Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 8, 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.)
On this date:
In 1513, explorer Juan Ponce de Leon and his expedition began exploring the Florida coastline.
In 1820, the Venus de Milo statue was discovered by a farmer on the Greek island of Milos.
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 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 1987, Al Campanis, vice president of player personnel for the Los Angeles Dodgers, resigned after saying on ABC’s “Nightline” that Blacks might lack some of the “necessities” for becoming baseball managers.
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 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.
In 2009, 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.)
Ten years ago: Congressional and White House negotiators struck a last-minute budget deal ahead of a midnight deadline, averting an embarrassing federal shutdown and cutting billions in spending.
Five years ago: In a sweeping document on family life that opened a door to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, Pope Francis insisted that church doctrine could not be the final word in answering tricky moral questions and that Catholics had to be guided by their own informed consciences. Bruce Springsteen canceled a scheduled concert in Greensboro, North Carolina, citing the state’s new law blocking anti-discrimination rules covering the LGBT community. N.W.A. entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during a ceremony at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center with 1970s-era rock acts Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple and Steve Miller.
One year ago: A 76-day lockdown was lifted in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the global pandemic began; residents would have to use a smartphone app showing that they had not been in recent contact with anyone confirmed to have the virus. Sen. Bernie Sanders ended his presidential bid, making Joe Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee to challenge President Donald Trump.
Today’s Birthdays: Comedian Shecky Greene is 95. Author and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh is 84. “Mouseketeer” Darlene Gillespie is 80. Singer Peggy Lennon (The Lennon Sisters) is 80. Songwriter-producer Leon Huff is 79. Actor Stuart Pankin is 75. Rock musician Steve Howe is 74. Former House Republican leader Tom DeLay is 74. Movie director John Madden is 72. Rock musician Mel Schacher (Grand Funk Railroad) is 70. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is 66. Actor John Schneider is 61. “Survivor” winner Richard Hatch is 60. Rock musician Izzy Stradlin is 59. Singer Julian Lennon is 58. Actor Dean Norris is 58. Rock singer-musician Donita Sparks is 58. Rapper Biz Markie is 57. Actor Robin Wright is 55. Actor Patricia Arquette is 53. Actor JR Bourne is 51. Rock singer Craig Honeycutt (Everything) is 51. Rock musician Darren Jessee is 50. Actor Emma Caulfield is 48. Actor Katee Sackhoff is 41. Actor Taylor Kitsch is 40.
Rock singer-musician Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend) is 37. Actor Taran Noah Smith is 37. Actor Kirsten Storms is 37. Actor Sadie Calvano is 24.