Today in History
By The Associated Press
Today is Monday, April 16, the 106th day of 2018. There are 259 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 16, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in which the civil rights activist responded to a group of local clergymen who had criticized him for leading street protests; King defended his tactics, writing, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
On this date:
In 1789, President-elect George Washington left Mount Vernon, Virginia, for his inauguration in New York.
In 1818, the U.S. Senate ratified the Rush-Bagot Treaty severely limiting the number of American and British military vessels on the Great Lakes.
In 1862, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia. The Confederacy conscripted all white men between the ages of 18 to 35.
In 1912, American aviator Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel, leaving Dover, England, and arriving near Calais, France, in 59 minutes.
In 1935, the radio comedy program “Fibber McGee and Molly” premiered on the NBC Blue Network.
In 1945, during World War II, a Soviet submarine in the Baltic Sea torpedoed and sank the MV Goya, which Germany was using to transport civilian refugees and wounded soldiers; it’s estimated that up to 7,000 people died.
In 1947, the cargo ship Grandcamp, carrying ammonium nitrate, blew up in the harbor in Texas City, Texas; a nearby ship, the High Flyer, which was carrying ammonium nitrate and sulfur, caught fire and exploded the following day; the blasts and fires killed nearly 600 people. At the South Carolina statehouse, financier Bernard M. Baruch declared: “Let us not be deceived — we are today in the midst of a cold war.”
In 1968, American author Edna Ferber, whose novels included “So Big,” ”Show Boat” and “Giant,” and who collaborated with George S. Kaufman on such plays as “Stage Door” and “Dinner at Eight,” died in New York at age 82.
In 1972, Apollo 16 blasted off on a voyage to the moon with astronauts John W. Young, Charles M. Duke Jr. and Ken Mattingly on board.
In 1986, dispelling rumors he was dead, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi (MOO’-ah-mar gah-DAH’-fee) appeared on television to condemn the U.S. raid on his country and to say that Libyans were “ready to die” defending their nation.
In 1996, Britain’s Prince Andrew and his wife, Sarah, the Duchess of York, announced they were in the process of divorcing.
In 2007, in one of America’s worst school attacks, a Korean-born college senior killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech before taking his own life.
Ten years ago: The Supreme Court upheld, 7-2, the most widely used method of lethal injection, allowing states to resume executions after a seven-month halt. Pope Benedict XVI was welcomed by President George W. Bush as only the second pontiff to visit the White House (after John Paul II) and the first in 29 years. Mathematician-meteorologist Edward Lorenz, the father of “chaos theory,” died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at age 90.
Five years ago: Federal agents zeroed in on how the Boston Marathon bombing the day before was carried out — with kitchen pressure cookers packed with explosives, nails and other lethal shrapnel — but said they didn’t know yet who had done it, or why. An envelope addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., tested positive for ricin (RY’-sin), a potentially fatal poison. (A Mississippi man later pleaded guilty to sending letters dusted with ricin to Wicker, President Barack Obama and a judge.) NFL player-turned-broadcaster Pat Summerall, 82, died in Dallas.
One year ago: Robert Godwin Sr., a 74-year-old retiree, was shot to death along a Cleveland street; authorities said his random killing was posted on Facebook by the gunman who killed himself during a police chase in Erie, Pennsylvania, two days later. U.S. officials said a North Korean medium-range missile exploded seconds after launch, a high-profile failure that came hours before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrived in South Korea for a visit at the start of a 10-day trip to Asia. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH’-jehp TY’-ihp UR’-doh-wahn) won a historic referendum greatly expanding the powers of his office, although opposition parties questioned the outcome.
Today’s Birthdays: Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI is 91. Actor Peter Mark Richman is 91. Singer Bobby Vinton is 83. Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II is 78. Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 71. Former Massachusetts first lady Ann Romney is 69. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is 67. NFL coach Bill Belichick is 66. Rock singer and former politician Peter Garrett is 65. Actress Ellen Barkin is 64. Actor Michel Gill is 58. Rock musician Jason Scheff (Chicago) is 56. Singer Jimmy Osmond is 55. Rock singer David Pirner (Soul Asylum) is 54. Actor-comedian Martin Lawrence is 53. Actor Jon Cryer is 53. Rock musician Dan Rieser is 52. Actor Peter Billingsley is 47. Actor Lukas Haas is 42. Actress-singer Kelli O’Hara is 42. Actress Claire Foy (TV: “The Crown”) is 34. Figure skater Mirai Nagasu is 25. Actress Sadie Sink is 16.
Thought for Today: “A closed country is a dying country… A closed mind is a dying mind.” — Edna Ferber (1887-1968).
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