Today is Easter Sunday, April 4, the 94th day of 2021. There are 271 days left in the year.
Highlight in History:
On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., 39, was shot and killed while standing on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee; his slaying was followed by a wave of rioting (Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Chicago were among cities particularly hard hit.) Suspected gunman James Earl Ray later pleaded guilty to assassinating King, then spent the rest of his life claiming he’d been the victim of a setup.
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 1850, the city of Los Angeles was incorporated.
In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln, accompanied by his son Tad, visited the vanquished Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, where he was greeted by a crowd that included former slaves.
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 1945, during World War II, U.S. forces liberated the Nazi concentration camp Ohrdruf in Germany. Hungary was liberated as Soviet forces cleared out remaining German troops.
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 January 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: Yielding to political opposition, the Obama administration gave up on trying avowed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators in civilian federal courts and said it would prosecute them instead before military commissions.
Five years 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.
One year ago: President Donald Trump warned that the country could be heading into its “toughest” weeks yet as the coronavirus death toll mounted, but he also expressed growing impatience with social distancing guidelines; he said of the virus-related shutdowns, “The cure cannot be worse than the problem.”
Today’s Birthdays: Recording executive Clive Davis is 89. Author Kitty Kelley is 79. Actor Craig T. Nelson is 77. Actor Walter Charles is 76. Actor Christine Lahti is 71. Country singer Steve Gatlin (The Gatlin Brothers) is 70. Actor Mary-Margaret Humes is 67.