Today in History: April 16, MLK writes from Birmingham jail

Today in History

Today is Sunday, April 16, the 106th day of 2023. There are 259 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History: On April 16, 1945, a Soviet submarine in the Baltic Sea torpedoed and sank the MV Goya, which Germany was using to transport civilian refugees and wounded soldiers; it’s estimated that up to 7,000 people died.

On this date: In 1789, President-elect George Washington left Mount Vernon, Virginia, for his inauguration in New York.

In 1889, comedian and movie director Charles Chaplin was born in London.

In 1945, In his first speech to Congress, President Harry S. Truman pledged to carry out the war and peace policies of his late predecessor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 1947, the cargo ship Grandcamp, carrying ammonium nitrate, blew up in the harbor in Texas City, Texas; a nearby ship, the High Flyer, which was carrying ammonium nitrate and sulfur, caught fire and exploded the following day; the blasts and fires killed nearly 600 people.

In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in which the civil rights activist responded to a group of local clergymen who had criticized him for leading street protests; King defended his tactics, writing, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

In 1972, Apollo 16 blasted off on a voyage to the moon with astronauts John W. Young, Charles M. Duke Jr. and Ken Mattingly on board.

In 1977, Alex Haley, author of the best-seller “Roots,” visited the Gambian village of Juffure, where, he believed, his ancestor Kunte Kinte was captured as a slave in 1767.

In 1996, Britain’s Prince Andrew and his wife, Sarah, the Duchess of York, announced they were in the process of divorcing.

In 2003, Michael Jordan played his last NBA game with the Washington Wizards, who lost to the Philadelphia 76ers, 107-87.

In 2007, in one of America’s worst school attacks, a college senior killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech before taking his own life.

In 2010, the U.S government accused Wall Street’s most powerful firm of fraud, saying Goldman Sachs & Co. had sold mortgage investments without telling buyers the securities were crafted with input from a client who was betting on them to fail. (In July 2010, Goldman agreed to pay $550 million in a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, but did not admit wrongdoing.)

In 2020, the Trump administration gutted an Obama-era rule that compelled the country’s coal plants to cut back emissions of mercury and other human health hazards.

Ten years ago: Federal agents zeroed in on how the Boston Marathon bombing the day before was carried out — with kitchen pressure cookers packed with explosives, nails and other lethal shrapnel — but said they didn’t know yet who had done it, or why. An envelope addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., tested positive for ricin (RY’-sin), a potentially fatal poison. (A Mississippi man later pleaded guilty to sending letters dusted with ricin to Wicker, President Barack Obama and a judge.) NFL player-turned-broadcaster Pat Summerall, 82, died in Dallas.

Five years ago: The New York Times and The New Yorker won the Pulitzer Prize for public service for breaking the Harvey Weinstein scandal with reporting that galvanized the #MeToo movement. Rap star Kendrick Lamar was awarded the Pulitzer for music, becoming the first non-classical or non-jazz artist to win the prize. American pastor Andrew Brunson went on trial in Turkey in a case that strained ties between that country and the United States; he denied accusations that he aided terror groups or spied against Turkey. (Brunson was convicted but sentenced to time served and was freed from house arrest in October to return to the United States.) Actor Harry Anderson, best known for playing an off-the-wall judge working the night shift of a Manhattan court room on the comedy series “Night Court,” was found dead in his North Carolina home; he was 65.

One year ago: Russian forces accelerated scattered attacks on Kyiv, western Ukraine and beyond, a sign that the entire country was still under assault despite Russia’s pivot toward mounting a new offensive in the east. Nine people were shot and wounded in a shooting at a shopping mall in Columbia, South Carolina. (Three suspects were arrested and charged with attempted murder and other crimes in the subsequent days.) Rosario Ibarra, whose long struggle to learn the fate of her disappeared son helped develop Mexico’s human rights movement and led her to become the country’s first female presidential candidate, died at age 95. Today’s Birthdays: Singer Bobby Vinton is 88. Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II is 83. Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 76. Former Massachusetts first lady Ann Romney is 74. NFL coach Bill Belichick is 71. Rock singer (Midnight Oil) and former politician Peter Garrett is 70. Actor Ellen Barkin is 69. Actor Michel Gill is 63. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is 61. Rock musician Jason Scheff (Chicago) is 61. Singer Jimmy Osmond is 60. Rock singer David Pirner (Soul Asylum) is 59. Actor-comedian Martin Lawrence is 58. Actor Jon Cryer is 58. Actor Peter Billingsley is 52. Actor Lukas Haas is 47. Actor-singer Kelli O’Hara is 47. Actor Claire Foy (TV: “The Crown”) is 39. Figure skater Mirai Nagasu is 30. Actor Sadie Sink is 21.

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