Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 27, 1978, 51 construction workers plunged to their deaths when a scaffold inside a cooling tower at the Pleasants Power Station site in West Virginia fell 168 feet to the ground.
On this date:
In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed by natives in the Philippines.
In 1791, the inventor of the telegraph, Samuel Morse, was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts.
In 1810, Ludwig van Beethoven wrote one of his most famous piano compositions, the Bagatelle in A-minor.
In 1822, the 18th president of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant, was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio.
In 1865, the steamer Sultana, carrying freed Union prisoners of war, exploded on the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tennessee; death toll estimates vary from 1,500 to 2,000.
In 1941, German forces occupied Athens during World War II.
In 1973, acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray resigned after it was revealed that he’d destroyed files removed from the safe of Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt.
In 1982, the trial of John W. Hinckley Jr., who shot four people, including President Ronald Reagan, began in Washington. (The trial ended with Hinckley’s acquittal by reason of insanity.)
In 1994, former President Richard M. Nixon was remembered at an outdoor funeral service attended by all five of his successors at the Nixon presidential library in Yorba Linda, California.
In 2009, a 23-month-old Mexico City toddler died at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, becoming the first swine-flu death on U.S. soil.
In 2010, former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was extradited from the United States to France, where he was later convicted of laundering drug money and received a seven-year sentence.
In 2015, rioters plunged part of Baltimore into chaos, torching a pharmacy, setting police cars ablaze and throwing bricks at officers hours after thousands attended a funeral for Freddie Gray, a Black man who died from a severe spinal injury he’d suffered in police custody; the Baltimore Orioles’ home game against the Chicago White Sox was postponed because of safety concerns.
Ten years ago: Powerful tornadoes raked the South and Midwest; according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, more than 120 twisters resulted in 316 deaths. An Afghan officer, Col. Ahmed Gul, killed eight U.S. airmen and one U.S. civilian during a routine meeting at an Afghan air force headquarters compound in Kabul; Gul died in an exchange of fire that followed his attack. Responding to critics’ relentless claims, President Barack Obama produced a detailed Hawaii birth certificate in an extraordinary attempt to bury the issue of where he’d been born and confirm his legitimacy to hold office.
Five years ago: Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was sentenced in Chicago to more than a year in prison in a hush-money case that revealed accusations he’d sexually abused teenagers while coaching high school wrestling. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill allowing mental health counselors to refuse to treat patients based on the therapist’s religious or personal beliefs.
One year ago: In a call with governors, President Donald Trump said states should “seriously consider” reopening public schools before the end of the academic year. Attorney General William Barr told federal prosecutors to “be on the lookout” for state and local coronavirus-related restrictions that could be unconstitutional. New York canceled its June Democratic presidential primary because of the pandemic. The family of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was shot to death in her home by officers serving a narcotics warrant, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Louisville, Kentucky and its police department. (The suit would be settled in September.) Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, sentenced to 10 years in prison in a corruption case in 2014, was released early because of the coronavirus.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Anouk Aimee is 89. Rock musician Jim Keltner is 79.
Rock singer Kate Pierson (The B-52?s) is 73. R&B singer Herb Murrell (The Stylistics) is 72. Actor Douglas Sheehan is 72. Rock musician Ace Frehley is 70. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is 70. Pop singer Sheena Easton is 62. Actor James Le Gros (groh) is 59. Rock musician Rob Squires (Big Head Todd and the Monsters) is 56. Singer Mica (MEE’-shah) Paris is 52. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., is 52. Actor David Lascher is 49. Actor Maura West is 49. Actor Sally Hawkins is 45. Rock singer Jim James (My Morning Jacket) is 43. Rock musician Patrick Hallahan (My Morning Jacket) is 43. Rock singer-musician Travis Meeks (Days of the New) is 42. Country musician John Osborne (Brothers Osborne) is 39. Actor Francis Capra is 38. Actor Ari Graynor is 38. Rock singer-musician Patrick Stump (Fall Out Boy) is 37. Actor Sheila Vand is 36. Actor Jenna Coleman is 35. Actor William Moseley is 34. Singer Lizzo is 33. Actor Emily Rios is 32. Singer Allison Iraheta is 29.