This Day in History: Sept. 15

A bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., kills four Black girls

On this day, Sept. 15 ...

1963: Four Black girls are killed when a bomb goes off during Sunday services at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. (Three Ku Klux Klansmen eventually would be convicted for their roles in the blast.)

Also on this day:

  • 1776: British forces occupy New York City during the American Revolution.
  • 1940: During the World War II Battle of Britain, the tide turns as the Royal Air Force inflicts heavy losses upon the Luftwaffe.
  • 1959: Nikita Khrushchev becomes the first Soviet head of state to visit the United States as he arrives at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington.
  • 1972: A federal grand jury in Washington indicts seven men in connection with the Watergate break-in.
  • 1981: The Senate Judiciary Committee votes unanimously to approve the Supreme Court nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor.
  • 1985: Nike begins selling its "Air Jordan 1" sneaker.
  • 2001: President George W. Bush orders U.S. troops to get ready for war and braced Americans for a long, difficult assault against terrorists to avenge the Sept. 11 attack. 
  • 2008: On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average falls 504.48, or 4.42%, to 10,917.51 while oil closes below $100 a barrel for the first time in six months amid upheaval in the financial industry as Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. files for bankruptcy protection and Merrill Lynch & Co. is sold to Bank of America.
  • 2009: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says the worst recession since the 1930s was "very likely over," although he cautions that pain — especially for nearly 15 million unemployed Americans — would persist.
  • 2019: Ric Ocasek, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame singer whose new wave band, The Cars, helped define the sound of rock music in the late 1970s and '80s, is found dead in his New York City apartment by his estranged wife, supermodel Paulina Porizkova.