• On Feb. 20, 1792, President George Washington signs legislation creating the U.S. Postal Service. The federally funded postal services included 75 regional post offices and 2,400 miles of postal routes. The cost of sending a letter ranged from 6 cents to 12 cents.
• On Feb. 18, 1885, Mark Twain publishes his novel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” Twain (the pen name of Samuel Clemens) first introduced Huck Finn as the best friend of Tom Sawyer, hero of his tremendously successful novel “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” (1876).
• On Feb. 17, 1915, after encountering a severe snowstorm, the German Zeppelin L-4 crash-lands in the North Sea near the Danish coastal town of Varde. One month earlier, the huge airship had taken part in the first-ever air bombing raid on Britain.
• On Feb. 15, 1933, in Miami, Giuseppe Zangara shoots and fatally wounds Anton Cermak, the mayor of Chicago. Zangara pled guilty to the murder and died in Florida’s electric chair on March 20. Today, such a swift outcome would be practically unheard of, particularly where the death penalty is concerned.
• On Feb. 21, 1965, black nationalist leader Malcolm X is assassinated while giving a speech at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem in New York City. Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little, had split from the Nation of Islam almost a year before and had escaped several other attempts on his life.
(c) 2010 King Features Synd., Inc.