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Today In History – April 08 – Hank Aaron Sets New Home Run Record





1904: Britain and France sign Entente Cordiale: On this day in 1904, with war in Europe a decade away, Britain and France sign an agreement, later known as the Entente Cordiale, resolving long-standing colonial disputes in North Africa and establishing a diplomatic understanding between the two countries.

Formally entitled a Declaration between the United Kingdom and France Respecting Egypt and Morocco, the Entente Cordiale of April 1904 amounted more than anything to a declaration of friendship between these two great European powers. By its terms, France promised not to challenge British control over Egypt; for its part, Britain recognized France’s right, as a Power whose dominions are conterminous for a great distance with those of Morocco to act in that country to preserve order and to provide assistance to bring about whatever reforms in the government, economy or military it deemed necessary. More here

1916: California road race kills five: On this day in 1916, at the Boulevard Race in Corona, California, an early racing car careens into a crowd of spectators, killing the driver and two others. At the time, racing events were still a relative rarity and the fatal accident helped encourage organizers to begin holding races on specially built tracks instead of regular streets. The first organized race of “horseless carriages,” as they were then called, was held in France in 1894. The winning speed was less than 10 miles per hour and the winner was disqualified because his steam-driven tractor was deemed not to be a practical vehicle. The first Grand Prix was held 12 years later. More here

1935: WPA established by Congress: On April 8, 1935, Congress votes to approve the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a central part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal.”

In November 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, Governor Roosevelt of New York was elected the 32nd president of the United States. In his inaugural address on March 4, 1933, Roosevelt promised Americans that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” and outlined his New Deal–an expansion of the federal government as an instrument of employment opportunity and welfare.

In April 1935, the WPA was established under the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act, as a means of creating government jobs for some of the nation’s many unemployed. Under the direction of Harry L. Hopkins, the WPA employed more than 8.5 million persons on 1.4 million public projects before it was disbanded in 1943. The program chose work that would not interfere with private enterprise, especially vast public building projects like the construction of highways, bridges, and dams. However, the WPA also provided federal funding for students, who were given work under the National Youth Administration. The careers of several important American artists, including Jackson Pollack and Willem de Kooning, were also launched thanks to WPA endowments. Although its scale was unprecedented, the WPA never managed to serve more than a quarter of the nation’s unemployed. Its programs were extremely popular, though, and contributed significantly to Roosevelt’s landslide reelection in 1936. More here

1952: President Harry Truman calls for the seizure of all domestic steel mills to prevent a nationwide strike: The 1952 steel strike was a strike by the United Steelworkers of America against U.S. Steel and nine other steelmakers. The strike was scheduled to begin on April 9, 1952, but President Harry S. Truman nationalized the American steel industry hours before the workers walked out. The steel companies sued to regain control of their facilities. On June 2, 1952, in a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579 (1952), that the president lacked the authority to seize the steel mills. The Steelworkers struck to win a wage increase. The strike lasted 53 days, and ended on July 24, 1952, on essentially the same terms the union had proposed four months earlier. More here

1968: BOAC Flight 712 catches fire shortly after take off: BOAC Flight 712 (callsign Speedbird 712) for Monday 8 April 1968 was a British Overseas Airways Corporation service operated by a Boeing 707-465 from London Heathrow Airport bound for Sydney via Zürich Kloten and Singapore, which suffered an engine failure at takeoff that quickly led to a major fire. The engine fell off the aircraft in flight. Confusion over checklists and distractions from the presence of a check captain led to a major fire that killed five of the 127 on board after the aircraft had made a safe emergency landing. More here

1974: Hank Aaron sets new home run record: On this day in 1974, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hits his 715th career home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s legendary record of 714 homers. A crowd of 53,775 people, the largest in the history of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, was with Aaron that night to cheer when he hit a 4th inning pitch off the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Al Downing. However, as Aaron was an African American who had received death threats and racist hate mail during his pursuit of one of baseball’s most distinguished records, the achievement was bittersweet. More here

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