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Today in History

Today in History

Today is Good Friday, April 14, the 104th day of 2017. There are 261 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth during a performance of “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theater in Washington.

On this date:

In 1775, the first American society for the abolition of slavery was formed in Philadelphia.

In 1828, the first edition of Noah Webster’s “American Dictionary of the English Language” was published.

In 1912, the British liner RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic at 11:40 p.m. ship’s time and began sinking. (The ship went under two hours and 40 minutes later with the loss of 1,514 lives.)

In 1935, the “Black Sunday” dust storm descended upon the central Plains, turning a sunny afternoon into total darkness.

In 1939, the John Steinbeck novel “The Grapes of Wrath” was first published by Viking Press.

In 1949, the “Wilhelmstrasse Trial” in Nuremberg ended with 19 former Nazi Foreign Office officials sentenced by an American tribunal to prison terms ranging from four to 25 years.

In 1956, Ampex Corp. demonstrated the first practical videotape recorder at the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters Convention in Chicago.

In 1965, the state of Kansas hanged Richard Hickock and Perry Smith for the 1959 murders of Herbert Clutter, his wife, Bonnie, and two of their children, Nancy and Kenyon. The murders were detailed in the Truman Capote non-fiction novel “In Cold Blood.”

In 1970, President Richard Nixon nominated Harry Blackmun to the U.S. Supreme Court. (The choice of Blackmun, who was unanimously confirmed by the Senate a month later, followed the failed nominations of Clement Haynsworth and G. Harrold Carswell.)

In 1981, the first test flight of America’s first operational space shuttle, the Columbia, ended successfully with a landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

In 1986, Americans got word of a U.S. air raid on Libya (because of the time difference, it was the early morning of April 15 where the attack occurred.) French feminist author Simone de Beauvoir died in Paris at age 78.

In 1994, two U.S. Air Force F-15 warplanes mistakenly shot down two U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters over northern Iraq, killing 26 people, including 15 Americans. Turner Classic Movies made its cable debut; the first film it aired was Ted Turner’s personal favorite, “Gone with the Wind.”

Ten years ago: Riot police beat and detained protesters as thousands defied an official ban and attempted to stage a rally in Moscow against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government. A car bomb exploded near one of Shiite Islam’s holiest shrines in Karbala, Iraq, killing 47 people. Entertainer Don Ho died in Honolulu at age 76.

Five years ago: In Belfast, Northern Ireland, where the RMS Titanic was built, thousands attended a choral requiem at the Anglican St. Anne’s Cathedral or a nationally televised concert at the city’s Waterfront Hall to mark the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking. Eleven Secret Service agents were placed on administrative leave as a deepening scandal involving prostitutes overshadowed President Barack Obama’s diplomatic mission to Latin America. Actor Jonathan Frid, best known for playing Barnabas Collins in the 1960s original vampire soap opera “Dark Shadows”, died in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada at age 87. Guns N’ Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Beastie Boys, folk icon Donovan, late singer-songwriter Laura Nyro and British bands the Small Faces and Faces were among those inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

One year ago: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders aggressively challenged each other’s judgment to be president during a Democratic debate in Brooklyn, New York, sparring over Wall Street banks, how high to raise the minimum wage and gun control. The first of two strong earthquakes struck southern Japan; the temblors killed at least 50 people.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Bradford Dillman is 87. Country singer Loretta Lynn is 85. Actress Julie Christie is 77. Retired MLB All-Star Pete Rose is 76. Rock musician Ritchie Blackmore is 72. Actor John Shea is 68. Actor-turned-race car driver Brian Forster is 57. Actor Brad Garrett is 57. Actor Robert Carlyle is 56. Rock singer-musician John Bell (Widespread Panic) is 55. Actor Robert Clendenin is 53. Actress Catherine Dent is 52. Actor Lloyd Owen is 51. Baseball Hall of Famer Greg Maddux is 51. Rock musician Barrett Martin is 50. Actor Anthony Michael Hall is 49. Actor Adrien Brody is 44. Classical singer David Miller is 44. Rapper DaBrat is 43. Actor Antwon Tanner is 42. Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar is 40. Actor-producer Rob McElhenney is 40. Roots singer JD McPherson is 40. Rock singer Win Butler (Arcade Fire) is 37. Actress Claire Coffee is 37. Actor Christian Alexander is 27. Actor Nick Krause is 25. Actress Vivien Cardone is 24. Actor Graham Phillips is 24. Actress Skyler Samuels is 23. Actress Abigail Breslin is 21.

Thought for Today: “Education … has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.” — George Macaulay Trevelyan, English historian (1876-1962).

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