Apr. 10, 1999
Poems: "Advice," by Rodney Jones, from Elegy for the Southern Drawl (Houghton Mifflin).
It was on this day in 1947 that 28-year-old JACKIE ROBINSON broke the color barrier in baseball's major leagues as he took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He'd been playing with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro National League, but in 1946 Branch Rickey signed him to the Dodgers' farm team in the International League. Robinson then came to Brooklyn and the majors; in his first season he hit .297, scored 125 runs, led the league with 29 stolen bases, and was named Rookie of the Year.
It was on this day in 1912 that the TITANIC set off on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, carrying 2,200 people. A journey that was supposed to take about a week, but which ended off Newfoundland on the night of April 14-15.
THE GIFT OF THE MAGI by O. Henry was published on this date in 1906. It's a Christmas story, but came out in April anyway as part of a collection called The Four Million.
THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS was formed on this day in 1866. Henry Bergh, a diplomat under President Lincoln, founded it in New York, modeling it after a British organization. Bergh said his mission was to "provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States." The following year, the ASPCA began operating the first ambulance for horses.
It's the birthday in 1827, Brookville, Indiana, of LEW WALLACE, who was a Civil War general, lawyer, and diplomat but is best remembered for the novel he wrote in 1880, Ben Hur, which was a big hit in Wallace's day.
WILLIAM BOOTH, the evangelist who founded the Salvation Army, was born this day in Nottingham, England, 1829. He grew up in dirt-poor conditions, but joined the Methodist church and began preaching on his own while still in his teens. His wife, Catherine, was also a preacher who worked the slums of east London; he joined her and created the Salvation Army in 1865 that soon sprouted branches across the country.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®