Today in History

Today the 106th day of 2018. 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 1818, the U.S. Senate ratified the Rush-Bagot Treaty severely limiting the number of American and British military vessels on the Great Lakes.

In 1862, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia.

In 1912, American aviator Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel.

In 1935, the radio comedy program “Fibber McGee and Molly” premiered on the NBC Blue Network.

In 1945, during World War II, a Soviet submarine in the Baltic Sea torpedoed and sank the MV Goya, it’s estimated that up to 7,000 people died.

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 next day; the blasts and fires killed nearly 600.

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 1996, Britain’s Prince Andrew and his wife, Sarah, the Duchess of York, announced they were to divorce.

In 2007, in one of America’s worst school attacks, a Korean-born college senior killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech.

Ten years ago: The Supreme Court upheld, 7-2, the most widely used method of lethal injection, allowing states to resume executions.

Five years ago: An envelope addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., tested positive for ricin, a potentially fatal poison. NFL player-turned-broadcaster Pat Summerall, 82, died in Dallas.

One year ago: Robert Godwin Sr., a 74-year-old retiree, was shot to death along a Cleveland street; authorities said his random killing was posted on Facebook by the gunman who killed himself during a police chase in Erie, Pa., two days later.

Today’s Birthdays: Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI is 91. Actor Peter Mark Richman is 91. Singer Bobby Vinton is 83. Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 71. Former Massachusetts first lady Ann Romney is 69. NFL coach Bill Belichick is 66. Rock singer and former politician Peter Garrett is 65. Actress Ellen Barkin is 64. Actor Michel Gill is 58. Rock musician Jason Scheff (Chicago) is 56. Singer Jimmy Osmond is 55. Actor Jon Cryer is 53. Rock musician Dan Rieser is 52. Actor Peter Billingsley is 47.

Thought for Today: “A closed country is a dying country… A closed mind is a dying mind.” — Edna Ferber (1887-1968).