Today in history

  • Monday, April 20, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

Today is Monday, April 20, the 111th day of 2020. There are 255 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight:

On April 20, 1971, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the use of busing to achieve racial desegregation in schools.

On this date:

In 1836, Congress voted to establish the Wisconsin Territory.

In 1912, Boston’s Fenway Park hosted its first professional baseball game while Navin Field (Tiger Stadium) opened in Detroit. (The Red Sox defeated the New York Highlanders 7-6 in 11 innings; the Tigers beat the Cleveland Naps 6-5 in 11 innings.)

In 1914, the Ludlow Massacre took place when the Colorado National Guard opened fire on a tent colony of striking miners; about 20 (accounts vary) strikers, women and children died.

In 1938, “Olympia,” Leni Riefenstahl’s documentary about the 1936 Berlin Olympic games, was first shown in Nazi Germany.

In 1972, Apollo 16’s lunar module, carrying astronauts John W. Young and Charles M. Duke Jr., landed on the moon.

In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Wooley v. Maynard, ruled 6-3 that car owners could refuse to display state mottoes on license plates, such as New Hampshire’s “Live Free or Die.”

In 1986, following an absence of six decades, Russian-born pianist Vladimir Horowitz performed in the Soviet Union to a packed audience at the Grand Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow.

In 1988, gunmen who had hijacked a Kuwait Airways jumbo jet were allowed safe passage out of Algeria under an agreement that freed the remaining 31 hostages and ended a 15-day siege in which two passengers were slain.

In 1999, the Columbine High School massacre took place in Colorado as two students shot and killed 12 classmates and one teacher before taking their own lives.

In 2003, U.S. Army forces took control of Baghdad from the Marines in a changing of the guard that thinned the military presence in the capital.

In 2005, President George W. Bush signed a bill making it harder for debt-ridden people to wipe clean their financial slates by declaring bankruptcy. In his first Mass as pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI pledged to work for unity among Christians and to seek “an open and sincere dialogue” with other faiths. Ecuador’s Congress voted to remove embattled President Lucio Gutierrez from office and swear in Vice President Alfredo Palacio to replace him.

In 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, leased by BP, killed 11 workers and caused a blow-out that began spewing an estimated 200 million gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico. (The well was finally capped nearly three months later.)

Ten years ago: ago: Airliners began taking to the skies of Europe again after five days of being grounded by a drifting volcanic ash. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on videos that showed graphic violence against animals. Civil rights activist Dorothy Height died in Washington D.C. at age 98. Keli McGregor, 48, president of baseball’s Colorado Rockies, was found dead in a hotel room of natural causes.

Five years ago: The Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina, won the Pulitzer Prize for public service for an examination of the deadly toll of domestic violence, while The New York Times collected three awards and the Los Angeles Times two. Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia won the 119th Boston Marathon, finishing in 2:09:17; Caroline Rotich of Kenya won the women’s race in 2:24:55.

One year ago: SpaceX’s new capsule for astronauts was destroyed in an explosion during a ground test at Cape Canaveral in Florida; the accident, later blamed on a leaky valve, marked a serious setback in the company’s effort to launch NASA astronauts into orbit later in the year. Community members in suburban Denver marked the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting with a remembrance ceremony and volunteer projects.

Today’s birthdays: Actor Leslie Phillips is 96. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is 84. Actor George Takei is 83. Singer Johnny Tillotson is 82. Actor Ryan O’Neal is 79. Bluegrass singer-musician Doyle Lawson (Quicksilver) is 76. Actress Judith O’Dea is 75. Rock musician Craig Frost (Grand Funk; Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band) is 72. Actor Gregory Itzin is 72. Actress Jessica Lange is 71. Actress Veronica Cartwright is 71. Actor Clint Howard is 61. Actor Crispin Glover is 56. Actor Andy Serkis is 56. Olympic silver medal figure skater Rosalynn Sumners is 56. Actor William deVry is 52. Country singer Wade Hayes is 51. Actor Shemar Moore is 50. Actress Carmen Electra is 48. Reggae singer Stephen Marley is 48. Rock musician Marty Crandall is 45. Actor Joey Lawrence is 44. Country musician Clay Cook (Zac Brown Band) is 42. Actor Clayne Crawford is 42. Actor Tim Jo is 36. Actor Carlos Valdes (TV: “The Flash”) is 31.

Thought for today: “Excellence is not a skill, it is an attitude.” — Ralph Marston, American football player (1907-1967).

— Associated Press

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