Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 8, 1994, Kurt Cobain, singer and guitarist for the grunge band Nirvana, was found dead in Seattle from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound; he was 27.
On this date:
In 1864, the United States Senate passed, 38-6, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolishing slavery. (The House of Representatives passed it in January 1865; the amendment was ratified and adopted in December 1865.)
In 1911, an explosion at the Banner Coal Mine in Littleton, Alabama, claimed the lives of 128 men, most of them convicts loaned out from prisons.
In 1913, the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, providing for popular election of U.S. senators (as opposed to appointment by state legislatures), was ratified. President Woodrow Wilson became the first chief executive since John Adams to address Congress in person as he asked lawmakers to enact tariff reform.
In 1952, President Harry S. Truman seized the American steel industry to avert a nationwide strike. (The Supreme Court later ruled that Truman had overstepped his authority, opening the way for a seven-week strike by steelworkers.)
In 1961, a suspected bomb exploded aboard the passenger liner MV Dara in the Persian Gulf, causing it to sink; 238 of the 819 people aboard were killed.
In 1963, “Lawrence of Arabia” won the Oscar for best picture at the Academy Awards; Gregory Peck won best actor for “To Kill a Mockingbird” while Anne Bancroft received best actress honors for “The Miracle Worker.”
In 1974, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hit his 715th career home run in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, breaking Babe Ruth’s record.
In 1988, TV evangelist Jimmy Swaggart resigned from the Assemblies of God after he was defrocked for rejecting an order from the church’s national leaders to stop preaching for a year amid reports he had consorted with a prostitute.
In 1990, Ryan White, the teenage AIDS patient whose battle for acceptance had gained national attention, died in Indianapolis at age 18.
In 1993, singer Marian Anderson died in Portland, Oregon, at age 96.
In 2003, kidnapper-rapist John Jamelske, who had imprisoned five women and girls, one after another, as sex slaves inside a makeshift dungeon in his DeWitt, New York, home, was arrested. (Jamelske, who pleaded guilty to five counts of first-degree kidnapping, is serving an 18 years-to-life sentence in a maximum-security prison.)
In 2013, President Barack Obama warned Congress not to use delaying tactics against tighter gun regulations and told families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims during a visit to Hartford, Connecticut, that he was “determined as ever” to honor their children with tougher laws. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, 87, died in London. Actress and former Disney “Mouseketeer” Annette Funicello, 70, died in Bakersfield, California.
Ten years ago: Somali pirates hijacked the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama; although the crew was able to retake the cargo ship, the captain, Richard Phillips, was taken captive by the raiders and held aboard a lifeboat. (Phillips was rescued four days later by Navy SEAL snipers who shot three of the pirates dead.) A Russian spacecraft carrying a crew of three, including U.S. billionaire space tourist Charles Simonyi, landed safely in Kazakhstan. David “Pop” Winans Sr., patriarch of the award-winning Winans gospel music family, died in Nashville, Tennessee, at age 74.
Five years ago: The U.S. said it would keep its current force of 450 land-based nuclear missiles but remove 50 from their launch silos as part of a plan to bring the U.S. into compliance with a 2011 US-Russia arms control treaty. Breanna Stewart scored 21 points and Stefanie Dolson added 17 points and 16 rebounds to help UConn beat Notre Dame 79-58, giving the Huskies a record ninth women’s national championship.
One year ago: Patrick Reed won the Masters golf tournament for his first victory in a major, turning back late challenges from Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth. Chuck McCann, a zany comic who hosted a children’s TV show in the 1960s before branching out as a character actor in films and on TV, died of congestive heart failure at a Los Angeles hospital; he was 83.
Today’s Birthdays: Comedian Shecky Greene is 93. Author and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh is 82. Basketball Hall of Famer John Havlicek is 79. “Mouseketeer” Darlene Gillespie is 78. Singer Peggy Lennon (The Lennon Sisters) is 78. Songwriter-producer Leon Huff is 77. Actor Stuart Pankin is 73. Rock musician Steve Howe is 72. Former House Republican Leader Tom DeLay is 72. Movie director John Madden is 70. Rock musician Mel Schacher (Grand Funk Railroad) is 68. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is 64. Actor John Schneider is 59. “Survivor” winner Richard Hatch is 58. Rock musician Izzy Stradlin is 57. Singer Julian Lennon is 56. Actor Dean Norris is 56. Rock singer-musician Donita Sparks is 56. Rapper Biz Markie is 55. Actress Robin Wright is 53. Actress Patricia Arquette is 51. Actor JR Bourne is 49. Rock singer Craig Honeycutt (Everything) is 49. Rock musician Darren Jessee is 48. Actress Emma Caulfield is 46. Actress Katee Sackhoff is 39. Actor Taylor Kitsch is 38. Rock singer-musician Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend) is 35. Actor Taran Noah Smith is 35. Actress Kirsten Storms is 35. Rock musician Jamie Sierota is 26. Actress Sadie Calvano is 22.
Thought for Today: “Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.” — Pablo Picasso, Spanish artist (born 1881, died this date in 1973).