On this day 21 years ago, the citizens of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland voted overwhelmingly to accept the peace plan known as the Good Friday Agreement. Negotiated and signed by 8 disparate political factions, it was designed to end 30 years of bloody conflict and bombings and establish self-rule for Northern Ireland, which had been under direct British control for 26 years. (1998)

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Amnesty Act restoring full civil rights to most Confederate sympathizers (1872)
  • Harvey Milk was born, the war veteran who became the first openly gay politician elected in California and who was responsible for the passage of a civil rights bill that outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation (1930)
  • US President Lyndon Johnson announced his Great Society goals to “end poverty and racial injustice” – more info below (1964)
  • Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the longest-running US children’s television series, aired its first episode (1967)
  • Pacman, the ground-breaking arcade game, was first introduced (1980)
  • Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic, who was discovered at 6-years-old and who 17 years later won three Grand Slam titles in one year, was born (1987)
  • Swedish professional golfer Annika Sörenstam became the first woman to play on the PGA Tour in 58 years (2003)
  • Tokyo Skytree was opened to public as the tallest tower in world (2080ft/634m), and the second tallest man-made structure on Earth, after Burj Khalifa (2012)



*The Civil Rights Acts and Voting Rights Act became law soon after Johnson announced his Great Society goals. $3 billion was spent in 3 years on new programs like Food Stamps and Head Start which helped to cut the poverty rate from 22.2 percent to 12.6 pt. in 7 years. Also parts of the Great Society were goals to improve education, health, urban areas, transportation, and consumer protection, resulting in efforts such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Higher Education Act and the Highway Safety Act. The National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities and Public Broadcasting were formed to improve citizens’ access to the arts. Even though the Viet Nam war and its costs dimmed Johnson’s hope for fully realizing his aim of a Great Society — and he would only be president for one term — the Johnson administration was still able to lead arguably the most successful legislative agenda in American history. 87 bills were submitted to the Democratic Congress, and 96 percent of those, 84, were made law.

One of Johnson’s aides, Joseph Califano, Jr., has countered critics of the programs by referring to that drop in the portion of Americans living below the poverty line (from 22.2 percent to 12.6 percent) as the most dramatic decline over such a brief period in (the 20th) century.” (wikipedia)


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