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10 awesome events that happened on 4/20 in the past

Admittedly, some of the biggest tragedies in human history have occurred on April 20th. Things like Columbine, Deepwater Horizon, and the birth of Adolf Hitler always cast a black cloud above our holiest day.

But don’t let that deter you from acknowledging all of the good things that have happened throughout history on 4/20. Life’s all about balance, so for every rainy day, there’s 79 degrees of sunshine right around the corner, and if it’s all the same with you, I’d like to focus on the positive.

Below you’ll find, in no particular order, a list of 10 significant things that have happened throughout history on April 20th that prove 4/20 is indeed a good day.

April 20, 1853: Harriet Tubman Starts the Underground Railroad

Right from jump I’m coming at you with a delicious dose of black history. On this day in 1853, Harriet “Nah, Fuck This Shit” Tubman started the Underground Railroad. She woke up one day, said enough is enough, and began her mission of helping 100,000+ slaves escape from the south to the “free” states and Canada.

Through a series of safe secret routes and safe houses…look, I really shouldn’t have to tell you who Harriet Tubman is. It’s an important part of history, she’s a hero, and you should celebrate her achievements. Nuff said.

April 20, 1912: Fenway Park Opens

BASEBALL FANS, STAND UP! WE OUT HERE—Lol jk, I’m not one of you. Sorry. In fact, it’s still a couple months away, yet I’m already dreading that period of sports hell where there’s absolutely nothing on Sportscenter but baseball highlights and around-the-clock Tom Brady updates.

Regardless, for those who DO love baseball, this is pretty huge, right? When it comes to historically significant fields, Fenway is pretty up there, if not number one. It’s the oldest park in the MLB and to put that into perspective for you, Harry Caray was born two years after it opened. Yeah, it’s that damn old.

April 20, 1951: Luther Vandross Was Born


If you don’t know about Luther then don’t even talk to me. Or my future son. Ever again. The man is an icon. His music is not to be disrespected, and if you need to get familiar, I suggest you hit the icon’s Greatest Hits on Apple Music immediately. Sports, too. “One Shining Moment” at the end of the NCAA tournament? Yeah, that’s all Luther.

Bottom line: Luther V’s birth proves that 4/20 is indeed good and if you disagree, my grandma is more than willing to fistfight over it.

Other notable celeb birthdays include: Carmen Electra (1972), Miranda Kerr (1983), Joey Lawrence (1976-WHOA!), Terrence J (1982), Shemar Moore (1970), and George Takei (1937).

April 20, 2008: Danica Patrick Won the Japan Indy 300

I’ve never watched a single NASCAR race, but I do know this made Danica Patrick the first woman to ever win an Indy race and that’s a big deal for two reasons: One, it’s a breakthrough achievement for women in general; two, we never would’ve gotten those weird Go Daddy commercials without it.

Everyone wins here, ya know? And isn’t that what sports is about? Everyone being happy?

April 20, 1910: Halley’s Comet Reaches Perihelion


Why is this relevant? Well, you smoke cannabis and this is space shit, which every cannabis enthusiast loves, so nothing else should really matter. Halley’s Comet only comes around every 76 years, and the fact that it reached perihelion (its closest point to the sun, aka the Yo, Look, Is That Halley’s Comet? point) is pretty dope.

But what really makes this dope is the Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) connection to it. According to Wired, Mark Twain was born in 1835 as the comet passed over. In 1909, knowing it was due again in 1910, he predicted that he would die when it returned. It reached perihelion on April 20. He died on April 21. Mind. Blown.

April 20, 1967: US Surveyor 3 Lands on the Moon

Close up of full moon in cloud

According to Wikipedia, Surveyor 3 was the third lander of the American un-crewed Surveyor program sent to explore the surface of the Moon. It launched on April 17 and landed on April 20.

Apparently it’s famous because in 1969 the crew from Apollo 12 used it as a target landing site. They landed, took pictures by it, and removed some pieces to bring it back to Earth.

I guess that’s cool, right? Not as cool as Halley Comet/Mark Twain, but if it’s an intergalactic win for the US, it’s an intergalactic win for 4/20.

April 20, 1611: MacBeth’s Earliest Recorded Performance at The Globe

The Globe Theatre

When you think of William Shakespeare, or Willy Shakes, as I like to call him, many works come to mind: Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But one of his most famous works is also the tragedy of MacBeth. It’s the story of a British general who receives a prophecy that he’s supposed to be king, so he kills the actual king to become king, until everything about the king life eventually kills him and his lady.

On this day in 1611, the earliest recorded performance of MacBeth hit the Globe Theater. That might not seem significant to you in this day and age, but consider the way people lived back then. There was no Wi-Fi; no Tinder. All they had was blacksmithing and accusing intelligent women of being witches. MacBeth finally gave the townsfolk something to do with their dirty asses. The townsmen definitely pulled out their best chainmail fits for this one. It was basically the first Hamilton.

April 20, 1977: Annie Hall Is Released


(United Artists)

I have a confession to make and you might not like it.

*Takes a deep breath*

Okay, here it is: I have never seen Annie Hall. I’M SORRY, I’M SORRY. I KNOW. “It’s one of the best movies ever!” “How can you call yourself a movie buff if you haven’t seen Annie Hall?!”

Trust me, I’ve heard it all, but me not seeing it doesn’t take anything from its place in film history. Annie Hall dropped and completely shut the movie scene down in an unimaginable way. It won four Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director (Woody Allen), Best Actress (Diane Keaton), and Best Original Screenplay. (And has even been called the funniest screenplay ever by Roger Ebert. That’s a big-ass deal.) 

April 20, 1986: Michael Jordan Sets the NBA Playoffs Single Game Scoring Record

On this day in 1986, MJ made NBA Playoffs history by giving the Boston Celtics 63 of them thangs in Game 2 of their first-round series. Sure, they still lost the game and eventually got swept up out of there, but when you consider that this was only his second year in the NBA, it makes you go…wow…MJ was really unfuckwittable from the very beginning.

I mean, seriously, who drops 63 points in a playoff game against Larry Bird and Co. at age 23? (Fun fact: MJ is also #2 on the NBA Playoffs single game scoring list with 56 points. And #4 with 55. And #8 with 54. It must be the last name.)

April 20, 1992: The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert

I don’t even need to say anything. Just watch this:

You can buy the full thing on YouTube for $3. You spend more than that on Swisher Sweets in a day.

Danté Jordan's Bio Image
Danté Jordan

Danté Jordan is a former member of the Leafly Subject Matter Expert team, and current freelance writer, video producer, and media consultant specializing in cannabis culture, strains, products, education, and everything else related to that lil’ green flower. Contact him at smokingwithdante on Instagram, or dantenetworks(at)gmail(dotcom). His website is www.dantejordan.com.

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