April 16, 1962: Dylan debuted his song "Blowin' in the Wind" at Gerde's Folk City in New York.
Broadside magazine published the song for the first time in May 1962 in its sixth issue. In June 1962, Sing Out published the song. In comments there, Dylan cryptically explained:
There ain’t too much I can say about this song except that the answer is blowing in the wind. It ain’t in no book or movie or TV show or discussion group. Man, it’s in the wind — and it’s blowing in the wind. Too many of these hip people are telling me where the answer is but oh I won’t believe that. I still say it’s in the wind and just like a restless piece of paper it’s got to come down some … But the only trouble is that no one picks up the answer when it comes down so not too many people get to see and know … and then it flies away. I still say that some of the biggest criminals are those that turn their heads away when they see wrong and know it’s wrong. I’m only 21 years old and I know that there’s been too many … You people over 21, you’re older and smarter.
Columbia Records released the song as a single and on Dylan's first album, Bob Dylan, in 1963, but it was Peter, Paul and Mary's cover that made the song a hit. The single sold a phenomenal 300,000 copies in the first week of release and made the song world-famous. On August 17, 1963, it reached number two on Billboard, with sales exceeding one million copies. .(see Apr 25)
April 16, 1964: Decca Records released the Rolling Stones début album, The Rolling Stones (England's Newest Hitmakers) in the UK. The slightly different US release came on May 30 on London Records. Only one of the songs was composed by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards ("Tell Me (You're Coming Back") Nanker Phelge wrote two: Now I've Got a Witness and Little By Little. Phelge was a name invented by the band for a band composition.
I Just Want to Make Love to You
Honest I Do
I Need You Baby
Now I’ve Got a Witness”
Little By Little
I’m a King Bee
Tell Me (You’re Coming Back)
Can I Get a Witness
You Can Make It If You Try
Walking the Dog
April 16 Music et al
April 16 – May 20, 1966: Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass's Going Places album returned to the Billboard #1 album. It was Albert's fifth album. The song "Spanish Flea" was often heard on the TV show The Dating Game.
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April 16, 1862: President Lincoln signed an act abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia. (see May 1)
The Greensboro Four
April 16 – 17: Easter weekend, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) organized a meeting of sit-in students from all over the nation at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C. Leader Ella Baker encouraged students to form the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, pronounced "snick") to organize the effort. SNCC helped coordinate sit-ins and other direct action. From their ranks came many of today's leaders, including Congressman John Lewis and longtime NAACP leader Julian Bond. At the conference, Guy Carawan sang a new version of "We Shall Overcome," which became the national anthem of the civil rights movement. Workers joined hands and gently swayed in time, singing "black and white together," repeating, "Deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome some day." (see April 19)
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR
April 16, 1963: King’s "Letter from Birmingham Jail," responding to eight white clergymen from Alabama who had chastised him breaking the law released. King reminded them that everything that Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal.” The letter was released on this date. “While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Martin Luther King writes "Letter from Birmingham Jail," arguing that individuals have the moral duty to disobey unjust laws. “Never before have I written so long a letter. I'm afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?” [link to PDF of Letter] (BH, see Apr 23; MLK, see June 11)
Rodney King attack
April 16, 1993: federal jury convicted Sgt. Stacey Koon and Laurence Michael Powell on one charge of violating King's civil rights. Officers Timothy Wind, and Theodore Briseno were found not guilty. No disturbances follow the verdict. (King, see August 4)
US Labor History
Int’l Ladies’ Garment Workers Union
April 16, 1916: in a dispute over hiring practices, employers locked out 25,000 New York City garment workers. The Int’l Ladies’ Garment Workers Union called a general strike and after 14 weeks, 60,000 strikers won union recognition and the contractual right to strike (see June 3)
April 16, 1943, LSD : In Basel, Switzerland, Albert Hoffman, a Swiss chemist working at the Sandoz pharmaceutical research laboratory, accidentally consumed LSD-25, a synthetic drug he had created in 1938 as part of his research into the medicinal value of lysergic acid compounds. After taking the drug, formally known as lysergic acid diethylamide, Dr. Hoffman was disturbed by unusual sensations and hallucinations. In his notes, he related the experience: "Last Friday, April 16, 1943, I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant, intoxicated-like condition characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away."
April 16, 1947: multimillionaire and financier Bernard Baruch, in a speech given during the unveiling of his portrait in the South Carolina House of Representatives, coins the term "Cold War" to describe relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. He said it was only through "unity" between labor and management that the United States could hope to play its role as the major force by which "the world can renew itself physically or spiritually." He called for longer workweeks, no-strike pledges from unions, and no-layoff pledges from management. It was imperative that American business and industry pull itself together, Baruch warned. "Let us not be deceived-we are today in the midst of a cold war.” And thus the term was coined and the media adopted. (see May 22)
Texas City explosion
April 16, 1947: 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate on board a ship docked in the port of Texas City detonate, setting off a chain reaction of explosions and fires on other ships and nearby oil storage facilities. The explosion killed at least 581 people and injured thousands in the deadliest industrial disaster in U.S. history. As a result, changes in chemical manufacturing and new regulations for the bagging, handling, and shipping of chemicals were enacted. (see March 24, 1955)
April 16, 1958: the military announced that the search efforts for the Tybee bomb (see February 5, 1958) had been unsuccessful. Based upon a hydrologic survey, the bomb was thought by the Department of Energy to lie buried under 5 to 15 feet of silt at the bottom of Wassaw Sound. The Tybee Bomb remaining buried would be a positive thing because if the bomb’s alloy casing were exposed to seawater by the shifting strata in which it is presumed to be buried, rapid corrosion could occur. That would allow the highly enriched uranium to leach out of the device and enter the aquifer that surrounds the continental shelf in this area. (see Aug 24)
April 16, 1961: about 500 persons attended a rally at in the Baptist Church near Washington Square to protest the the ban against Sunday singing and performing in Washington Square. (see Apr 20)
April 16 Music et al
April 16, 1962: Dylan debuted his song "Blowin' in the Wind" at Gerde's Folk City in New York. (see Apr 25)
April 16, 1964. the Rolling Stones released their début album, The Rolling Stones (England's Newest Hitmakers).
April 16 – May 20, 1966: Herb Albert’s Going Places returns as to the Billboard #1 album.
April 16 Peace Love Activism
April 16 – 27, 1972: Apollo 16 voyage. It will land on the moon and travel almost 17 miles with the lunar rover. Commander, John W Young; Charles M Duke, Jr, Lunar Module Pilot; and Thomas K Mattingly II, Command Module Pilot. (see Dec 7 – 19)
My Lai Massacre
April 16, 1974: Lieutenant Calley's sentence was further reduced from 20 years to 10 years. Calley will return to the stockade from house arrest, but will be released on parole that November. In total, Calley serves four months in a stockade. (My Lai, see March 6, 1998; Vietnam, see Sept 16)
Dissolution of the USSR
April 16, 2005: 10 countries signed the 2003 Treaty of Accession admitting them to the European Union (EU). After Malta and Cyprus, eight of the ten new EU nations (Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) were former communist countries. The signing of the treaty in Athens marked the first time that former members of the Soviet Bloc joined the EU.
Iraq War II
April 16, 2007: “As of Sunday, April 15, 2007, at least 3,300 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.” [AP, 4/16/07] (see April 25)
Baze v. Rees
April 16, 2008: in Baze v. Rees the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a particular method of lethal injection used for capital punishment. Ralph Baze and Thomas Bowling (sentenced to death in Kentucky) had argued that executing them by lethal injection would violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. The governing legal standard required that lethal injection must not inflict "unnecessary pain", and Baze and Bowling argued that the lethal chemicals Kentucky used carried an unnecessary risk of inflicting pain during the execution. The case had nationwide implications because the specific "cocktail" used for lethal injections in Kentucky was the same that virtually all states used for lethal injection. (see September 30, 2009)
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