Today in History


Today is Monday, April 3, the 93rd day of 2023. There are 272 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 3, 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.

On this date:

In 1865, Union forces occupied the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.

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 20-month-old 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 1974, deadly tornadoes began hitting wide parts of the South and Midwest before jumping across the border into Canada; more than 300 fatalities resulted from what became known as the Super Outbreak.

In 1978, at the Academy Awards, Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall” was named best picture of 1977; its co-star, Diane Keaton, won best actress while Richard Dreyfuss was honored as best actor for “The Goodbye Girl.”

In 1996, Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski (kah-ZIHN’-skee) was arrested at his remote Montana cabin.

In 2012, Mitt Romney tightened his grip on the Republican presidential nomination, sweeping primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

In 2014, David Letterman announced during a taping of the “Late Show” on CBS that he would retire as host in 2015. (Stephen Colbert (kohl-BEHR’) was named as his replacement a week later.)

In 2020, President Donald Trump announced new federal guidelines recommending that Americans wear face coverings when in public to help fight the spread of the coronavirus, but Trump immediately said he had no intention of following that advice himself; he said he could not envision himself covering his face while sitting in the Oval Office greeting world leaders.

Ten years ago: The White House announced President Barack Obama would return 5 percent of his salary each month to the Treasury in a show of solidarity with federal workers smarting from government-wide spending cuts. Palestinian militants launched several rockets into southern Israel and Israeli aircraft struck targets in the Gaza Strip in the heaviest exchange of fire between the sides since a cease-fire ended a major flare-up the previous year. Oscar-winning screenwriter and award-winning novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, 85, died in New York.

Five years ago: A woman opened fire with a handgun in a courtyard at YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, California, wounding three people before fatally shooting herself; family members said she was upset with the company’s handling of her videos and believed she was being deprived of income and views. President Donald Trump said he wanted to use the military to secure the U.S.-Mexico border until his promised border wall was built.

One year ago: Ukrainian authorities found bodies with bound hands, close-range gunshot wounds and signs of torture scattered in a city on the outskirts of Kyiv after the withdrawal of Russian troops. They said that to that point they had found the bodies of 410 civilians in Kyiv-area towns that resembled “a scene from a horror movie.” In Sacramento, California, six people were killed and 10 injured in a shootout as bars and nightclubs were closing in the city’s downtown. At the Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, Jon Batiste won album of the year for “We Are,” Silk Sonic won record and song of the year for “Leave the Door Open,” and Olivia Rodrigo won best new artist.

Today’s Birthdays: Conservationist Dame Jane Goodall is 89. Actor William Gaunt is 86. Songwriter Jeff Barry is 85. Actor Eric Braeden is 82. Actor Marsha Mason is 81. Singer Wayne Newton is 81. Singer Tony Orlando is 79. Comedy writer Pat Proft is 76. Folk-rock singer Richard Thompson is 74. Country musician Curtis Stone (Highway 101) is 73. Blues singer-guitarist John Mooney is 68. Rock musician Mick Mars (Motley Crue) is 67. Actor Alec Baldwin is 65. Actor David Hyde Pierce is 64. Rock singer John Thomas Griffith (Cowboy Mouth) is 63. Comedian-actor Eddie Murphy is 62. Rock singer-musician Mike Ness (Social Distortion) is 61. Rock singer Sebastian Bach is 55. Rock musician James MacDonough (Megadeth) is 53. Olympic gold medal ski racer Picabo Street is 52. Actor Jennie Garth is 51. Actor Jamie Bamber is 50. Actor Adam Scott is 50. Christian rock musician Drew Shirley (Switchfoot) is 49. Comedian Aries Spears is 48. Actor Matthew Goode is 45. Actor Cobie Smulders is 41. Rock-pop singer Leona Lewis is 38. Former actor Amanda Bynes is 37. Actor-comedian Rachel Bloom is 36. Actor Hayley Kiyoko is 32. Rock musician Sam Kiszka (Greta Van Fleet) is 24.

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