This Week in History
Jackie Robinson breaks baseball color barrier
On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth, an actor and Confederate sympathizer, fatally shoots President Abraham Lincoln during a play at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. The attack came only five days after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered, effectively ending the Civil War.
On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson, age 28, becomes the first black player in Major League Baseball when he steps onto Ebbets Field in Brooklyn to compete for the Dodgers. Robinson broke the color barrier in a sport that had been segregated for more than 50 years.
On April 16, 1917, Vladimir Lenin, leader of the revolutionary Bolshevik Party, returns to Petrograd after a decade of exile to take the reins of the Russian Revolution. Lenin was drawn to the revolutionary cause after his brother was executed in 1887 for plotting to assassinate Czar Alexander II.
On April 17, 1964, the Ford Mustang is officially unveiled by Henry Ford II at the World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. The new car debuted in Ford showrooms on the same day, and almost 22,000 Mustangs were immediately snapped up by buyers.
On April 18, 1906, an earthquake estimated at close to 8.0 on the Richter scale strikes San Francisco, toppling buildings, igniting fires and breaking water mains. An estimated 3,000 people died and 30,000 buildings were destroyed.
On April 19, 1775, the American Revolution begins when 700 British troops march into Lexington to find 77 armed Minutemen waiting for them on the town's common green. Suddenly, the "shot heard around the world" was fired. Eight Americans lay dead or dying and 10 others were wounded.
On April 20, 1841, Edgar Allen Poe's story "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" first appears in Graham's Lady's and Gentleman's Magazine. The tale, widely considered to be the first detective story, describes the extraordinary "analytical power" used by Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin to solve a series of murders in Paris.