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Today in History: April 11, Civil Rights Act becomes law a week after Martin Luther King Jr. is killed

President Johnson signed into law the new Civil Rights Bill, April 11, 1968, in Washington. The bill signing ceremony took place in the East Room in the White House. (AP Photo)

President Johnson signed into law the new Civil Rights Bill, April 11, 1968, in Washington. The bill signing ceremony took place in the East Room in the White House. (AP Photo)

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Today in History:

On April 11, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which included the Fair Housing Act, a week after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

On this date:

In 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte abdicated as Emperor of the French and was banished to the island of Elba. (Napoleon later escaped from Elba and returned to power in March 1815, until his downfall in the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815.)

In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln spoke to a crowd outside the White House, saying, “We meet this evening, not in sorrow, but in gladness of heart.” (It was the last public address Lincoln would deliver.)

In 1899, the treaty ending the Spanish-American War was declared in effect.

In 1913, Postmaster General Albert S. Burleson, during a meeting of President Woodrow Wilson’s Cabinet, proposed gradually segregating whites and Blacks who worked for the Railway Mail Service, a policy that went into effect and spread to other agencies.

In 1945, during ϰϲ War II, American soldiers liberated the Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald in Germany.

In 1947, Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers played in an exhibition against the New York Yankees at Ebbets Field, four days before his regular-season debut that broke baseball’s color line.

In 1961, former SS officer Adolf Eichmann went on trial in Israel, charged with crimes against humanity for his role in the Nazi Holocaust. (Eichmann was convicted and executed.)

In 1970, Apollo 13, with astronauts James A. Lovell, Fred W. Haise and Jack Swigert, blasted off on its ill-fated mission to the moon. (The mission was aborted when an oxygen tank exploded April 13. The crew splashed down safely four days after the explosion.)

In 1980, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued regulations specifically prohibiting sexual harassment of workers by supervisors.

In 1996, 7-year-old Jessica Dubroff, who hoped to become the youngest person to fly cross-country, was killed along with her father and flight instructor when their plane crashed after takeoff from Cheyenne, Wyoming.

In 2012, George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. (He was acquitted at trial.)

In 2013, comedian Jonathan Winters, 87, died in Montecito, California.

In 2017, David Letterman’s mother, Dorothy Mengering, a Midwestern homemaker who became an unlikely celebrity on her son’s late-night talk show, died at age 95.

In 2018, Pope Francis admitted he made “grave errors” in judgment in Chile’s sex abuse scandal; during a January visit to Chile, Francis had strongly defended Bishop Juan Barros despite accusations by victims that Barros had witnessed and ignored their abuse.

In 2020, the number of U.S. deaths from the coronavirus eclipsed Italy’s for the highest in the world, topping 20,000.

In 2022, Mimi Reinhard, a secretary in Oskar Schindler’s office who typed up the list of Jews he saved from extermination by Nazi Germany, died at age 107.