The Dallas Morning News

TODAY IN HISTORY

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1947 The cargo ship Grandcamp, carrying ammonium nitrate, blew up in the harbor in Texas City; a nearby ship, the High Flyer, which was carrying ammonium nitrate and sulfur, caught fire and exploded the following day; the blasts and fires killed nearly 600 people.

1963 Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his ‘‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’’ in which the civil rights activist responded to a group of local clergymen who had criticized him for leading street protests; King defended his tactics, writing, ‘‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’’

1977 Alex Haley, author of the best-seller Roots, visited the Gambian village of Juffure, where, he believed, his ancestor Kunte Kinte was captured as a slave in 1767.

2007 In one of America’s worst school attacks, a college senior killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech before taking his own life.

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