Today is Easter Sunday, April 4, the 94th day of 2021. There are 271 days left in the year.
On this date in history
On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., 39, was shot and killed while standing on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee; his slaying was followed by a wave of rioting (Washington, Baltimore and Chicago were among cities particularly hard hit.) Suspected gunman James Earl Ray later pleaded guilty to assassinating King, then spent the rest of his life claiming he had been the victim of a setup.
1818 — Congress decided the flag of the United States would consist of 13 red and white stripes and 20 stars, with a new star to be added for every new state of the Union.
1841 — President William Henry Harrison succumbed to pneumonia one month after his inaugural, becoming the first US chief executive to die in office.
1850 — The city of Los Angeles was incorporated.
1917 — The US Senate voted 82-6 in favor of declaring war against Germany. (The House followed suit two days later by a vote of 373-50.)
1945 — During World War II, US forces liberated the Nazi concentration camp Ohrdruf in Germany.
1975 — More than 130 people, most of them children, were killed when a US Air Force transport plane evacuating Vietnamese orphans crash-landed shortly after takeoff from Saigon. Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
1983 — The space shuttle Challenger roared into orbit on its maiden voyage. (It was destroyed in the disaster of January 1986.)
Ten years ago — Yielding to political opposition, the Obama administration gave up on trying avowed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators in civilian federal courts and said it would prosecute them instead before military commissions.
One year ago — President Donald Trump warned that the country could be heading into its “toughest” weeks yet as the Coronavirus death toll mounted, but he also expressed growing impatience with social distancing guidelines; he said of the virus-related shutdowns, “The cure cannot be worse than the problem.”
Recording executive Clive Davis is 89. Author Kitty Kelley is 79. Actor Craig T. Nelson is 77. Actor Walter Charles is 76. Actor Christine Lahti is 71. Country singer Steve Gatlin (The Gatlin Brothers) is 70. Actor Mary-Margaret Humes is 67. Writer-producer David E. Kelley is 65. Actor Constance Shulman is 63. Actor Phil Morris is 62. Actor Lorraine Toussaint is 61. Actor Hugo Weaving is 61. Rock musician Craig Adams (The Cult) is 59. Talk show host/comic Graham Norton is 58. Actor David Cross is 57. Actor Robert Downey Jr. is 56. Actor Nancy McKeon is 55. Actor Barry Pepper is 51. Country singer Clay Davidson is 50. Rock singer Josh Todd (Buckcherry) is 50. Singer Jill Scott is 49. Pop musician Magnus Sveningsson (The Cardigans) is 49. Magician David Blaine is 48. Singer Kelly Price is 48. R&B singer Andre Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) is 47. Country musician Josh McSwain (Parmalee) is 46. Actor James Roday is 45. Actor Natasha Lyonne is 42. Actor Eric Andre is 38. Actor Amanda Righetti is 38. Actor-singer Jamie Lynn Spears is 30. Actor Daniela Bobadilla is 28. Pop singer Austin Mahone is 25. Actor Aliyah Royale is 21.
— The Associated Press