Today is Thursday, April 9, the 99th day of 2009 with 266 to follow.
This is the first day of Passover.
The moon is full. The morning stars are Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune. The evening stars are Mercury and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include French poet Charles Baudelaire in 1821; comic actor W.C. Fields in 1879; actor/singer Paul Robeson in 1898; birth control pill inventor Gregory Pincus and actor Ward Bond, both in 1903; former U.S. Sen. James William Fulbright, D-Ark., in 1905; Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner in 1926 (age 83); singer/songwriter Tom Lehrer in 1928 (age 81); rock 'n' roll pioneer Carl Perkins in 1932; actor Jean-Paul Belmondo in 1933 (age 76); comedian Avery Schreiber in 1935; and actors Michael Learned ("The Waltons") in 1939 (age 70), Dennis Quaid in 1954 (age 55) and Keshia Knight Pulliam ("The Cosby Show") in 1979 (age 30).
On this date in history:
In 1816, the first all-black U.S. religious denomination, the AME church, was organized in Philadelphia.
In 1865, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia, bringing the Civil War to a close.
In 1866, the U.S. Congress passed the Civil Rights Bill of 1866, which granted blacks the rights and privileges of U.S. citizenship and formed the basis for the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In 1939, on Easter Sunday, African-American contralto Marian Anderson gave a free open-air concert before more than 75,000 people from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington after the Daughters of the American Revolution denied her use of Constitution Hall because of her race.
In 1940, Germany invaded Norway and Denmark.
In 1947, a tornado roared through at least 12 towns in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, killing 169 people. The twister traveled 221 miles across three states.
In 1959, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration introduced America's first astronauts to the public. The seven men, all military test pilots, were carefully selected from a group of 32 candidates to take part in Project Mercury.
In 1963, by an act of the U.S. Congress, British statesman Winston Churchill became an honorary U.S. citizen.
In 1976, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed on the size of nuclear tests for peaceful use.
In 1989, troops clashed with nationalist demonstrators in the capital of the Soviet republic of Georgia.
In 1991, the Soviet republic of Georgia declared its independence.
In 1992, a federal jury in Miami convicted deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega on cocaine trafficking charges.
In 1996, former U.S. Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, D-Ill., pleaded guilty to mail fraud and was sentenced to 19 months in prison.
In 1997, a government of unity was launched in Angola, three years after the end of the country's 19-year civil war, with the seating of 70 members of the rebel UNITA party in parliament.
In 1998, tornadoes and storms took 39 lives in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.
In 1999, the president of the African nation of Niger was assassinated, reportedly by members of his own guard. A military junta led by the commander of the presidential guards took over.
In 2000, Peru's President Alberto Fujimori failed to win a first-round election victory, forcing a run-off in May that he won. However, a vote-fraud scandal forced him to step down later in the year.
In 2003, the mood in Iraq became exuberant as Iraqis, with help from Americans, toppled a 20-foot statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad's Firdos Square.
In 2004, authorities in Bulgaria said at least 40 people were injured, some seriously, in a toxic gas attack on a police station in Sofia.
In 2005, Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, married Camilla Parker Bowles, his long-time companion, at Windsor Castle. She took the title duchess of Cornwall.
Also in 2005, authorities in Lusaka, Zambia, said at least 42 schoolchildren, on their way home at the end of the term, were killed near Lusaka when the truck in which they were riding overturned.
In 2007, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that his country could produce nuclear fuel on an industrial scale.
Also in 2007, the death toll in the earthquake and tsunami in the Solomon Islands was placed at 39 with nearly 7,000 people homeless.
In 2008, the World Bank reported that worldwide food prices had risen 83 percent over the three-year period preceding February 2008.
A thought for the day: Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote, "Advice is like snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind."