This Day in History: April 16

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On this day, April 16 …

1963: Martin Luther King Jr. writes his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in which he responds to a group of local clergymen who had criticized him for leading street protests, writing: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Also on this day:

  • 1862: During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signs a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia. 
  • 1889: Charlie Chaplin is born in London.
  • 1945: During World War II, a Soviet submarine in the Baltic Sea torpedoes and sinks the MV Goya, which Germany is using to transport civilian refugees and wounded soldiers; up to approximately 7,000 people die.
  • 1972: Apollo 16 blasts off on a voyage to the moon with astronauts John W. Young, Charles M. Duke Jr. and Ken Mattingly on board.
  • 1986: Dispelling rumors of his death, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi appears on television to condemn the U.S. raid on his country and to say that Libyans are “ready to die” defending their nation.
  • 1996: Britain’s Prince Andrew and his wife, Sarah the Duchess of York, announce they are in the process of divorcing.
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

  • 2007: In one of America’s worst school attacks, a college senior kills 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech before taking his own life.
  • 2008: The U.S. Supreme Court upholds, 7-2, the most widely used method of lethal injection, allowing states to resume executions after a seven-month halt.
  • 2018: Rap star Kendrick Lamar is awarded the Pulitzer for music, becoming the first non-classical or non-jazz artist to win.

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