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In the Good Old Days Antiques Corner This Week in History
This Week in History

Loss of a Civil Rights Leader, Sherlock Holmes Film, and a Woman Strikes Out Ruth and Gehrig

-- On April 4, 1968: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., by James Earl Ray. King had traveled to Memphis to support African-American sanitation workers who were striking for equal wages and equal rights. The Baptist minister was known for his leadership in the civil rights movement including his nonviolent protests, marches, boycotts and speeches championing for equal rights. An amazing public speaker, he is frequently remembered for his I Have a Dream speech given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963, in which he envisioned an America where people "will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." During his short life, King became an iconic leader for the civil rights movement and won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his work. In 2011, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial was opened in the West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C., to honor his many achievements.

-- On March 31, 1939: The film Hound of the Baskervilles starring Basil Rathbone (Sherlock Holmes) and Nigel Bruce (Dr. Watson) was released. In the film, Holmes and Watson investigate a Baskerville family curse that foretells of a demonic hound killing all Baskervilles near the family estate in Devonshire. The film was set in Victorian England and closely followed the book of the same title by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Rathbone and Bruce would go on to portray the famous detectives in a total of 14 movies, but the Hound of the Baskervilles is generally considered to be their best Holmes film. The pair also appeared in the same roles on the radio series entitled The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

-- On April 2, 1931: A 17-year-old woman named Jackie Mitchell struck out Baseball Hall of Famers Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game. Mitchell was a left-handed pitcher known for her sinker. She was taught how to pitch by her neighbor, future Hall of Famer Dazzy Vance. Mitchell was signed to the Chattanooga Lookouts, a minor league team, shortly before the exhibition game. During the game, she struck out Ruth and Gehrig back to back. To this day, there is a great deal of debate about whether the strikeouts were genuine batting attempts by the future Hall of Fame players or whether they struck out merely as part of a promotional campaign stunt. After all, baseball during this time period often featured marketing promotions to try to increase attendance. A few days after the exhibition game, Mitchell left the Lookouts but continued to play for various amateur teams until 1937 when she retired from baseball.

-- Compiled by M. Moeller

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