Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., 39, was shot and killed while standing on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee; his slaying was followed by a wave of rioting (Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Chicago were among cities particularly hard hit.) Suspected gunman James Earl Ray later pleaded guilty to assassinating King, then spent the rest of his life claiming he’d been the victim of a setup.
On this date:
In 1841, President William Henry Harrison succumbed to pneumonia one month after his inaugural, becoming the first U.S. chief executive to die in office.
In 1850, the city of Los Angeles was incorporated.
In 1917, the U.S. Senate voted 82-6 in favor of declaring war against Germany (the House followed suit two days later by a vote of 373-50).
In 1933, the Navy airship USS Akron crashed in severe weather off the New Jersey coast with the loss of 73 lives.
In 1945, during World War II, U.S. forces liberated the Nazi concentration camp Ohrdruf in Germany. Hungary was liberated as Soviet forces cleared out remaining German troops.
In 1975, more than 130 people, most of them children, were killed when a U.S. Air Force transport plane evacuating Vietnamese orphans crash-landed shortly after takeoff from Saigon. Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger roared into orbit on its maiden voyage. (It was destroyed in the disaster of January 1986.)
In 1988, the Arizona Senate convicted Gov. Evan Mecham (MEE’-kuhm) of two charges of official misconduct and removed him from office; Mecham was the first U.S. governor to be impeached and removed from office in nearly six decades.
In 1991, Sen. John Heinz, R-Pa., and six other people, including two children, were killed when a helicopter collided with Heinz’s plane over a schoolyard in Merion, Pennsylvania.
Ten years ago: At least 42 people were killed as suicide attackers detonated car bombs near embassies in Baghdad. A magnitude-7.2 earthquake struck Mexicali, Mexico. A U.S.-Russian space team sent Easter greetings down to Earth after their Soyuz spacecraft docked flawlessly at the International Space Station.
Five years ago: In North Charleston, South Carolina, Walter Scott, a 50-year-old black motorist, was shot to death while running away from a traffic stop; Officer Michael Thomas Slager, seen in a cellphone video opening fire at Scott, was charged with murder. (The charge, which lingered after a first state trial ended in a mistrial, was dropped as part of a deal under which Slager pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights violation; he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.) More than 300 enslaved migrant fishermen, mostly from Myanmar, were brought to freedom by an Indonesia delegation following a dramatic rescue from a remote island that was the result of an Associated Press investigation.
One year ago: President Donald Trump abandoned his threat to immediately seal the southern border and warned instead that he would slap tariffs on cars coming to the U.S. from Mexico unless the Mexicans did more to stop the flow of migrants and drugs. Cardi B. received 21 nominations for the Billboard Music Awards; Drake and Post Malone were close behind with 17 nominations each. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints repealed rules that banned baptisms for children of gay parents and that labeled same-sex couples as sinners eligible for expulsion. Pope Francis named Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory as the new archbishop of Washington D.C., choosing a moderate and the first African-American to lead the archdiocese that had become the epicenter of the clergy sex abuse crisis in the U.S.
Today’s Birthdays: Recording executive Clive Davis is 88. Author Kitty Kelley is 78. Actor Craig T. Nelson is 76. Actor Walter Charles is 75. Actress Christine Lahti is 70. Country singer Steve Gatlin (The Gatlin Brothers) is 69. Actress Mary-Margaret Humes is 66. Writer-producer David E. Kelley is 64. Actress Constance Shulman is 62. Actor Phil Morris is 61. Actress Lorraine Toussaint is 60. Actor Hugo Weaving is 60. Rock musician Craig Adams (The Cult) is 58. Talk show host/comic Graham Norton is 57. Actor David Cross is 56. Actor Robert Downey Jr. is 55. Actress Nancy McKeon is 54. Actor Barry Pepper is 50. Country singer Clay Davidson is 49. Rock singer Josh Todd (Buckcherry) is 49. Singer Jill Scott is 48. Rock musician Magnus Sveningsson (The Cardigans) is 48. Magician David Blaine is 47. Singer Kelly Price is 47. Rhythm-and-blues singer Andre Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) is 46. Country musician Josh McSwain (Parmalee) is 45. Actor James Roday is 44. Actress Natasha Lyonne is 41. Actor Eric Andre is 37. Actress Amanda Righetti is 37. Actress-singer Jamie Lynn Spears is 29. Actress Daniela Bobadilla is 27. Pop singer Austin Mahone (muh-HOHN’) is 24. Actress Aliyah Royale is 20.
Thought for Today: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” — Martin Luther King Junior (1929-1968).