April 15 is the anniversary of three events with far-reaching consequences in American history. On this day-
- Two men were murdered in South Braintree, MA in 1920, murders for which the Commonwealth of Massachusetts tried, convicted, and executed Italian immigrants Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti against a backdrop of anti-immigrant hostility,
- Jackie Robinson played his first major league baseball game in 1947, and
- Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald’s restaurant in 1955.
Think of April 15 the next time you masticate a Big Mac and argue whether the U.S. should erect a fence across the Mexican border while on the TV David Ortiz drives in another run.
Oh, and federal income taxes are due today. Since it is Sunday and post offices are closed all U.S. taxpayers get an extension until tomorrow. Since tomorrow is Patriots’ Day, a Massachusetts state holiday–you know, “one if by land,” Paul Revere’s ride, Concord and Lexington, the shot heard ’round the world–we get an extra day’s extension.
The post above reflects my Massachusetts-centrism. All taxpayers, not just Massachusetts taxpayers, have until April 17th to file tax returns this year. Tomorrow the District of Columbia celebrates Emancipation Day, commemorating the official end of slavery in the U.S. That celebration pushes back the filing deadline for the entire country by one day.
Speaking of pushing back deadlines, a research and writing assignment for one of my classes was originally due on Tuesday, a due date a student described “cruel and unusual punishment” because of the Patriots’ Day holiday on Monday. It’s not that Boston University students are especially patriotic. The paper deadline bumped up against day-long revels whose ostensible purpose is cheering on runners in the Boston Marathon, held every year on Patriots’ Day. Acknowledging that there was no pedagogical purpose behind the original due date I pushed it back to Thursday, to applause and cheers. It may be the moment they remember most about this class.