Today in History: April 3, Martin Luther King Jr. makes final speech

By The Associated Press

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, April 3, the 94th day of 2024. There are 272 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On April 3, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. delivered what turned out to be his final speech, telling a rally of striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, that "I've been to the mountaintop" and "seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!" (About 20 hours later, King was felled by an assassin's bullet at the Lorraine Motel.)

On this date:

In 1865, Union forces occupied the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.

In 1882, outlaw Jesse James was shot to death in St. Joseph, Missouri, by Robert Ford, a member of James' gang.

In 1936, Bruno Hauptmann was electrocuted in Trenton, New Jersey, for the kidnap-murder of 20-month-old Charles Lindbergh Jr.

In 1942, during World War II, Japanese forces began their final assault on Bataan against American and Filipino troops who surrendered six days later; the capitulation was followed by the notorious Bataan Death March.

In 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Smith v. Allwright, struck down a Democratic Party of Texas rule that allowed only white voters to participate in Democratic primaries.

In 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed the Marshall Plan, designed to help European allies rebuild after World War II and resist communism.

In 1973, the first handheld portable telephone was demonstrated for reporters on a New York City street corner as Motorola executive Martin Cooper called Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs.

In 1974, deadly tornadoes began hitting wide parts of the South and Midwest before jumping across the border into Canada; more than 300 fatalities resulted from what became known as the Super Outbreak.

In 1978, at the Academy Awards, Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" was named best picture of 1977; its co-star, Diane Keaton, won best actress while Richard Dreyfuss was honored as best actor for "The Goodbye Girl."

In 1996, Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski (kah-ZIHN'-skee) was arrested at his remote Montana cabin.

In 2012, Mitt Romney tightened his grip on the Republican presidential nomination, sweeping primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

In 2013, Oscar-winning screenwriter and award-winning novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, 85, died in New York.

In 2014, David Letterman announced during a taping of the "Late Show" on CBS that he would retire as host in 2015. (Stephen Colbert (kohl-BEHR') was named as his replacement a week later.)

In 2017, a divided Senate Judiciary Committee panel voted 11-9 along party lines to favorably recommend Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch to the full Senate.

In 2020, President Donald Trump announced new federal guidelines recommending that Americans wear face coverings when in public to help fight the spread of the coronavirus, but Trump immediately said he had no intention of following that advice himself; he said he could not envision himself covering his face while sitting in the Oval Office greeting world leaders.

In 2022, Ukrainian authorities found bodies with bound hands, close-range gunshot wounds and signs of torture scattered in a city on the outskirts of Kyiv after the withdrawal of Russian troops.

Today's Birthdays: Conservationist Jane Goodall is 90. Actor William Gaunt is 87. Songwriter Jeff Barry is 86. Actor Eric Braeden is 83. Actor Marsha Mason is 82. Singer Wayne Newton is 82. Singer Tony Orlando is 80. Comedy writer Pat Proft is 77. Folk-rock singer Richard Thompson is 75. Country musician Curtis Stone (Highway 101) is 74. Blues singer-guitarist John Mooney is 69. Rock musician Mick Mars (Motley Crue) is 68. Actor Alec Baldwin is 66. Actor David Hyde Pierce is 65. Rock singer John Thomas Griffith (Cowboy Mouth) is 64. Comedian-actor Eddie Murphy is 63. Rock singer-musician Mike Ness (Social Distortion) is 62. Rock singer Sebastian Bach is 56. Rock musician James MacDonough (Megadeth) is 54. Olympic gold medal ski racer Picabo Street is 53. Actor Jennie Garth is 52. Actor Jamie Bamber is 51. Actor Adam Scott is 51. Christian rock musician Drew Shirley (Switchfoot) is 50. Comedian Aries Spears is 49. Actor Matthew Goode is 46. Actor Cobie Smulders is 42. Rock-pop singer Leona Lewis is 39. Former actor Amanda Bynes is 38. Actor-comedian Rachel Bloom is 37. Actor Hayley Kiyoko is 33. Rock musician Sam Kiszka (Greta Van Fleet) is 25.

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