On This Day April 15

History Highlights

1865 – President Abraham Lincoln dies from the gunshot wound he sustained the night before while watching a play at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. Lincoln’s death comes only six days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his massive army, effectively ending the American Civil War.

1912 – More than 1,500 lives are lost in the early morning hours when the luxury liner Titanic sinks after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City. 

1947 – Jackie Robinson becomes the first African American in baseball’s major leagues when he debuts with the Brooklyn Dodgers. This becomes a landmark event not only for the sport, but for the U.S. civil rights movement.

1955 – The golden arches rise in Des Plaines, Illinois with the opening of the first McDonald’s restaurant. Customers pay just 15 cents for a hamburger.

1959 – Four months after leading a successful revolution in Cuba, Fidel Castro begins an 11-day U.S. visit. It comes amid escalating tensions between his regime and the American government.

1997 – On the 50 anniversary of his first Major League Baseball game, the league retires Jackie Robinson’s number, 42. Robinson becomes the only player in MLB history to have his number retired across all teams, a sign of the reverence with which he is regarded decades after leading the charge to integrate the major leagues.

2013 – Two bombs go off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three spectators and wounding more than 260 others. Four days later, after an intense manhunt, authorities capture one of the bombing suspects, 19-year-old Dzhohkar Tsarnaev. His older brother and fellow suspect, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, dies following a shootout with police earlier that same day.

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Somethin' Stupid

Frank and Nancy Sinatra

Saturday Night Fever (Original Movie Soundtrack)

Bee Gees, Tavares, KC and the Sunshine Band, Yvonne Elliman and other artists

The Last Night on the Titanic: Unsinkable Drinking, Dining, and Style

Veronica Hinke

I Never Had It Made: An Autobiography of Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

Sense and Sensibility

Starring Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, and directed by Ang Lee

50/50

Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anna Kendrick, and directed by Jonathan Levine

On this Day June 15

Musical Milestones

1963 – Japanese singer Kyu Sakamoto begins a three-week domination of the U.S. pop chart with “Sukiyaki.” Two decades later, in 1981, the band A Taste of Honey — which gave us the disco hit “Boogie Oogie Oogie” — releases its English-language version of the song and takes it to No. 3 on the pop chart.

1965 – Bob Dylan records one of the defining songs of his career: “Like a Rolling Stone.” The track is credited with transforming Dylan’s image from folk singer to rock star, and is considered one of the most influential compositions in postwar popular music. “Rolling Stone” magazine named it the best song of all time.

1974 – One-hit wonder Bo Donaldson claims a two-week hold on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero.”

1985 – “Around the World in a Day,” by Prince and the Revolution, begins its third and final week atop the Billboard album chart. The album contains the hits “Paisley Park and “Raspberry Beret.”

1989 – Nirvana’s debut album, “Bleach,” is released in the U.S., but doesn’t gain much traction until after the grunge band’s “Nevermind” album is released three years later.

1996 – “The First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald, dies at the age of 79.  Fitzgerald was the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century, winning 13 Grammy awards and selling more than 40 million albums.

2002 – Ashanti’s debut single, “Foolish,” is in the midst of a 10-week run on top of the Billboard Hot 100. Her accompanying music video features actor Terrence Howard.

History Highlights

1215 – Following a revolt by the English nobility against his rule, King John puts his royal seal on the Magna Carta (“Great Charter”). The document, essentially a peace treaty between John and his barons, guaranteed that the king would respect feudal rights and privileges, uphold the freedom of the church, and maintain the nation’s laws.

1846 – Representatives of the United States and Great Britain sign the Oregon Treaty, establishing the boundary between the U.S. and Canada.

1877 – Henry Ossian Flipper, born a slave in Thomasville, Georgia, becomes the first black cadet to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

1917 – Two months after America formally enters World War I Congress passes the Espionage Act. The measure makes it a crime for any person to convey information intended to interfere with the U.S. armed forces’ prosecution of the war effort or to promote the success of the country’s enemies.

1934 – Great Smoky Mountains National Park is established, straddling North Carolina and Tennessee.

1955 – The Eisenhower administration stages the first Operation Alert (OPAL) exercise, an attempt to assess America’s preparations for a nuclear attack.

1969 – The variety show “Hee Haw” premieres on CBS and continues through 1971 before starting a 21-year run in syndication. The show centered around country music and rural culture.

1986 –  Auto racing legend Richard Petty makes the 1,000th start of his National Association for Stock Car Racing (NASCAR) career, becoming the first driver to do so.

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Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits

Bob Dylan

The Best of the Song Books

Ella Fitzgerald

Henry Ossian Flipper: West Point's First Black Graduate

Jane Eppinga

Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Kevin Adams

As Good As It Gets

Starring Jack Nicholson, Helent Hunt and Greg Kinnear. and directed by James L. Brooks

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle

Starring John Cho, Kal Penn, Anthony Anderson and Neil Patrick Harris, and directed by Danny Leiner