Today in History


Today is Saturday, April 8, the 98th day of 2023. There are 267 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 8, 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.

On this date:

In 1513, explorer Juan Ponce de Leon and his expedition began exploring the Florida coastline.

In 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.)

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 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered a freeze on wages and prices to combat inflation.

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 1973, artist Pablo Picasso died in Mougins (MOO’-zhun), France, at age 91.

In 1990, Ryan White, the teenage AIDS patient whose battle for acceptance had gained national attention, died in Indianapolis at age 18.

In 1992, tennis great Arthur Ashe announced at a New York news conference that he had AIDS (Ashe died the following February of AIDS-related pneumonia at age 49).

In 1993, singer Marian Anderson died in Portland, Oregon, at age 96.

In 2010, President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the New START treaty in Prague.

In 2020, 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.

Ten years ago: President Barack Obama warned Congress not to use delaying tactics against tighter gun regulations and told families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims during a visit to Hartford, Connecticut, that he was “determined as ever” to honor their children with tougher laws. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, 87, died in London. Actress and former Disney “Mouseketeer” Annette Funicello, 70, died in Bakersfield, California. Rick Pitino, who coached Louisville in the NCAA championship game, was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame along with former NBA stars Bernard King and Gary Payton, former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian, North Carolina women’s coach Sylvia Hatchell, former University of Houston coach Guy Lewis and former University of Virginia star Dawn Staley.

Five years ago: Patrick Reed won the Masters golf tournament for his first victory in a major, turning back late challenges from Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth. Chuck McCann, a zany comic who hosted a children’s TV show in the 1960s before branching out as a character actor in films and on TV, died of congestive heart failure at a Los Angeles hospital; he was 83.

One year ago: Ukrainian authorities said a missile hit a train station where thousands of people had flocked to flee in eastern Ukraine, killing at least 50 people. Photos from the scene showed bodies covered with tarps on the ground and the remnants of a rocket with the words “For the children” painted on it in Russian. Tearfully embracing a history-making moment for the nation, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said that her confirmation a day earlier as the first Black woman to the Supreme Court showed the progress of America, declaring, ″We’ve made it — all of us.” The motion picture academy has banned Will Smith from attending the Oscars or any other academy event for 10 years following his slap of Chris Rock at the Academy Awards.

Today’s Birthdays: Comedian Shecky Greene is 97. Author and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh is 86. “Mouseketeer” Darlene Gillespie is 82. Singer Peggy Lennon (The Lennon Sisters) is 82. Songwriter-producer Leon Huff is 81. Actor Stuart Pankin is 77. Rock musician Steve Howe (Yes) is 76. Former House Republican leader Tom DeLay is 76. Movie director John Madden is 74. Rock musician Mel Schacher (Grand Funk Railroad) is 72. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is 68. Actor John Schneider is 63. “Survivor” winner Richard Hatch is 62. Rock musician Izzy Stradlin is 61. Singer Julian Lennon is 60. Actor Dean Norris is 60. Rock singer-musician Donita Sparks (L7) is 60. Actor Robin Wright is 57. Actor Patricia Arquette is 55. Actor JR Bourne is 53. Rock singer Craig Honeycutt (Everything) is 53. Rock musician Darren Jessee (Ben Folds Five) is 52. Actor Emma Caulfield is 50. Actor Katee Sackhoff is 43. Actor Taylor Kitsch is 42. Rock singer-musician Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend) is 39. Actor Taran Noah Smith is 39. Actor Kirsten Storms is 39. Actor Sadie Calvano is 26.

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