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This Day in U.S. History: April 3


1860 – The first successful United States Pony Express run from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, begins.

1865 – American Civil War: Union forces capture Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederate States of America.

1882 – American Old West: Jesse James is killed by Robert Ford.

1922 – Joseph Stalin becomes the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

1936 – Bruno Richard Hauptmann is executed for the kidnapping and death of Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., the baby son of pilot Charles Lindbergh.

1942 – World War II: Japanese forces begin an assault on the United States and Filipino troops on the Bataan Peninsula.

1946 – Japanese Lt. General Masaharu Homma is executed in the Philippines for leading the Bataan Death March.

1948 – United States President Harry S. Truman signs the Marshall Plan, authorizing $5 billion in aid for 16 countries.

1955 – The American Civil Liberties Union announces it will defend Allen Ginsberg's book Howl against obscenity charges.

1956 – Hudsonville–Standale tornado: The western half of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan is struck by a deadly F5 tornado.

1968 – Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech.

1969 – Vietnam War: United States Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird announces that the United States will start to "Vietnamize" the war effort.

1973 – Martin Cooper of Motorola makes the first handheld mobile phone call to Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs, though it took ten years for the DynaTAC 8000X to become the first such phone to be commercially released.

1974 – The 1974 Super Outbreak occurs, the second biggest tornado outbreak in recorded history (after the 2011 Super Outbreak). The death toll is 315, with nearly 5,500 injured.

1975 – Bobby Fischer refuses to play in a chess match against Anatoly Karpov, giving Karpov the title of World Champion by default.

1981 – The Osborne 1, the first successful portable computer, is unveiled at the West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco.

1996 – Suspected "Unabomber" Theodore Kaczynski is captured at his cabin in Montana, United States.

1996 – A United States Air Force airplane carrying United States Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown crashes in Croatia, killing all 35 on board.

2000 – United States v. Microsoft Corp.: Microsoft is ruled to have violated United States antitrust law by keeping "an oppressive thumb" on its competitors.

2008 – ATA Airlines, once one of the ten largest U.S. passenger airlines and largest charter airline, files for bankruptcy for the second time in five years and ceases all operations.

2008 – Texas law enforcement cordons off the FLDS's YFZ Ranch. Eventually 533 women and children will be removed and taken into state custody.

2010 – Apple Inc. released the first generation iPad, a tablet computer.

2016 – The Panama Papers, a leak of legal documents, reveals information on 214,488 offshore companies.


1783 – Washington Irving, American short story writer, essayist, biographer, historian (d. 1859)

1823 – William M. Tweed, American politician (d. 1878)

1898 – Henry Luce, American publisher, co-founded Time Magazine (d. 1967)

1907 – Iron Eyes Cody, American actor and stuntman (d. 1999)

1924 – Marlon Brando, American actor and director (d. 2004)

1926 – Gus Grissom, American colonel, pilot, and astronaut (d. 1967)

1942 – Wayne Newton, American singer

1944 – Tony Orlando, American singer (Tony Orlando and Dawn)

1953 – Sandra Boynton, American author and illustrator

1971 – Picabo Street, American skier


1882 – Jesse James, American criminal (b. 1847)

1936 – Richard Hauptmann, German-American murderer (b. 1899)

1950 – Kurt Weill, German-American composer and pianist (b. 1900)

1950 – Carter G. Woodson, American historian, author, and journalist, founded Black History Month (b. 1875)

2015 – Sarah Brady, American activist and author (b. 1942)