February 11th in black history? ›

On Feb. 11, 1990, South African Black activist Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in captivity.

How many years was Mandela jailed? ›

He was finally released from prison in 1990 after over 27 years of unbroken incarceration. Eighteen of those years were spent on Robben Island. Following Nelson Mandela's sentencing on 7 November 1962 the Pretoria Magistrates Court issued a warrant committing him to prison for five years.

What happened on February 11th? ›

What happened today in history (11 February): Thomas Edison, Tilka Manjhi and Jennifer Aniston was born, Whitney Houston and Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya died, Nelson Mandela was released from prison, Mike Tyson's first defeat, Iran became an Islamic Republic, and more.

What does February have to do with black history? ›

Woodson chose February for reasons of tradition and reform. It is commonly said that Woodson selected February to encompass the birthdays of two great Americans who played a prominent role in shaping black history, namely Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, whose birthdays are the 12th and the 14th, respectively.

Is Feb Black History? ›

February Is Black History Month in the US.

What famous person has a birthday on February 11? ›

11. Here are some of the notable people celebrating birthdays today, including Damian Lewis, Jennifer Aniston, Kelly Rowland, Natalie Dormer, Sergio Mendes, Sheryl Crow and more.

What happened on 11th February in India? ›

Samarpan Diwas is celebrated on 11 February every year on the occasion of Deendayal Upadhyaya's death anniversary. Deendayal Upadhyaya left a lasting impact on the political spectrum of the Indian nation.

What happened on February 11 1971? ›

1971 – Cold War: the Seabed Arms Control Treaty opened for signature outlawing nuclear weapons on the ocean floor in international waters.

What happened on this day in black history january 11? ›

The Zulu-British War, which began on Jan. 11, 1879, was sparked by growing aggression onto the independent Zulu nation from the British Empire. Britain was attracted to the Zululand's treasures and wanted to unite its colonies, the Boer republics, and other regions in southern Africa under British rule.

What happened in black history on January 11th? ›

Reuben V. Anderson is appointed a judge on the Mississippi Supreme Court. He is the first African American named to the court. Anthropologists announce that an ancestor of hom*o sapiens sapiens dubbed Eve may be the mother of the human species.

Who started February as Black History Month? ›

Carter G. Woodson was a scholar whose dedication to celebrating the historic contributions of Black people led to the establishment of Black History Month, marked every February since 1976.

When was February dedicated to Black History Month? ›

The first official observance came in February 1976, from President Gerald Ford whose words established Black History Month in eloquent homage to Woodson and ASALH.

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