This day in history

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From the archives of History.com…

  • by History.com Editors
    On April 4, 2007, syndicated talk radio host Don Imus ignites a firestorm after making racially disparaging remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team, insulting their appearance and tattoos and, most infamously, calling them “nappy-headed hos.” After a nationwide torrent of …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    As the 1974 Major League Baseball season began, all eyes were on Hank Aaron. He had finished 1973 with 713 career home runs, one shy of the all-time record set by Babe Ruth. On April 4, Opening Day, a 39-year-old Aaron sent the very first pitch he saw over the wall, finally tying Ruth and setting …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    The “Twin Towers” of the World Trade Center officially open in New York City. The buildings replaced the Empire State Building as the world’s tallest building. Though they would only hold that title for a year, they remained a dominant feature of the city’s skyline and were recognizable the world …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    On April 4, 1975, at a time when most Americans used typewriters, childhood friends Bill Gates and Paul Allen found Microsoft, a company that makes computer software. Originally based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Microsoft relocated to Washington State in 1979 and eventually grew into a major …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    On April 4, 2013, one of America’s best-known and most influential movie critics, Roger Ebert, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV for 31 years, dies at age 70 after a battling cancer. In 1975, Ebert started co-hosting a movie review program on TV with fellow …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    During World War I, the Second Battle of the Somme, the first major German offensive in more than a year, ends on the western front. On March 21, 1918, a major offensive against Allied positions in the Somme River region of France began with five hours of bombardment from more than 9,000 pieces of …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    Just after 6 p.m. on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. is fatally shot while standing on the balcony outside his second-story room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. The civil rights leader was in Memphis to support a sanitation workers’ strike and was on his way to dinner when a …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    On this day in 1918, German forces in the throes of a major spring offensive on the Western Front launch a renewed attack on Allied positions between the Somme and Avre Rivers. The first stage of the German offensive, dubbed “Operation Michael,” began March 21, 1918; by the first days of April it …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, delivers a speech entitled “Beyond Vietnam” in front of 3,000 people at Riverside Church in New York City. In it, he says that there is a common link forming between the civil rights and peace movements. …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    According to the recollection of one of his friends, Ward Hill Lamon, President Abraham Lincoln dreams on this night in 1865 of “the subdued sobs of mourners” and a corpse lying on a catafalque in the White House East Room. In the dream, Lincoln asked a soldier standing guard “Who is dead in the …Continue reading

Continue reading and come back for more, tomorrow!

Topics in the news around this time of year…

  • by History.com Editors
    Pirates had not captured a ship sailing under the American flag since the 1820s until April 8, 2009, when the MV Maersk Alabama was hijacked off the coast of Somalia. The high-profile incident drew worldwide attention to the problem of piracy, commonly believed to be a thing of the past, in the …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    On April 30, 2004, the CBS program 60 Minutes reports on abuse of prisoners by American military forces at Abu Ghraib, a prison in Iraq. The report, which featured graphic photographs showing U.S. military personnel torturing and abusing prisoners, shocked the American public and greatly tarnished …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    On April 30, 1997, at exactly 12:11 pm, London's iconic Big Ben clock stops ticking. For 54 minutes, the most famous clock in the world failed to keep time. Completed in 1859, Big Ben has a long history of technical issues. The first bell cast for the tower cracked before it could be installed, and …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    On April 30, 1993, four years after publishing a proposal for “an idea of linked information systems,” computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee released the source code for the world’s first web browser and editor. Originally called Mesh, the browser that he dubbed WorldWideWeb became the first …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    On April 8, 1990, 18-year-old Ryan White dies of pneumonia, due to having contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion. He had been given six months to live in December of 1984 but defied expectations and lived for five more years, during which time his story helped educate the public and dispel …Continue reading
  • Martin Luther King Jr. was a hugely influential figure in American life, and surprised many that he never chose to enter the political arena. But he almost did.Continue reading
  • Locked out of Major League Baseball, black players looked to the Negro Leagues to be treated like the elite athletes they were. And it was all possible because of one man: Rube Foster.Continue reading
  • While Daylight Savings is fairly harmless today, it's origins lie in one of the most violent episodes of world history.Continue reading
  • St. Patrick's Day in 1776 was more than just an Irish-American celebration… it was also a step towards freedom.Continue reading
  • The Medal of Honor is given to America's bravest heroes, and the first people to receive it certainly proved their courage.Continue reading

Stories in the news…

  • by Dave Roos
    The plague ravaged large cities and provincial towns in northern and central Italy from 1629 to 1631, killing more than 45,000 people in Venice alone and wiping out more than half the population of cities like Parma and Verona. But strikingly, some communities were spared. In fact, the northern …Continue reading
  • by Christopher Klein
    The blood remained fresh on the snow outside Boston’s Custom House on the morning of March 6, 1770. Hours earlier, rising tensions between British troops and colonists had exploded into violence when a band of Redcoats opened fire on a crowd that had pelted them with not just taunts, but ice, …Continue reading
  • by Becky Little
    The United States has never delayed a presidential election. But there was one instance in which some wondered if the country should: when the nation was embroiled in the Civil War. The 1864 election was the second U.S. presidential election to take place during wartime (the first was during the …Continue reading
  • by Sarah Pruitt
    For nearly 56 hours after the Apollo 13 mission launched on April 11, 1970, it looked to be the smoothest flight of NASA’s Apollo program so far. The spacecraft ferrying astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise to their planned lunar landing had traveled just over 200,000 miles from …Continue reading
  • by Natasha Frost
    For millennia, a diagnosis of leprosy meant a life sentence of social isolation. People afflicted with the condition now known as Hansen’s disease—a bacterial infection that ravages the skin and nerves and can cause painful deformities—were typically ripped from their families, showered with …Continue reading
  • by Patrick J. Kiger
    Every year, millions of Americans have to amass their financial records and fill out forms—or pay professionals to do it for them—in order to file their federal tax returns. It’s an annual ritual that traditionally takes place in the spring, though in 2020, the Internal Revenue Service delayed the …Continue reading
  • by Sarah Pruitt
    While scholars generally agree that Jesus was a real historical figure, debate has long raged around the events and circumstances of his life as depicted in the Bible. In particular, there’s been some confusion in the past about what language Jesus spoke, as a man living during the first century …Continue reading
  • by Dave Roos
    In 1934, a doctor at a private boy’s school in Pennsylvania tried a unique method to stave off a potentially deadly measles outbreak. Dr. J. Roswell Gallagher extracted blood serum from a student who had recently recovered from a serious measles infection and began injecting the plasma into 62 …Continue reading
  • by Volker Janssen
    In the 1950s, the polio virus terrified American families. Parents tried “social distancing”—ineffectively and out of fear. Polio was not part the life they had signed up for. In the otherwise comfortable World War II era, the spread of polio showed that middle-class families could not build worlds …Continue reading
  • by Ellen DuBois
    The year 1917 was highly consequential for the suffrage movement. Having lost the chance to defeat the reelection of President Woodrow Wilson, who had initially been lukewarm toward suffrage, activists set their sights on securing voting rights for women by the 1920 presidential election. One wing …Continue reading
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