Happy April! Here is a list of some important historical dates for the month for teachers, students and administrators.
April 1st, 1865 – During the American Civil War, Confederate troops led by General George Pickett were defeated and cut off at Five Forks, Virginia. This would seal the fate of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s armies at Petersburg and Richmond and help bring the war to an end.
April 2nd, 1513 – Spanish explorer Ponce De Leon sighted Florida and claimed it for the Spanish Crown after landing at the site of present day St. Augustine.
April 3rd, 1995 – Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman to preside over the Court, sitting in for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who was out of town.
April 4th, 1968 – Civil Rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed by a sniper in Memphis, Tennessee. He had championed non-violent resistance to end racial oppression and had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
April 5th, 1856 – African American educator Booker T. Washington was born a slave in Franklin County, Virginia. Freed by the Civil War, he taught himself the alphabet and eventually graduated from an agricultural institute. He became Principal of The Tuskegee Institute in 1881. The school started with a single building with 30 students, but through his efforts grew into a modern university.
April 6th, 1896 – After a break of 1500 years, the first Olympics of the modern era was held in Athens, Greece.
April 7th, 1712 – In New York City, 27 (spell out?) slaves rebelled. The state militia was called out to capture the rebels. Twenty one of the slaves were executed and six committed suicide.
April 8th, 1913 – The 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, requiring direct popular election of U.S. senators. Previously, they had been chosen by state legislatures.
April 9th, 1865 – After over 500,000 American deaths, the Civil War effectively ended as General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant in the village of Appomattox Court House.
April 10th, 1945 – The Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald was liberated by U.S. troops. It was located near Weimar in Germany, and was established in July 1937 as one of the first major concentration camps. Its prisoners included Jews and homosexuals, Poles, mentally and physically disabled, criminals and was used as a slave labor center.
April 11th, 1968 – The Civil Rights Act of 1968 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The law prohibited discrimination in housing, protected civil rights workers, and expanded the rights of Native Americans.
April 12th, 1861 – The American Civil War began as Confederate troops opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina.
April 13th, 1743 – Thomas Jefferson was born in Albermarle County, Virginia. He authored the American Declaration of Independence and later served as the 3rd U.S. President from 1801 to 1809.
April 14th, 1865 – President Abraham Lincoln was shot while watching a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater in Washington. He was taken to a nearby house and died the following morning.
April 15th, 1912 – In icy waters off Newfoundland, the luxury liner Titanic sank at 2:27 a.m. after striking an iceberg just before midnight.
April 16th, 1889 – Actor and performer Charlie Chaplin was born in London, England. He began in vaudeville and and then went to Hollywood to make silent movies, developing the funny ‘Little Tramp’ film character. He was one of the first Hollywood movie stars.
April 17th, 1961 – A U.S.-backed attempt to overthrow Premier Fidel Castro of Cuba failed disastrously in what became known as the botched Bay of Pigs invasion.
April 18th, 1775 – The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere and William Dawes occurred as they rode out of Boston to warn patriots at Lexington and Concord of the approaching British.
April 19th, 1775 – At dawn in Massachusetts, militia faced off with British soldiers. An unordered ‘shot heard around the world’ began the American Revolution.
April 20th, 1841 – In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Edgar Allen Poe’s first detective story, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” was published in Graham’s Magazine.
April 21st, 1918 – During World War I, the infamous Red Baron (Manfred von Richtofen) was shot down and killed during the Battle of the Somme.
April 22nd, 1889 – The Oklahoma land rush began at noon with a single gunshot signaling the start of a mad dash by thousands of settlers. The nearly two million acres were made available by the federal government from that land that originally belonged to Creek and Seminole Indian tribes.
April 23rd, 1564 – William Shakespeare was born at Stratford-on-Avon, England. Celebrated as the most influential writer in the English language, he wrote 36 plays and 154 sonnets, including Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Othello.
April 24th, 1800 – The Library of Congress was established in Washington, D.C. It is America’s oldest federal cultural institution.
April 25th, 1953 – Dr. James D. Watson and Dr. Francis H.C. Crick suggested the double helix structure of DNA.
April 26th, 1986 – At the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine, an explosion caused a meltdown of the nuclear fuel and spread a radioactive cloud into the atmosphere.
April 27th, 1822 – Civil War General and 18th U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio. During the war, he earned the nickname “Unconditional Surrender”.
April 28th,1758 – James Monroe, the 5th U.S. President, was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He served two terms from 1817 to 1825 and is best known for the Monroe Doctrine, which declared the U.S. would not permit any European nation to extend its holdings or use armed force in North or South America.
April 29th, 1992 – Riots erupted in Los Angeles following the announcement that a jury had failed to convict four Los Angeles police officers accused in the videotaped beating of an African American man.
April 30th, 1789 – George Washington became the first U.S. President, as he was administered the oath of office on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City.