• On April 15, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln dies from an assassin’s bullet. Shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington the night before, Lincoln lived for nine hours before succumbing to the severe head wound he sustained.
• On April 19, 1876, a Wichita, Kansas, commission votes not to rehire policeman Wyatt Earp after he beats up a candidate for county sheriff. Earp often worked in law enforcement, but his own allegiance to the rule of law was conditional at best. Wyatt was one of the Earp brothers, who gained fame in the shootout at the O.K. Corral in 1881.
• On April 20, 1926, inventor Lee de Forest demonstrates Phonofilm (music recorded on motion picture film) to movie studios, but they were not interested in “talking pictures,” believing sound was a novelty.
• On April 16, 1943, researcher Albert Hofmann, a Swiss chemist, hallucinates after accidentally consuming LSD-25, a synthetic drug he had created. LSD was made illegal in the U.S. in 1965.
• On April 21, 1967, General Motors celebrates the manufacture of its 100 millionth American-made car. At the time, GM was the world’s largest automaker.
• On April 17, 1970, Apollo 13, the U.S. lunar spacecraft that suffered a severe malfunction on its journey to the moon, safely returns to Earth. Disaster struck 200,000 miles from Earth when an oxygen tank blew up in the spacecraft, disrupting the supply of electricity, light, oxygen and water. Astronaut John Swigert reported to mission control on Earth, “Houston, we’ve had a problem here.”
• On April 18, 1983, American runner Joan Benoit wins her second Boston Marathon in the women’s division with a time of 2:22:43. The following year, she won the first-ever women’s marathon at the Summer Games in Los Angeles, becoming the first person to win Boston as well as Olympic gold.
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