Today in history: Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated in 1968
By the Associated Press
Today is Thursday, April 4, the 94th day of 2019. There are 271 days left in the year.
On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., 39, was shot and killed while standing on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee; his slaying was followed by a wave of rioting Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Chicago were among cities particularly hard hit. Suspected gunman James Earl Ray later pleaded guilty to assassinating King, then spent the rest of his life claiming he’d been the victim of a setup.
On this date:
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 1917, the U.S. Senate voted 82-6 in favor of declaring war against Germany. The House followed suit two days later by a vote of 373-50.
In 1933, the Navy airship USS Akron crashed in severe weather off the New Jersey coast with the loss of 73 lives.
In 1945, during World War II, U.S. forces liberated the Nazi concentration camp Ohrdruf in Germany. Hungary was liberated as Soviet forces cleared out remaining German troops.
In 1949, 12 nations, including the United States, signed the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington, D.C.
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 takeoff from Saigon. Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
In 1976, the film “All the President’s Men,” starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, had its world premiere in Washington, D.C.
In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger roared into orbit on its maiden voyage. It was destroyed in the disaster of January 1986.
In 1988, the Arizona Senate convicted Gov. Evan Mecham of two charges of official misconduct, and removed him from office; Mecham was the first U.S. governor to be impeached and removed from office in nearly six decades.
In 1991, Sen. John Heinz, R-Pa., and six other people, including two children, were killed when a helicopter collided with Heinz’s plane over a schoolyard in Merion, Pennsylvania.
In 2008, Beyonce and Jay-Z were married during a private ceremony in New York.
Ten years ago: A gunman killed three Pittsburgh police officers responding to a domestic disturbance call; Richard Poplawski was later convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Police in Washington state found the body of James Harrison, who’d apparently shot to death five of his children, ages 7 to 16, at their mobile home in Graham. NATO leaders appointed Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmusse the alliance’s new secretary-general during a two-day, 60th-anniversary summit in Strasbourg, France.
Five years ago: An Afghan police officer opened fire on two Associated Press journalists inside a security forces base in eastern Afghanistan, killing prize-winning photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding veteran correspondent Kathy Gannon.
One year ago: Saying the situation had reached “a point of crisis,” President Donald Trump signed a proclamation directing the deployment of the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border to fight illegal immigration. Facebook revealed that tens of millions more people might have been exposed in a privacy scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, a Trump-affiliated data mining firm. After the United States said it would impose 25 percent duties on $50 billion of imports from China, Beijing quickly retaliated by listing $50 billion of products it could hit with its own 25 percent tariffs.
Today’s Birthdays: Former Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., is 87. Recording executive Clive Davis is 87. Author Kitty Kelley is 77. Actor Craig T. Nelson is 75. Actor Walter Charles is 74. Actress Christine Lahti is 69. Country singer Steve Gatlin (The Gatlin Brothers) is 68. Actress Mary-Margaret Humes is 65. Writer-producer David E. Kelley is 63. Actress Constance Shulman is 61. Actor Phil Morris is 60. Actress Lorraine Toussaint is 59. Actor Hugo Weaving is 59. Rock musician Craig Adams (The Cult) is 57.