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5 Fun Facts About March 31 In New York History

---Learn Every Day: NY Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history ny To: 618-270-4005---

1. In 1807, the New York legislature passed a law prohibiting the importation of slaves into the state, making it the first state to do so. This marked a significant step towards the abolition of slavery in the United States.

2. In 1854, the New York Crystal Palace opened in Bryant Park. The Palace was a massive exhibition hall made of glass and iron, designed to showcase the latest technology and innovation of the time. Many famous figures of the day, including P.T. Barnum and Horace Greeley, attended the opening ceremony.

3. In 1917, the United States officially entered World War I after President Woodrow Wilson signed the declaration of war. New York City played a crucial role in the war effort, with many troops departing from ports in the city to fight in Europe.

4. In 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. gave his last speech at the Bishop Charles Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee. King was in town to support striking sanitation workers, and his speech, titled "I've Been to the Mountaintop," is widely considered one of his most powerful and prophetic.

5. In 2013, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch passed away at the age of 88. Koch was a beloved figure in New York politics, having served as mayor from 1978 to 1989. He was known for his larger-than-life personality and his ability to bring people together across political divides.
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