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Today in History

Today in History

Today is Tuesday, April 4, the 94th day of 2017. There are 271 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., 39, was shot and killed on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

On this date:

In 1818, Congress decided the flag of the United States would consist of 13 red and white stripes and 20 stars, with a new star to be added for every new state of the Union.

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 1859, “Dixie” was performed publicly for the first time by Bryant’s Minstrels at Mechanics’ Hall in New York.

In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln, in a letter to Kentucky newspaper editor Albert G. Hodges, wrote: “I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me.”

In 1887, Susanna Madora Salter became the first woman elected mayor of an American community: Argonia, Kansas.

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 1949, 12 nations, including the United States, signed the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington, D.C.

In 1958, Johnny Stompanato, an enforcer for crime boss Mickey Cohen and the boyfriend of actress Lana Turner, was stabbed to death by Turner’s teenage daughter, Cheryl Crane, who said Stompanato had attacked her mother.

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 Jan. 1986.)

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: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (ah-muh-DEE’-neh-zhahd) announced the surprise release of 15 captive British sailors and marines. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad over White House objections. Radio shock jock Don Imus outraged some of his listeners by disparaging the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as “nappy headed hos.” (Despite an apology, Imus was fired by CBS Radio and cable network MSNBC; he was hired elsewhere by year’s end.)

Five years ago: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney unleashed a strong attack on President Barack Obama’s truthfulness, accusing him of running a “hide-and-seek” re-election campaign in an address to newspaper editors and publishers. A federal judge sentenced five former New Orleans police officers to prison for the deadly Danziger Bridge shootings in the chaotic days following Hurricane Katrina. (The verdicts in the case were later set aside by the judge, who cited prosecutorial misconduct; the officers pleaded guilty in 2016 to reduced charges.)

One year ago: The Supreme Court, in Evenwel v. Abbott, unanimously endorsed election maps that bolstered the growing political influence of America’s Latinos, ruling that states could count everyone, not just eligible voters, in drawing voting districts. A tourist helicopter crashed and burned in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in eastern Tennessee, killing all five people aboard. Kris Jenkins hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Villanova to the national title with a 77-74 victory over North Carolina in one of the wildest finishes in the history of the NCAA Tournament. Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal, Tom Izzo, Sheryl Swoopes, Yao Ming and Jerry Reinsdorf were elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Today’s Birthdays: Former Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., is 85. Recording executive Clive Davis is 85. Bandleader Hugh Masekela is 78. Author Kitty Kelley is 75. Actor Craig T. Nelson is 73. Actor Walter Charles is 72. Actress Christine Lahti is 67. Country singer Steve Gatlin (The Gatlin Brothers) is 66. Actress Mary-Margaret Humes is 63. Writer-producer David E. Kelley is 61. Actress Constance Shulman is 59. Actor Phil Morris is 58. Actress Lorraine Toussaint is 57. Actor Hugo Weaving is 57. Rock musician Craig Adams (The Cult) is 55. Talk show host/comic Graham Norton is 54. Actor David Cross is 53. Actor Robert Downey Jr. is 52. Actress Nancy McKeon is 51. Actor Barry Pepper is 47. Country singer Clay Davidson is 46. Rock singer Josh Todd (Buckcherry) is 46. Singer Jill Scott is 45. Rock musician Magnus Sveningsson (The Cardigans) is 45. Magician David Blaine is 44. Singer Kelly Price is 44. Rhythm-and-blues singer Andre Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) is 43. Country musician Josh McSwain (Parmalee) is 42. Actor James Roday is 41. Actress Natasha Lyonne is 38. Actor Eric Andre is 34. Actress Amanda Righetti is 34. Actress-singer Jamie Lynn Spears is 26. Actress Daniela Bobadilla is 24. Pop singer Austin Mahone (muh-HOHN’) is 21.

Thought for Today: “Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.” — Og Mandino (man-DEE’-noh), American author (1923-1996).

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