• Jonathan Miller

This Day in History: April 15



On this day of April 15, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier by participating in an MLB game as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. The MLB had been segregated since its establishment, but Robinson's actions had ended its 50+ history of segregation and helped begin the integration of the MLB.


Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia on January 31, 1919. He was raised by a family of sharecroppers, but it wouldn't stop him from becoming a natural in sports. Robinson would attend the University of California in Los Angeles and become the first athlete at UCLA to letter four varsity sports: baseball, track, basketball, and football.

The Army would be an impromptu decision by Robinson. He had been going through some financial troubles that made him drop out of UCLA. While in the army, Robinson would protest about racial discrimination he had experienced. He would be court-martialed for his accusations, and would be honorably discharged in 1944.


Robinson's career in baseball would then start with one season playing in the Negro American League. He would then play in a minor Canadian baseball league until being called up to the majors. The Brooklyn Dodgers themselves would sign Jackie Robinson as a first baseman. The first game he would play as a Brooklyn Dodger would be on April 15, 1947 and make history that day.


The MLB would retire his number, 42, in 1997 on the same day of his first game, April 15.

 

In 1912, the Titanic would sink at about two o'clock in the morning. The luxurious passenger ship had about 2,200 people aboard, but around 1,500 of their lives would be lost in this disaster.


The construction of the Titanic began in 1907. The architects had elevators, a saloon, and a swimming pool planned for the ginormous ship. They had designed a system of compartments that made many people believe that the ship was unsinkable. Their "unsinkable" system made it where if 4 of 16 compartments were flooded, the ship's buoyancy would not be endangered. The construction would be concluded on May 31, 1911.


At the time, the Titanic was the largest ship in the world. It was 882.5 feet long and 92.5 feet wide. The ship weighed about 52,000 tons (104,000,000 pounds).


The voyage began in Southampton, England on April 10, 1912, and was to set sail to New York City. The ship would make two stops; the first in Cherbourg, France, and the second in Queensland, Ireland.

An ice field was inside the Titanic's path, and that would unfortunately seal the fate of Titanic. There was a an ice berg 400 miles south of the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, and it had been unspotted by the crew of the Titanic. As the ship approached the iceberg, he captain would start to maneuver the ship too late for the ship to avoid colliding into the iceberg.

Distress signals were sent out after the collision, but the ships that received them were too far from the wreck to prevent the disaster from getting worse.

 

In 2013, the Boston Marathon bombings would occur, killing 3 spectators and injuring 260 others.


There were two IED's in backpacks packed with an absurd amount of shrapnel that detonated seconds apart near the finish line of the marathon. The city of Boston was shut down and an intense manhunt had started to find the perpetrators.

The suspects were determined in less than two days. There were two suspects, and they were a pair of brothers: Tamerlane and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.


One of the brothers shot and killed a police officer in his patrol car to steal his service weapon. Later, they would take a driver hostage and force them to drive them around Boston. The hostage would fortunately escape and call the police.


The confrontation would end in a shootout. The eldest brother, Tamerlane Tsarnaev, would die from his injuries from the shootout, and the younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, would escape, but would be caught in the evening of April 19.

 

In 1865, Abraham Lincoln had eventually succumbed to his bullet wound from John Wilkes Booth's assassination attempt. Lincoln was shot at Ford's theatre on the night of April 14.


John Wilkes Booth was an actor that had been an avid supporter of the confederation that had recently lost the war against the Union led by Abraham Lincoln. He planned to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson (vice president), and William H. Seward (secretary of state) to try and throw the American government into chaos.


Booth's entire plan was nearly successful. One of his co-conspirators, Lewis T. Powell, nearly killed Seward in his own home, but the co-conspirator assigned to Johnson would get too nervous to take action upon assassinating the vice president.

Booth would be the only successful conspirator. He would sneak into Lincoln's private box and shoot him.


Abraham Lincoln would be carried to a cheap lodging house where only one doctor, Dr. Charles Leale, would tend to his wounds. The doctor would not be able to save Lincoln, and Lincoln would formally pass away in the morning of April 15.