1. On February 21, 1848, North Carolina's first railroad opened in Raleigh. The Raleigh & Gaston Railroad was the longest rail line in the state at the time, running 90 miles from Raleigh to Weldon. It played an important role in the development of North Carolina's economy and transportation system.
2. In 1861, on February 21, North Carolina became the sixth state to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy. The state played a significant role in the Civil War, supplying troops and resources to the Confederate cause.
3. On February 21, 1876, the state constitution of North Carolina was ratified, which established a three-branch government system that is still in use today. The constitution also introduced several new provisions, including the requirement for racially integrated public schools.
4. In 1983, on February 21, the Greensboro Massacre occurred. Five members of the Communist Workers' Party were killed by members of the Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party during a conflict at a political rally in Greensboro. The incident highlighted ongoing racial tensions and political violence in North Carolina during the 1980s.
5. On February 21, 1996, Eric Rudolph, the infamous domestic terrorist responsible for the bombing of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and several other attacks, was captured in Murphy, North Carolina. His arrest ended a five-year manhunt and brought closure to the victims of his crimes.
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