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What Happened on June 8?

  • Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassin was captured. (1968) James Earl Ray shot and killed Dr. King on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. Ray was caught in London, England and extradited back to the U.S. He plead guilty, though he later recanted. and was sentenced to 99 years in prison, though he ultimately died from hepatitis C while serving his sentence.

  • Mickey Mantle's uniform was retired. (1969) Mantle's jersey, number 7, was retired on Mickey Mantle Day at Yankee Stadium in New York. He was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. He still holds several World Series records, including most home runs at 18 and most runners batted in at 40. Mantle is regarded as one of the greatest baseball players in history.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it's a crime to refuse service on the basis of race. (1953) In District of Columbia v. John R. Thompson Co., the court black patrons sued a Washington D.C. restaurant for refusing to serve black patrons. This decision came just one year before the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, which found racial segregation to be unconstitutional.

  • The PHP programming language was introduced. (1995) Canadian citizen Rasmus Lerdorf created the language and authored its first two versions.

  • The Prophet Mohammed died. (632) Mohammed, an influential religious and political leader — and founder of Islam — died in Medina in the arms of this third wife. Islam now is the world's second largest religion, next to Christianity.

  • James Madison proposed the first amendments to the U.S. Constitution. (1789) Madison proposed 12 different amendments; ten of them were ratified and are know as the U.S. Bill of Rights.

  • U.S. President Andrew Jackson died. (1845) President Jackson was the 7th president of the United States, serving from March 4, 1829 to March 4, 1837. He died in Tennessee at the age of 78 years.

  • Chief Cochise died. (1874) Cochise was a famed chief and leader of the Apache Indian tribe. He is perhaps most well known for his resistance to the encroachment of American settlers. Cochise County in Arizona is named after him and the Cochise Stronghold in the Dragoon mountains still stands.

  • A list of American celebrities were reported to the FBI as Communist Party members. (1949) The list included Helen Keller, Dorothy Parker, and Danny Kaye

  • Charlton Heston was elected president of the National Rifle Association. (1998) He served as president until 2003. He was a staunch believer in the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, to the point of controversy.

  • Barbara Bush was born. (1925) Former first lady and wife of President George H. W. Bush, 41st President of the United States, Barbara founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. Her daughter-in-law, Laura Bush would also go on to champion the cause of literacy during her tenure as First Lady.

  • American architect Frank Lloyd Wright was born. (1867) Wright also was an author, penning 20 books and many articles. He was honored by the American Institute of Architects as the greatest American architect of all time. Many of Wright's houses and buildings now are tourist attractions. He died during surgery on April 9, 1959 in Phoenix, Arizona.

  • American cartoonist Scott Adams was born. (1957) Adams is most well-known for his creation of the Dilbert comic strip.

  • American comedian and actress Joan Rivers was born. (1933) Rivers has been nominated for several entertainment awards and won an Emmy Award in 1990 for Outstanding Talk Show Host. She also was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that year.

  • Tennessee seceded from the Union. (1861) Tennessee was the last state to join the Confederacy during the American Civil War and provided more soldiers than any other state for the Confederate Army. It also was the first state to rejoin the Union at the end of the war.

  • The last tornado to kill more than 100 people struck. (1953) The tornado touched down in Flint, Michigan, killing 115 people.

  • The first tornado to cause more than $100 million U.S. Dollars in damage struck. (1966) The tornado touched down in Topeka, Kansas, registering an F5 on the Fujita Scale — the highest rating on the scale. The tornado also killed 16 people and destroyed thousands of homes.

  • The Laki volcano in Iceland erupted. (1783) The eruption lasted eight months, killing more than 9,000 people and starting a seven-year famine.

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