APRIL 14, 1865

The headline of The National News reports on the shooting of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in Washington April 14, 1865, in this archive image from the Library of Congress. On April 15 the United States commemorates the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Events will include the re-enactment of his funeral in Springfield, Illinois, as well as talks and plays at Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C., where Confederate sympathiser John Wilkes Booth shot him in 1865. Lincoln, who kept the Union together in the American Civil War and helped secure the end of slavery, has enduring appeal both in the United States and worldwide: his life is celebrated at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., five-dollar bills carry his image and Stephen Spielberg directed the 2012 film bearing the 16th president’s name. REUTERS/Library of Congress ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. PICTURE 10 OF 30 FOR WIDER IMAGE STORY ‘MEMORIES OF LINCOLN’ SEARCH ‘150TH ASSASSINATION’ FOR ALL IMAGES

President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Successful actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth and others had previously plotted the kidnapping of the president, but when that failed, they hatched a plan to kill Lincoln and his possible successors. Conspirator Lewis T. Powell burst into the home of Secretary of State William H. Seward, seriously wounding him and several others. 

That same night, Booth made his way into the Ford Theatre, where Lincoln had watched him perform and where he had acted just weeks earlier. He slipped into Lincoln’s private box, where he and his wife were watching the performance of “Our American Cousin.” Booth shot Lincoln in the back of the head and jumped to the stage, declaring, “Sic semper tyrannis! (thus always to tyrants)” 

Although Booth broke his leg jumping onto the stage, he managed to escape on horseback and was later cornered in a barn near Bowling Green, Virginia. The posse set the barn on fire, shooting and killing Booth after he refused to surrender. Eight others were charged in the assassination conspiracy and, of the others, four of them executed.

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The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped free two people from death row, exposed injustices and corruption, prompting investigations and reforms as well as the firings of boards and officials. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a longtime member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.