TODAY IN HISTORY


Today is Thursday, April 16, the 107th day of 2020. There are 259 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 16, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in which the civil rights activist responded to a group of local clergymen who had criticized him for leading street protests; King defended his tactics, writing, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

On this date:

In 1789, President-elect George Washington left Mount Vernon, Virginia, for his inauguration in New York.

In 1889, comedian and movie director Charles Chaplin was born in London.

In 1947, the cargo ship Grandcamp, carrying ammonium nitrate, blew up in the harbor in Texas City, Texas; a nearby ship, the High Flyer, which was carrying ammonium nitrate and sulfur, caught fire and exploded the following day; the blasts and fires killed nearly 600 people. At the South Carolina statehouse, financier Bernard M. Baruch declared: “Let us not be deceived — we are today in the midst of a cold war.”

In 1960, shortly before midnight, rock-and-roll performer Eddie Cochran, 21, was fatally injured in a taxi crash in Chippenham, Wiltshire, England (he died the next day).

In 1972, Apollo 16 blasted off on a voyage to the moon with astronauts John W. Young, Charles M. Duke Jr. and Ken Mattingly on board.

In 1977, Alex Haley, author of the best-seller “Roots,” visited the Gambian village of Juffure, where, he believed, his ancestor Kunte Kinte was captured as a slave in 1767.

In 2007, in one of America’s worst school attacks, a college senior killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech before taking his own life.

Today’s Birthdays: Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI is 93. Actor Peter Mark Richman is 93. Singer Bobby Vinton is 85. Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II is 80. Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 73. Former Massachusetts first lady Ann Romney is 71. NFL coach Bill Belichick is 68. Rock singer and former politician Peter Garrett is 67. Actress Ellen Barkin is 66. Actor Michel Gill is 60. Rock musician Jason Scheff (Chicago) is 58. Singer Jimmy Osmond is 57.

Thought for Today: “We think too much and feel too little.” — Charles Chaplin, English actor-comedian-director (born this date in 1889, died in 1977).