100 YEARS AGO: Officials of the Ford Motor company this afternoon confirmed a report that more than 200 men have been affected daily by a mysterious epidemic resembling grip, which has been prevalent in the plant. It was estimated that about 2,000 employees had been ill so far.
50 YEARS AGO: April 4: Dr. Martin Luther King died less than an hour after he was shot in the neck as he stood on the balcony of his motel. Police searched for a white gunman. Memphis was relatively calm this morning after six hours of looting, arson and shootings set off by the slaying of King. The body, in a bronze casket, was put on view and hundreds of Negroes passed to pay their last respects. April 4: Gordon Parks, a professional photographer, author, poet and composer is the first Negro ever signed to direct a major production for release by a major movie company. Parks will direct the film version of his autobiographical novel, “The Learning Tree,” around Fort Scott, Kan., next August, for Warner Bros-7 Arts. He has already composed the film’s musical theme and will write its musical background.
25 YEARS AGO: Outnumbered Senate Republicans are blocking a vote on President Clinton’s short-term job-creation bill after lining up unanimously against his budget. Clinton called the GOP lawmakers, “43 votes for paralysis.” “They want to gut all the job-creating programs. The American people have to send them a message.” If they were getting a signal, the Republican senators didn’t let on, offering ... and losing ... amendment after amendment to the $16.3 billion jobs bill.
FIVE YEARS AGO: The city council in a small north Georgia town voted Monday night to make gun ownership mandatory — unless you object. Council members in Nelson, a city of about 1,300 residents that’s located 50 miles north of Atlanta, voted unanimously to approve the Family Protection Ordinance. The measure requires every head of household to own a gun and ammunition to “provide for the emergency management of the city” and to “provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants.” The ordinance exempts convicted felons and those who suffer from certain physical or mental disabilities, as well as anyone who objects to gun ownership. The ordinance also doesn’t include any penalty for those who don’t comply. But backers said they wanted to make a statement about gun rights at a time when President Barack Obama and some states are pushing for more restrictions in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school massacre in December that left 20 children and six educators dead. A Nelson resident, one of five people who spoke during a public comment period and one of two who opposed the ordinance, said it dilutes the city’s laws to pass measures that aren’t intended to be enforced. “Does this mean now 55 miles an hour speed limit means 65, 80, whatever you choose? There’s not a whole lot of difference. A law’s a law,” he said.