Today is Wednesday, April 8, the 99th day of 2020. There are 267 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 8, 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.)
On this date:
In 1513, explorer Juan Ponce de Leon and his expedition began exploring the Florida coastline.
In 1904, Longacre Square in Manhattan was renamed Times Square after The New York Times.
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 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 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.
In 1990, Ryan White, the teenage AIDS patient whose battle for acceptance had gained national attention, died in Indianapolis at age 18.
In 1993, singer Marian Anderson died in Portland, Oregon, at age 96.
In 1994, Kurt Cobain, singer and guitarist for the grunge band Nirvana, was found dead in Seattle from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound; he was 27.
In 2003, kidnapper-rapist John Jamelske, who had imprisoned five women and girls, one after another, as sex slaves inside a makeshift dungeon in his DeWitt, New York, home, was arrested. (Jamelske, who pleaded guilty to five counts of first-degree kidnapping, is serving an 18 years-to-life sentence in a maximum-security prison.)
In 2009, Somali pirates hijacked the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama; although the crew was able to retake the cargo ship, the captain, Richard Phillips, was taken captive by the raiders and held aboard a lifeboat. (Phillips was rescued four days later by Navy SEAL snipers who shot three of the pirates dead.) A Russian spacecraft carrying a crew of three, including U.S. billionaire space tourist Charles Simonyi, landed safely in Kazakhstan.
Ten years ago: President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the New START treaty in Prague. Authorities in Cancun, Mexico, found the body of Monica Beresford-Redman, the wife of “Pimp My Ride” and former “Survivor” producer Bruce Beresford-Redman, who was convicted by a Mexico court in March 2015 of murdering her and sentenced to 12 years in prison (he was released in 2019.) Malcolm McLaren, 64, former manager of the Sex Pistols, died in Switzerland. Bishop Abel Muzorewa, the first black prime minister of an interim white-dominated government before Zimbabwe’s independence, died six days before his 85th birthday.
Five years ago: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR’ tsahr-NEYE’-ehv) was convicted by a federal jury on all 30 charges against him in the Boston Marathon bombing and found responsible for the deaths of the three people killed in the 2013 attack and the killing of an MIT police officer three days later. (He was sentenced to death the following month.)
One year ago: The United States designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization, an unprecedented declaration against a foreign government. Two U.S. soldiers and a Marine were killed in a Taliban roadside bomb attack near the main American base in Afghanistan. After squandering a 10-point lead, the Virginia Cavaliers pulled away in overtime for an 85-77 victory over Texas Tech in the final game of the NCAA college basketball tournament. Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles set a major league record by going 49 at-bats without a hit, a streak that extended back to mid-September.
Today’s Birthdays: Comedian Shecky Greene is 94. Author and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh is 83. “Mouseketeer” Darlene Gillespie is 79. Singer Peggy Lennon (The Lennon Sisters) is 79. Songwriter-producer Leon Huff is 78. Actor Stuart Pankin is 74. Rock musician Steve Howe is 73. Former House Republican leader Tom DeLay is 73. Movie director John Madden is 71. Rock musician Mel Schacher (Grand Funk Railroad) is 69. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is 65. Actor John Schneider is 60. “Survivor” winner Richard Hatch is 59. Rock musician Izzy Stradlin is 58. Singer Julian Lennon is 57. Actor Dean Norris is 57. Rock singer-musician Donita Sparks is 57. Rapper Biz Markie is 56. Actress Robin Wright is 54. Actress Patricia Arquette is 52. Actor JR Bourne is 50. Rock singer Craig Honeycutt (Everything) is 50. Rock musician Darren Jessee is 49. Actress Emma Caulfield is 47. Actress Katee Sackhoff is 40. Actor Taylor Kitsch is 39. Rock singer-musician Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend) is 36. Actor Taran Noah Smith is 36. Actress Kirsten Storms is 36. Rock musician Jamie Sierota is 27. Actress Sadie Calvano is 23.
Thought for Today: “The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.” — Gen. Omar N. Bradley (1893-1981).