Today in History

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Today is Wednesday, April 11, the 101st day of 2018. There are 264 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 11, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which included the Fair Housing Act, a week after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Email newsletter signup

On this date:

In 1689, William III and Mary II were crowned as joint sovereigns of Britain.

In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht was signed, ending the War of the Spanish Succession.

In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln spoke to a crowd outside the White House, saying, “We meet this evening, not in sorrow, but in gladness of heart.” (It was the last public address Lincoln would deliver.)

In 1921, Iowa became the first state to impose a cigarette tax, at 2 cents a package.

In 1945, during World War II, American soldiers liberated the Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald in Germany.

In 1947, Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers played in an exhibition against the New York Yankees at Ebbets Field, four days before his regular-season debut that broke baseball’s color line. (The Dodgers won, 14-6.)

In 1951, President Harry S. Truman relieved Gen. Douglas MacArthur of his commands in the Far East.

In 1953, Oveta Culp Hobby became the first Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare.

In 1970, Apollo 13, with astronauts James A. Lovell, Fred W. Haise and Jack Swigert, blasted off on its ill-fated mission to the moon.

In 1974, Palestinian gunmen killed 16 civilians, mostly women and children, in the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shemona.

In 1988, the hijackers of a Kuwait Airways jetliner killed a second hostage, dumping his body onto the ground in Larnaca, Cyprus. “The Last Emperor” won best picture at the 60th annual Academy Awards ceremony; Cher won best actress for “Moonstruck,” Michael Douglas best actor for “Wall Street.”

In 1998, the executive committee of the Ulster Union Party voted 55-23 to support the Northern Ireland peace accord and its leader, David Trimble, who had outmaneuvered rebels in his ranks.

Ten years ago: Group of Seven financial officials meeting in Washington pledged to strengthen their regulation of banks and other financial institutions while anxiously hoping the credit crisis in the United States would be a short one. French troops captured six pirates after the pirates released 30 hostages who were aboard the French luxury yacht Le Ponant when it was seized off Somalia’s coast.

Five years ago: Congress’ most serious gun-control effort in years cleared its first hurdle as the Senate pushed past conservatives’ attempted blockade, rebuffing 68-31 an effort to keep debate from even starting. (However, proposals for tighter background checks for buyers as well as bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines went down to defeat six days later.) Comedian Jonathan Winters, 87, died in Montecito, California.

One year ago: In Dortmund, Germany, three explosions went off near Borussia Dortmund’s team bus ahead of a Champions League quarterfinal match, injuring one of the soccer team’s players. (Prosecutors alleged that the suspected bomber bet that Borussia Dortmund’s shares on the stock exchange would drop in value and tried to disguise the attack as Islamic terrorism.) Guitarist J. Geils, founder of The J. Geils Band, died in his Massachusetts home at age 71. David Letterman’s mother, Dorothy Mengering, a Midwestern homemaker who became an unlikely celebrity on her son’s late-night talk show, died at age 95.

Today’s Birthdays: Ethel Kennedy is 90. Actor Joel Grey is 86. Actress Louise Lasser is 79. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Ellen Goodman is 77 Movie writer-director John Milius is 74. Actor Peter Riegert is 71. Movie director Carl Franklin is 69. Actor Bill Irwin is 68. Country singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale is 61. Songwriter-producer Daryl Simmons is 61. Rock musician Nigel Pulsford is 57. Actor Lucky Vanous is 57. Country singer Steve Azar is 54. Singer Lisa Stansfield is 52. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is 52. Rock musician Dylan Keefe (Marcy Playground) is 48. Actor Johnny Messner is 48. Actor Vicellous (vy-SAY’-luhs) Shannon is 47. Rapper David Banner is 44. Actress Tricia Helfer is 44. Rock musician Chris Gaylor (The All-American Rejects) is 39. Actress Kelli Garner is 34. Singer Joss Stone is 31. Actress-dancer Kaitlyn Jenkins is 26.