Today is Thursday, April 8, the 98th day of 2021. There are 267 days left in the year.
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.
Wednesday, April 7, the 97th day of 2021. There are 268 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 7, 1915, jazz singer-songwriter Billie Holiday, also known as “Lady Day,” was born in Philadelphia.
On this date:
In 1862, Union forces led by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant defeated the Confederates at the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee.
In 1922, the Teapot Dome scandal had its beginnings as Interior Secretary Albert B. Fall signed a secret deal to lease U.S. Navy petroleum reserves in Wyoming and California to his friends, oilmen Harry F. Sinclair and Edward L. Doheny, in exchange for cash gifts.
In 1927, the image and voice of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover were transmitted live from Washington to New York in the first successful long-distance demonstration of television.
In 1945, during World War II, American planes intercepted and effectively destroyed a Japanese fleet, which included the battleship Yamato, that was headed to Okinawa on a suicide mission.
In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower held a news conference in which he spoke of the importance of containing the spread of communism in Indochina, saying, “You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly.” (This became known as the “domino theory,” although Eisenhower did not use that term.)
In 1957, shortly after midnight, the last of New York’s electric trolleys completed its final run from Queens to Manhattan.
In 1962, nearly 1,200 Cuban exiles tried by Cuba for their roles in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion were convicted of treason.
In 1966, the U.S. Navy recovered a hydrogen bomb that the U.S. Air Force had lost in the Mediterranean Sea off Spain following a B-52 crash.
In 1984, the Census Bureau reported Los Angeles had overtaken Chicago as the nation’s “second city” in terms of population.
In 1994, civil war erupted in Rwanda, a day after a mysterious plane crash claimed the lives of the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi; in the months that followed, hundreds of thousands of minority Tutsi and Hutu moderates were slaughtered by Hutu extremists.
In 2010, North Korea said it had convicted and sentenced an American man to eight years in a labor prison for entering the country illegally and unspecified hostile acts. (Aijalon Mahli Gomes was freed in August 2010 after former U.S. President Jimmy Carter secured his release.)
In 2015, Michael Thomas Slager, a white South Carolina police officer, was charged with murder in the shooting death of Black motorist Walter Lamer Scott after law enforcement officials saw a cellphone video taken by a bystander. (Slager pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges and was sentenced to 20 years in prison; prosecutors agreed to drop state murder charges that remained after a jury couldn’t agree whether he had committed a crime.)
Ten years ago: A man shot and killed 12 children at the Tasso da Silveira public school in Rio de Janeiro; the gunman, a onetime student at the school, shot and killed himself after being cornered by police. A powerful aftershock struck Japan near the same area that had been devastated by a mighty earthquake and tsunami nearly a month earlier; no giant wave or loss of life was reported.
Five years ago: Russian President Vladimir Putin denied any links to offshore accounts and described the Panama Papers document leaks scandal as part of a U.S.-led plot to weaken Russia. In a brazen assault near the Syrian capital, Islamic State militants abducted 300 cement workers and contractors from their workplace northeast of Damascus. “American Idol” crowned 24-year-old Trent Harmon its 15th and final winner as the influential TV show came to an end.
One year ago: Wisconsin went ahead with in-person voting after the state Supreme Court blocked the governor’s order to postpone the primary; thousands waited in line in Milwaukee amid fears that the voting would bring a spike in the state’s coronavirus cases. Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned after lambasting the officer he’d fired as the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which had been stricken by a coronavirus outbreak; James McPherson was appointed as acting Navy secretary. President Donald Trump removed Glenn Fine, the acting Defense Department inspector general, who was supposed to oversee the $2.2 trillion rescue package for businesses and individuals affected by the coronavirus.
Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Bobby Bare is 86. R&B singer Charlie Thomas (The Drifters) is 84. Former California Gov. Jerry Brown is 83. Movie director Francis Ford Coppola is 82. Actor Roberta Shore is 78. Singer Patricia Bennett (The Chiffons) is 74. Singer John Oates is 73. Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is 72. Singer Janis Ian is 70. Country musician John Dittrich is 70. Actor Jackie Chan is 67. College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett is 67. Actor Russell Crowe is 57. Christian/jazz singer Mark Kibble (Take 6) is 57. Actor Bill Bellamy is 56. Rock musician Dave “Yorkie” Palmer (Space) is 56. Rock musician Charlie Hall (The War on Drugs) is 47. Former football player-turned-analyst Tiki Barber is 46. Actor Heather Burns is 46. Christian rock singer-musician John Cooper (Skillet) is 46. Actor Kevin Alejandro is 45. Retired baseball infielder Adrian Beltre is 42. Actor Sian Clifford is 39. Rock musician Ben McKee (Imagine Dragons) is 36. Christian rock singer Tauren Wells is 35. Actor Ed Speleers is 33. Actor Conner Rayburn is 22.