Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Today in History: April 11, Civil Rights Act becomes law a week after Martin Luther King is killed

Today in History

Today is Thursday, April 11, the 102nd day of 2024. 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.

On this date:

In 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte abdicated as Emperor of the French and was banished to the island of Elba. (Napoleon later escaped from Elba and returned to power in March 1815, until his downfall in the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815.)

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 1899, the treaty ending the Spanish-American War was declared in effect.

In 1913, Postmaster General Albert S. Burleson, during a meeting of President Woodrow Wilson's Cabinet, proposed gradually segregating whites and Blacks who worked for the Railway Mail Service, a policy that went into effect and spread to other agencies.

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.

In 1961, former SS officer Adolf Eichmann went on trial in Israel, charged with crimes against humanity for his role in the Nazi Holocaust. (Eichmann was convicted and executed.)

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. (The mission was aborted when an oxygen tank exploded April 13. The crew splashed down safely four days after the explosion.)

In 1980, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued regulations specifically prohibiting sexual harassment of workers by supervisors.

In 1996, 7-year-old Jessica Dubroff, who hoped to become the youngest person to fly cross-country, was killed along with her father and flight instructor when their plane crashed after takeoff from Cheyenne, Wyoming.

In 2012, George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. (He was acquitted at trial.)

In 2013, comedian Jonathan Winters, 87, died in Montecito, California.

In 2017, 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.

In 2018, Pope Francis admitted he made "grave errors" in judgment in Chile's sex abuse scandal; during a January visit to Chile, Francis had strongly defended Bishop Juan Barros despite accusations by victims that Barros had witnessed and ignored their abuse.

In 2020, the number of U.S. deaths from the coronavirus eclipsed Italy's for the highest in the world, topping 20,000.

In 2022, Mimi Reinhard, a secretary in Oskar Schindler's office who typed up the list of Jews he saved from extermination by Nazi Germany, died at age 107.

Today's Birthdays: Ethel Kennedy is 96. Actor Joel Grey is 92. Actor Louise Lasser is 85. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Ellen Goodman is 83. Movie writer-director John Milius is 80. Actor Peter Riegert is 77. Movie director Carl Franklin is 75. Actor Bill Irwin is 74. Country singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale is 67. Songwriter-producer Daryl Simmons is 67. Rock musician Nigel Pulsford (Bush) is 63. Actor Lucky Vanous is 63. Country singer Steve Azar is 60. Singer Lisa Stansfield is 58. Actor Johnny Messner is 55. Rock musician Dylan Keefe (Marcy Playground) is 54. Actor Vicellous (vy-SAY'-luhs) Shannon is 53. Rapper David Banner is 50. Actor Tricia Helfer is 50. Rock musician Chris Gaylor (The All-American Rejects) is 45. Actor Kelli Garner is 40. Singer Joss Stone is 37. Actor-dancer Kaitlyn Jenkins is 32.