Today in History – Martin Luther King and more


From Associated Press in the USA:

Today in History – April 4

Today is Saturday, April 4, the 94th day of 2009. There are 271 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., 39, was shot to death at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. (James Earl Ray later pleaded guilty to assassinating King, then spent the rest of his life claiming his innocence before dying in prison in 1998.)

James Earl Ray, a Southern racist, called himself Eric S. Galt, as he was a follower of pro capitalist ideologist Ayn Rand (and of Adolf Hitler).

This video is called Martin Luther King, “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam”.

Newly discovered MLK photos from the day he died: here.

On this date:

In 1818, Congress decided the United States flag 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 1859, 150 years ago, “Dixie” was performed publicly for the first time by Bryant’s Minstrels at Mechanics’ Hall in New York. (The song is popularly attributed to Daniel Decatur Emmett, although his authorship has been called into question.)

In 1887, Susanna Madora Salter became the first woman elected mayor of an American community: Argonia, Kan.

In 1945, during World War II, U.S. troops on Okinawa encountered the first significant resistance from Japanese forces at the Machinato Line.

In 1949, 12 nations, including the United States, signed the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington.

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 take off from Saigon.

In 1979, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the deposed prime minister of Pakistan, was hanged after he was convicted of conspiring to murder a political opponent.

This was a sham trial under military dictator Zia ul-Haq.

In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger roared into orbit on its maiden voyage.

Ten years ago: NATO warplanes and missiles attacked an army headquarters, oil refineries and other targets in and around Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

One year ago: Texas authorities started removing the first of more than 400 girls from a compound built by a polygamist sect. …

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Elizabeth Wilson is 88. Author-poet Maya Angelou is 81. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., is 77. … Bandleader Hugh Masekela [see also here] is 70.

On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds after its takeoff from Cape Canaveral in Florida, killing all seven crew members, including school teacher Christa McAuliffe. It was the worst disaster in the history of space exploration to that point: here.