On this day, April 7 …
1954: President Dwight D. Eisenhower holds a news conference in which he speaks of the importance of containing the spread of communism in Indochina, saying, “You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly.” (This would become known as the “domino theory,” although Eisenhower did not use that term.)
Also on this day:
- 1798: The Mississippi Territory is created by an act of Congress, with Natchez as the capital.
- 1862: Union forces led by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant defeat the Confederates at the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee.
- 1915: Jazz singer-songwriter Billie Holiday, also known as “Lady Day,” is born in Philadelphia.
- 1927: The image and voice of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover are transmitted live from Washington to New York in the first successful long-distance demonstration of television.
- 1959: A referendum in Oklahoma repeals the state’s ban on alcoholic beverages.
- 1962: Nearly 1,200 Cuban exiles tried by Cuba for their roles in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion are convicted of treason.
- 1966: The U.S. Navy recovers a hydrogen bomb that the U.S. Air Force lost in the Mediterranean Sea off Spain following a B-52 crash.
- 1978: President Jimmy Carter announces he is deferring the development of the neutron bomb, a high-radiation weapon.
- 1983: Space shuttle astronauts Story Musgrave and Don Peterson go on the first U.S. spacewalk in almost a decade as they work in the open cargo bay of Challenger for nearly four hours.
- 1994: Civil war erupts in Rwanda, a day after a mysterious plane crash killed the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi; in the months that followed, hundreds of thousands of minority Tutsi and Hutu moderates would be slaughtered by Hutu extremists.
- 2008: Anti-China protesters disrupt the Olympic torch relay in Paris, at times forcing Chinese organizers to put out the flame and take the torch onto a bus to secure it.
- 2008: Kansas wins the NCAA championship, defeating Memphis 75-68 in overtime.
- 2009: Vermont becomes the fourth state (after Connecticut, Massachusetts and Iowa) to legalize same-sex marriage.
- 2014: Alonzo Mourning, a seven-time NBA All-Star, and NCAA championship-winning coaches Nolan Richardson and Gary Williams are voted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
- 2014: Connecticut wins its second NCAA men’s title in four years, beating Kentucky 60-54 in the championship game.
- 2014: Model and media personality Peaches Geldof is found dead at her home in Wrotham, Kent, U.K., at age 25.
- 2018: Opposition activists and local rescuers say at least 40 people are killed in a suspected poison gas attack on the last remaining foothold for the Syrian opposition in the eastern suburbs of Damascus.
- 2019: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigns after 16 months on the job.