Twenty years ago today, Hutu gunmen systematically start tracking down and killing moderate Hutu politicians and Tutsi leaders. The deputy to the U.S. ambassador in Rwanda tells Washington that the killings involve not just political murders, but genocide.
Thousands die on the first day, setting off 100 days of slaughter.
Follow FRONTLINE’s Rwandan Genocide timeline to learn about significant events, statements and decisions that reveal how the United States and the West chose not to act to save hundreds of thousands of lives in the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
Photo: A woman consoles Bizimana Emmanuel, 22, during the 20th anniversary commemoration of the 1994 genocide at Amahoro Stadium April 7, 2014 in Kigali, Rwanda. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
On this day in 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee aged just 39. The Baptist minister from Georgia first came to national attention for his leadership of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. This event is considered by many the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, which saw a national fight against discrimination suffered by African-Americans. King was one of many leaders, but became the face of the movement for his nonviolent tactics and powerful oratory. In 1963, during the March on Washington, King delivered the crowning speech of the struggle - the ‘I have a dream’ speech. Beyond his role in combating racial inequality, King also focused on tackling poverty and advocating peace, especially during the Vietnam War. On April 4th 1968, King was shot and killed by James Earl Ray. He lived to see the legislative achievements of the movement - the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act - but tragically was unable to continue the push for full equality. The movement King set in motion continues to be fought today; the United States is still not a completely equal society and systemic discrimination persists. However thanks to Martin Luther King, America is closer to fulfilling King’s dream of a truly free and equal society.
Jacksonville, Florida, fish store owner Nat Dobson shows off some Florida mullet filets, calling them “Truman Turkey.”
In October 1947, President Truman announced a plan to try and help Europe, devastated and hungry following the second World War and facing the long winter months.
Truman told Americans: “Their most urgent need is food. If the peace should be lost because Americans failed to share their food with hungry people, there would be no more tragic example in all history of a peace needlessly lost.”
He called on Americans not to eat meat on Tuesdays and to abstain from eating poultry or eggs on Thursdays:
"When you save meat and save poultry products you save grain, and grain is what is necessary to meet the hunger situation in Europe," he told reporters.
On this day in 1942, Italian Nobel Prize winning physicist Enrico Fermi created the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction in his laboratory at the University of Chicago.
The discovery initiated the “new world” of nuclear power and led to the early success of the Manhattan Project, a code name given to a clandestine nuclear research program developed by the United States to create the world’s first atomic bomb.
Condolence Telegrams for Jackie, from MLK, Duke Ellington, Douglas MacArthur, and More
These telegrams from notables are but a few of the 800,000 condolence letters that Jackie Kennedy received after the assassination of her husband.
Martin Luther King wrote from Atlanta. Duke Ellington was in Turkey, where he was touring as a cultural ambassador with the State Department; the musician reportedly stayed up that night composing songs in JFK’s memory. Retired general Douglas MacArthur, who was to die the next year, wired from New York, claiming JFK as a “former comrade in arms.”
150 years ago on November 19, 1863, four months after the battle, President Abraham Lincoln came to Gettysburg to dedicate the national cemetery for the Union dead. In his remarks, he paid tribute to the brave men who died there and insisted that their sacrifice would increase the will of the people to fulfill America’s promise. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, a rhetorical masterpiece delivered in less than three minutes, defined the war as necessary for the survival of the nation and its ideals.
November 19, 1863: Lincoln Delivers Gettysburg Address
150 years ago today, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Considered one of the most memorable speeches in American history, the 272-word address reflected Lincoln’s redefined conviction that the Civil War was a fight not only to maintain the Union but also emphasize the struggle for liberty and equality for all.
The Battle of Gettysburg marked a turning point in the Civil War as the bloodiest battle and the South’s defeat under General Robert E. Lee, leading to the Confederate army’s ultimate decline.
Commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address with Ken Burns’ “The Address” site to discover a national campaign that encourages every American to learn, recite, and record the address.
Photo:Lincoln’s address at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery, November 19, 1863 (Library of Congress).