Today in History

Today in History

Today is Friday, April 9, the 99th day of 2021. There are 266 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 9, 1939, Marian Anderson performed a concert at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., after the Black singer was denied the use of Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

On this date:

In 1682, French explorer Robert de La Salle claimed the Mississippi River Basin for France.

In 1865, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

In 1940, during World War II, Germany invaded Denmark and Norway.

In 1942, during World War II, some 75,000 Philippine and American defenders on Bataan surrendered to Japanese troops, who forced the prisoners into what became known as the Bataan Death March; thousands died or were killed en route.

In 1959, NASA presented its first seven astronauts: Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard and Donald Slayton. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright, 91, died in Phoenix, Arizona.

In 1963, British statesman Winston Churchill was proclaimed an honorary U.S. citizen by President John F. Kennedy. (Churchill, unable to attend, watched the proceedings live on television in his London home.)

In 1967, the first test flight of Boeing’s new 737 took place as the jetliner took off from Boeing Field in Seattle on a 2½-hour trip to Paine Field in Everett, Washington.

In 1968, funeral services, private and public, were held for Martin Luther King Jr. at the Ebenezer Baptist Church and Morehouse College in Atlanta, five days after the civil rights leader was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

In 1979, officials declared an end to the crisis involving the Three Mile Island Unit 2 nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania, 12 days after a partial core meltdown.

In 2003, jubilant Iraqis celebrated the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, beheading a toppled statue of their longtime ruler in downtown Baghdad and embracing American troops as liberators.

In 2005, Britain’s Prince Charles married longtime love Camilla Parker Bowles, who took the title Duchess of Cornwall.

In 2010, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement. (His vacancy was filled by Elena Kagan.)

Ten years ago: A man armed with several weapons opened fire in a crowded shopping mall in the Netherlands, killing six people before taking his own life. Sidney Lumet, the award-winning director of such American film classics as “Network,” “Serpico,” “Dog Day Afternoon” and “12 Angry Men,” died in New York at age 86.

Five years ago: After weeks of frantic searching, Belgian authorities announced they had identified recently detained Paris attacks suspect Mohamed Abrini as the “man with the hat” who was spotted alongside two suicide bombers who blew themselves up at Brussels Airport the previous month.

One year ago: The government reported that 6.6 million people had sought unemployment benefits in the preceding week, bringing the total to 16.8 million in the three weeks since the coronavirus outbreak took hold. New York recorded another 799 deaths from the virus; it was the third straight day in which the daily total reached a new high. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved out of intensive care at the London hospital where he was being treated for the virus. The Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones, telling him to stop pitching bogus remedies for the coronavirus.

Today’s Birthdays: Satirical songwriter and mathematician Tom Lehrer is 93. Actor Jean-Paul Belmondo is 88. Actor Michael Learned is 82. Country singer Margo Smith is 79. Actor Dennis Quaid is 67. Comedian Jimmy Tingle is 66. Country musician Dave Innis (Restless Heart) is 62. Talk show host Joe Scarborough is 58. Actor-sports reporter Lisa Guerrero is 57. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is 57. Actor Mark Pellegrino is 56. Actor-model Paulina Porizkova is 56. Actor Cynthia Nixon is 55. Rock singer Kevin Martin (Candlebox) is 52. TV personality Sunny Anderson is 46. Rock singer Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance) is 44. Actor Keshia Knight Pulliam is 42. Rock musician Albert Hammond Jr. (The Strokes) is 41. Actor Charlie Hunnam is 41. Actor Ryan Northcott is 41. Actor Arlen Escarpeta is 40. Actor Jay Baruchel is 39. Actor Annie Funke is 36. Actor Jordan Masterson is 35. Actor Leighton Meester is 35. Actor-singer Jesse McCartney is 34. R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan is 34. Actor Kristen Stewart is 31. Actor Elle Fanning is 23. Rapper Lil Nas X is 22. Actor Isaac Hempstead Wright is 22. Classical crossover singer Jackie Evancho (ee-VAYN’-koh) is 21.