Today in History

Today is Sunday, April 11, the 101st day of 2021. There are 264 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 11, 1945, during World War II, American soldiers liberated the Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald in Germany.

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 1921, Iowa became the first state to impose a cigarette tax, at 2 cents a package.

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. (The Dodgers won, 14-6.)

In 1953, Oveta Culp Hobby became the first Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare.

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 1965, dozens of tornadoes raked six Midwestern states on Palm Sunday, killing 271 people.

In 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.

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.

Ten years ago: A bloody, four-month standoff in the West African nation of Ivory Coast ended when troops loyal to the elected president, Alassane Ouattara (ah-lah-SAHN’ WAH’-tah-rah), routed and captured his rival, Laurent Gbagbo (loh-RAHN’ BAHG’-boh), the longtime strongman who’d lost the vote but refused to give up power. A subway bombing in Minsk, Belarus, claimed 15 lives.

Five years ago: Secretary of State John Kerry visited the memorial to Hiroshima’s atomic bombing, delivering a message of peace and hope for a nuclear-free world.

One year ago: The number of U.S. deaths from the coronavirus eclipsed Italy’s for the highest in the world, topping 20,000. On the day before Easter, the Kansas Supreme Court allowed an executive order from Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly to remain in effect; it banned religious and funeral services of more than 10 people during the pandemic. A federal judge in Kentucky ruled that the city of Louisville could not halt a church’s drive-in service planned for Easter. Saturday Night Live made its return on NBC after being sidelined for more than a month by the coronavirus; the all-quarantine version, hosted by coronavirus survivor Tom Hanks, featured stars delivering taped material from their homes.

Today’s Birthdays: Ethel Kennedy is 93. Actor Joel Grey is 89. Actor Louise Lasser is 82. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Ellen Goodman is 80. Movie writer-director John Milius is 77. Actor Peter Riegert is 74. Movie director Carl Franklin is 72. Actor Bill Irwin is 71. Country singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale is 64. Songwriter-producer Daryl Simmons is 64. Rock musician Nigel Pulsford is 60. Actor Lucky Vanous is 60. Country singer Steve Azar is 57. Singer Lisa Stansfield is 55. Actor Johnny Messner is 52. Rock musician Dylan Keefe (Marcy Playground) is 51. Actor Vicellous (vy-SAY’-luhs) Shannon is 50. Rapper David Banner is 47. Actor Tricia Helfer is 47. Rock musician Chris Gaylor (The All-American Rejects) is 42. Actor Kelli Garner is 37. Singer Joss Stone is 34. Actor-dancer Kaitlyn Jenkins is 29.