Today in History

Today in History

Today is Friday, April 3, the 94th day of 2020. There are 272 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On April 3, 1996, Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski (kah-ZIHN'-skee) was arrested at his remote Montana cabin.

On this date:

In 1860, the legendary Pony Express began carrying mail between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. (The delivery system lasted only 18 months before giving way to the transcontinental telegraph.)

In 1882, outlaw Jesse James was shot to death in St. Joseph, Missouri, by Robert Ford, a member of James' gang.

In 1936, Bruno Hauptmann was electrocuted in Trenton, New Jersey, for the kidnap-murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr.

In 1942, during World War II, Japanese forces began their final assault on Bataan against American and Filipino troops who surrendered six days later; the capitulation was followed by the notorious Bataan Death March.

In 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Smith v. Allwright, struck down a Democratic Party of Texas rule that allowed only white voters to participate in Democratic primaries.

In 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed the Marshall Plan, designed to help European allies rebuild after World War II and resist communism.

In 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. delivered what turned out to be his final speech, telling a rally of striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, that "I've been to the mountaintop" and "seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!" (About 20 hours later, King was felled by an assassin's bullet at the Lorraine Motel.)

In 1973, the first handheld portable telephone was demonstrated for reporters on a New York City street corner as Motorola executive Martin Cooper called Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs.

In 1990, jazz singer Sarah Vaughan died in suburban Los Angeles at age 66.

In 1991, English novelist Graham Greene died at age 86.

In 1996, an Air Force jetliner carrying Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and American business executives crashed in Croatia, killing all 35 people aboard.

In 2003, moving with a sense of wartime urgency, the House and Senate separately agreed to give President George W. Bush nearly $80 billion to carry out the battle against Iraq and meet the threat of terrorism.

Ten years ago: The leader of the Anglican church, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, said in remarks released by the BBC that the Roman Catholic church in Ireland had lost all credibility because of its mishandling of abuse by priests. White supremacist Eugene TerreBlanche, 68, was bludgeoned to death on his South African farm in a dispute with black farm workers over wages. Connecticut senior Tina Charles was the runaway choice as The Associated Press' women's college basketball player of the year. Nebraska's Connie Yori was named The Associated Press' women's college basketball coach of the year.

Five years ago: Information retrieved from the "black box" data recorder of a doomed German airliner showed its co-pilot repeatedly accelerated the plane before it slammed into a French mountainside, killing all 150 people on board. Pope Francis, presiding at the traditional Good Friday Colosseum procession, decried what he called the "complicit silence" about the killing of Christians. Sarah Brady, who became a gun control activist after her husband, James, was shot in the head in the attempt on President Ronald Reagan's life, died in Alexandria, Virginia, at age 73, eight months after being widowed.

One year ago: Former Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged that his tendency toward physical displays of affection and encouragement had made some women uncomfortable; he promised to be “much more mindful” of respecting personal space. The House Judiciary Committee approved subpoenas for special counsel Robert Mueller’s full Russia report. British Prime Minister Theresa May and the country’s main opposition sought a compromise deal to prevent an abrupt British departure from the European Union.

Today's Birthdays: Conservationist Dame Jane Goodall is 86. Actor William Gaunt is 83. Songwriter Jeff Barry is 82. Actor Eric Braeden is 79. Actress Marsha Mason is 78. Singer Wayne Newton is 78. Singer Tony Orlando is 76. Comedy writer Pat Proft is 73. Folk-rock singer Richard Thompson is 71. Country musician Curtis Stone (Highway 101) is 70. Blues singer-guitarist John Mooney is 65. Rock musician Mick Mars (Motley Crue) is 64. Actor Alec Baldwin is 62. Actor David Hyde Pierce is 61. Rock singer John Thomas Griffith (Cowboy Mouth) is 60. Comedian-actor Eddie Murphy is 59. Rock singer-musician Mike Ness (Social Distortion) is 58. Rock singer Sebastian Bach is 52. Rock musician James MacDonough is 50. Olympic gold medal ski racer Picabo Street is 49. Actress Jennie Garth is 48. Actor Jamie Bamber is 47. Actor Adam Scott is 47. Christian rock musician Drew Shirley (Switchfoot) is 46. Comedian Aries Spears is 45. Actor Matthew Goode is 42. Actress Cobie Smulders is 38. Rock-pop singer Leona Lewis is 35. Actress Amanda Bynes is 34. Actress-comedian Rachel Bloom is 33. Actress Hayley Kiyoko is 29. Rock musician Sam Kiszka (Greta Van Fleet) is 21.

Thought for Today: "I didn't invent the world I write about — it's all true." — Graham Greene, British author (1904-1991).