Today in History Saturday, April 1, 2017


Today is Saturday, April 1, the 91st day of 2017. There are 274 days left in the year. This is April Fool’s Day.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 1, 1917, Scott Joplin, “The King of Ragtime Writers,” died at a New York City hospital. Joplin, the composer of “Maple Leaf Rag,” ”The Entertainer,” ”The Easy Winners,” ”Heliotrope Bouquet” and “Solace,” among other ragtime pieces, was believed to have been 49 years old at the time of his death.

On this date:

In 1789, the U.S. House of Representatives held its first full meeting in New York; Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania was elected the first House speaker.

In 1924, Adolf Hitler was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich. (Hitler was released in Dec. 1924; during his time behind bars, he wrote his autobiographical screed, “Mein Kampf.”)

In 1933, Nazi Germany staged a daylong national boycott of Jewish-owned businesses.

In 1945, American forces launched the amphibious invasion of Okinawa during World War II. (U.S. forces succeeded in capturing the Japanese island on June 22.)

In 1947, Greece’s King George II died.

In 1954, the United States Air Force Academy was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In 1962, the Katherine Anne Porter novel “Ship of Fools,” an allegory about the rise of Nazism in Germany, was published by Little, Brown & Co.

In 1972, the first Major League Baseball players’ strike began; it lasted 12 days.

In 1977, the U.S. Senate followed the example of the House of Representatives by adopting, 86-9, a stringent code of ethics requiring full financial disclosure and limits on outside income.

In 1984, recording star Marvin Gaye was shot to death by his father, Marvin Gay (cq), Sr. in Los Angeles, the day before his 45th birthday. (The elder Gay pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, and received probation.)

In 1987, in his first speech on the AIDS epidemic, President Ronald Reagan told the Philadelphia College of Physicians, “We’ve declared AIDS public health enemy no. 1.”

In 1992, the National Hockey League Players’ Association went on its first-ever strike, which lasted 10 days.

Ten years ago: Iran’s state television aired new video showing two of the 15 captured British sailors and marines pointing to a spot on a map of the Persian Gulf where they were seized and saying it was in Iranian territorial waters; Britain’s Foreign Office immediately denounced the video. At age 18 years and 10 months, Morgan Pressel became the youngest major champion in LPGA Tour history, closing with a 3-under 69 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. (Pressel’s age record has since been broken by Lydia Ko.)

Five years ago: A coalition of more than 70 partners, including the United States, pledged to send millions of dollars and communications equipment to Syria’s opposition groups. Myanmar’s democracy icon, Aung San Suu Kyi (ahng sahn soo chee), was elected to her country’s parliament. Former Mexican President Miguel de la Madrid died at age 77. Taylor Swift was named entertainer of the year for the second year in a row at the Academy of Country Music Awards.

One year ago: World leaders ended a nuclear security summit in Washington by declaring progress in safeguarding nuclear materials sought by terrorists and wayward nations, even as President Barack Obama acknowledged the task was far from finished. Chicago teachers staged a one-day strike in the nation’s third-largest district. Spain’s Javier Fernandez defended his figure skating world title at the championship in Boston; Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan placed second while Jin Boyang of China came in third.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Jane Powell is 88. Actor Don Hastings is 83. Baseball Hall of Famer Phil Niekro is 78. Actress Ali MacGraw is 78. Rhythm-and-blues singer Rudolph Isley is 78. Baseball All-Star Rusty Staub is 73. Reggae singer Jimmy Cliff is 69. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is 67. Rock musician Billy Currie (Ultravox) is 67. Actress Annette O’Toole is 65. Movie director Barry Sonnenfeld is 64. Singer Susan Boyle is 56. Actor Jose Zuniga is 55. Country singer Woody Lee is 49. Actress Jessica Collins is 46. Rapper-actor Method Man is 46. Movie directors Albert and Allen Hughes are 45. Political commentator Rachel Maddow is 44. Tennis player Magdalena Maleeva is 42. Actor David Oyelowo (oh-YEHLOH’-oh) is 41. Actor JJ Field is 39. Singer Bijou Phillips is 37. Actor Sam Huntington is 35. Comedian-actor Taran Killam is 35. Actor Matt Lanter is 34. Actor Josh Zuckerman is 32. Country singer Hillary Scott (Lady Antebellum) is 31. Actor Asa Butterfield is 20.

Thought for Today: “Ninety-eight percent of all statistics are made up.” — Author unknown.

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