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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 10:59am On May 09
TODAY IN HISTORY

FDA approves "the pill"

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the world’s first commercially produced birth-control bill–Enovid-10, made by the G.D. Searle Company of Chicago, Illinois.

Development of “the pill,” as it became popularly known, was initially commissioned by birth-control pioneer Margaret Sanger and funded by heiress Katherine McCormick. Sanger, who opened the first birth-control clinic in the United States in 1916, hoped to encourage the development of a more practical and effective alternative to contraceptives that were in use at the time.

In the early 1950s, Gregory Pincus, a biochemist at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, and John Rock, a gynecologist at Harvard Medical School, began work on a birth-control pill. Clinical tests of the pill, which used synthetic progesterone and estrogen to repress ovulation in women, were initiated in 1954. On May 9, 1960, the FDA approved the pill, granting greater reproductive freedom to American women.





VIETNAM WAR

1970

President Nixon meets with anti-war protesters at the Lincoln Memorial

In the early hours of May 9, 1970, a frazzled President Richard Nixon embarks upon what his Chief of Staff will describe as "the weirdest day so far" of his presidency. Preoccupied with the recent Kent State shootings and the unrest that has spread to college campuses across the country, Nixon makes an impromptu and bizarre visit to a group of anti-war protesters at the Lincoln Memorial.





CRIME

1671

Irish adventurer “Captain Blood” steals crown jewels

In London, Thomas Blood, an Irish adventurer better known as “Captain Blood,” is captured attempting to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. Blood, a Parliamentarian during the English Civil War, was deprived of his estate in Ireland with the restoration of the English monarchy in 1660.





EXPLORATION

1926

Explorer Richard Byrd claims to have flown over the North Pole

According to their claims, polar explorer Richard E. Byrd and co-pilot Floyd Bennett fly over the North Pole on this day in the Josephine Ford, a triple-engine Fokker monoplane. It would have been the first time an aircraft flew over the top of the world.





CRIME

1978

Former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro is found dead

On May 9, 1978, the body of former Italian prime minister Aldo Moro is found, riddled by bullets, in the back of a car in the center of historic Rome. He was kidnapped by Red Brigade terrorists on March 16 after a bloody shoot-out near his suburban home.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1950

L. Ron Hubbard publishes "Dianetics"

On May 9, 1950, Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (1911-1986) publishes Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. With this book, Hubbard introduced a branch of self-help psychology called Dianetics, which quickly caught fire and, over time, morphed into a belief system called Scientology.





WORLD WAR II

1945

High-ranking Nazi Hermann Göring is captured by the U.S. Seventh Army

On May 9, 1945, Herman Goering, commander in chief of the Luftwaffe, president of the Reichstag, head of the Gestapo, prime minister of Prussia and Hitler’s designated successor is taken prisoner by the U.S. Seventh Army in Bavaria.





VIETNAM WAR

1969

Reporter breaks the news of secret bombing in Cambodia

William Beecher, military correspondent for the New York Times, publishes a front page dispatch from Washington, “Raids in Cambodia by U.S. Unprotested,” which accurately described the first of the secret B-52 bombing raids in Cambodia.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1974

House votes to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Nixon

The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee opens impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon, voting to impeach him on three counts on July 30. The impeachment was the result of the scandal involving the bungled burglary of the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, D.C., on June 23, 1972.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1914

Woodrow Wilson proclaims the first Mother’s Day holiday

On May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson issues a presidential proclamation that officially establishes the first national Mother’s Day holiday to celebrate America’s mothers. The idea for a “Mother’s Day” is credited by some to Julia Ward Howe (1872) and by others to Anna Jarvis (1907), who both suggested a holiday dedicated to a day of peace.





WESTWARD EXPANSION

1887

“Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” show opens

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show opens in London, giving Queen Victoria and her subjects their first look at a romanticized version of the American West. A well-known scout for the army and a buffalo hunter for the railroads (which earned him his nickname), Cody had gained national prominence 15 years earlier thanks to a fanciful novel written by Edward Zane Carroll Judson.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1964

An unlikely challenger ends the Beatles’ reign atop the U.S. pop charts

Following the ascension of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” to #1 in early February, the Beatles held the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for three and a half solid months—longer than any popular artist before or since.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1971

Last episode of “The Honeymooners” airs

On May 9, 1971, the last original episode of the sitcom The Honeymooners, starring Jackie Gleason as Brooklyn bus driver Ralph Kramden, airs. Although a perennial rerun favorite in syndication, The Honeymooners actually aired only 39 episodes in its familiar sitcom format,running for just one season in 1955-56.







CRIME

1997

Andrew Cunanan continues murder spree

The body of William Reese, 45, a cemetery caretaker, is found in rural Pennsville, New Jersey, on May 9, 1997. He had been shot in the head with a Golden Saber .38-caliber bullet. Police soon determined that the killer was Andrew Cunanan, a 27-year-old man already wanted for three murders. It appeared that Cunanan had killed Reese in the process of stealing his Chevrolet pick-up.





COLD WAR

1955

West Germany joins NATO

Ten years after the Nazis were defeated in World War II, West Germany formally joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a mutual defense group aimed at containing Soviet expansion in Europe. This action marked the final step of West Germany’s integration into the Western European defense system.





WORLD WAR I

1915

Allies launch dual offensive on Western Front

On May 9, 1915, Anglo-French forces fighting in World War I launch their first combined attempt to break through the heavily fortified German trench lines on the Western Front in France.
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 10:42am On May 12
TODAY IN HISTORY

Kidnapped Lindbergh baby found dead

The body of aviation hero Charles Lindbergh’s baby is found on May 12, 1932, more than two months after he was kidnapped from his family’s Hopewell, New Jersey, mansion.

Lindbergh, who became the first worldwide celebrity five years earlier when he flew The Spirit of St. Louis across the Atlantic, and his wife Anne discovered a ransom note in their 20-month-old child’s empty room on March 1. The kidnapper had used a ladder to climb up to the open second-floor window and had left muddy footprints in the room. In barely legible English, the ransom note demanded $50,000..

The crime captured the attention of the entire nation. The Lindbergh family was inundated by offers of assistance and false clues. Even Al Capone offered his help from prison, though it of course was conditioned on his release. For three days, investigators had found nothing and there was no further word from the kidnappers. Then, a new letter showed up, this time demanding $70,000.

It wasn’t until April 2 that the kidnappers gave instructions for dropping off the money. When the money was finally delivered, the kidnappers indicated that little baby Charles was on a boat called Nelly off the coast of Massachusetts. However, after an exhaustive search of every port, there was no sign of either the boat or the child.

On May 12, a renewed search of the area near the Lindbergh mansion turned up the baby’s body. He had been killed the night of the kidnapping and was found less than a mile from the home. The heartbroken Lindberghs ended up donating the home to charity and moved away.

The kidnapping looked like it would go unsolved until September 1934, when a marked bill from the ransom turned up. Suspicious of the driver who had given it to him, the gas station attendant who had accepted the bill wrote down his license plate number. It was tracked back to a German immigrant, Bruno Hauptmann. When his home was searched, detectives found $13,000 of Lindbergh ransom money.

Hauptmann claimed that a friend had given him the money to hold and that he had no connection to the crime. The resulting trial again was a national sensation. Famous writers Damon Runyan and Walter Winchell covered the trial. The prosecution’s case was not particularly strong. The main evidence, apart from the money, was testimony from handwriting experts that the ransom note had been written by Hauptmann and his connection with the type of wood that was used to make the ladder.

Still, the evidence and intense public pressure was enough to convict Hauptmann. In April 1936 he was executed in the electric chair.

Kidnapping was made a federal crime in the aftermath of this high-profile crime.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1903

Teddy Roosevelt’s trip to San Francisco is captured on film

On May 12, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt’s trip to San Francisco is captured on moving-picture film, making him one of the first presidents to have an official activity recorded in that medium.





COLD WAR

1949

Soviet Union lifts its 11-month blockade against West Berlin

On May 12, 1949, an early crisis of the Cold War comes to an end when the Soviet Union lifts its 11-month blockade against West Berlin. The blockade had been broken by a massive U.S.-British airlift of vital supplies to West Berlin’s two million citizens.





SPORTS

1957

Race car driver A.J. Foyt gets first pro victory

On May 12, 1957, race car driver A.J. Foyt (1935- ) scores his first professional victory, in a U.S. Automobile Club (USAC) midget car race in Kansas City, Missouri. A tough-as-nails Texan, Anthony Joseph Foyt, Jr. raced midget cars—smaller vehicles designed to be driven in races of shorter distances—and stock cars before moving up to bigger things in 1958, when he entered his first Indianapolis 500 race.





VIETNAM WAR

1961

Lyndon B. Johnson visits South Vietnam

Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem in Saigon during his tour of Asian countries. Calling Diem the “Churchill of Asia,” he encouraged the South Vietnamese president to view himself as indispensable to the United States and promised additional military aid to assist his government in fighting the communists.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1963

Bob Dylan walks out on “The Ed Sullivan Show”

By the end of the summer of 1963, Bob Dylan would be known to millions who watched or witnessed his performances at the March on Washington, and millions more who did not know Dylan himself would know and love his music thanks to Peter, Paul and Mary’s smash-hit cover version of “Blowin’ In The Wind.”





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1907

Celebrated actress Katharine Hepburn is born

On May 12, 1907, Katharine Hepburn, who due to her performances in such films as The Philadelphia Story and On Golden Pond, will become one of the most celebrated actresses of the 20th century, is born in Hartford, Connecticut.





1970S

1975

American freighter ship Mayaguez seized by Cambodian navy

The American freighter Mayaguez is captured by communist government forces in Cambodia, setting off an international incident. The U.S. response to the affair indicated that the wounds of the Vietnam War still ran deep.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1780

Americans suffer worst defeat of revolution at Charleston

After a siege that began on April 2, 1780, Americans suffer their worst defeat of the revolution on May 12, 1780, with the unconditional surrender of Major General Benjamin Lincoln to British Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton and his army of 10,000 at Charleston, South Carolina.
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 11:31am On May 14
TODAY IN HISTORY


Lewis and Clark depart to explore the Northwest

One year after the United States doubled its territory with the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark expedition leaves St. Louis, Missouri, on a mission to explore the Northwest from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean.

Even before the U.S. government concluded purchase negotiations with France, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned his private secretary Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, an army captain, to lead an expedition into what is now the U.S. Northwest. On May 14, the “Corps of Discovery”—featuring approximately 45 men (although only an approximate 33 men would make the full journey)—left St. Louis for the American interior.

The expedition traveled up the Missouri River in a 55-foot long keelboat and two smaller boats. In November, Toussaint Charbonneau, a French-Canadian fur trader accompanied by his young Native American wife Sacagawea, joined the expedition as an interpreter. The group wintered in present-day North Dakota before crossing into present-day Montana, where they first saw the Rocky Mountains. On the other side of the Continental Divide, they were met by Sacagawea’s tribe, the Shoshone Indians, who sold them horses for their journey down through the Bitterroot Mountains. After passing through the dangerous rapids of the Clearwater and Snake rivers in canoes, the explorers reached the calm of the Columbia River, which led them to the sea. On November 8, 1805, the expedition arrived at the Pacific Ocean. After pausing there for the winter, the explorers began their long journey back to St. Louis.

On September 23, 1806, after almost two and a half years, the expedition returned to the city, bringing back a wealth of information about the region (much of it already inhabited by Native Americans), as well as valuable U.S. claims to Oregon Territory.





MIDDLE EAST

1948

State of Israel proclaimed

On May 14, 1948, in Tel Aviv, Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion proclaims the State of Israel, establishing the first Jewish state in 2,000 years. Ben-Gurion became Israel’s first premier. In the distance, the rumble of guns could be heard from fighting that broke out between Jews and Arabs immediately following the British army withdrawal earlier that day.





SPACE EXPLORATION

1973

America’s first space station, Skylab, is launched

Skylab, America’s first space station, is successfully launched into an orbit around the earth. Eleven days later, U.S. astronauts Charles Conrad, Joseph Kerwin, and Paul Weitz made a rendezvous with Skylab, repairing a jammed solar panel and conducting scientific experiments during their 28-day stay aboard the space station.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1796

Early smallpox vaccine is tested

Edward Jenner, an English country doctor from Gloucestershire, administers the world’s first vaccination as a preventive treatment for smallpox, a disease that had killed millions of people over the centuries.





SPORTS

1904

First American Olympiad opens in St. Louis, Missouri

The Third Olympiad of the modern era, and the first Olympic Games to be held in the United States, opens in St. Louis, Missouri. The 1904 Games were actually initially awarded to Chicago, Illinois, but were later given to St. Louis to be staged in connection with the St. Louis World Exposition. Like the Second Olympiad, held in Paris in 1900, the St. Louis Games were poorly organized and overshadowed by the world’s fair.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1999

President Clinton apologizes to Chinese leader for embassy bombing

On May 14, 1999, President Bill Clinton apologizes directly to Chinese President Jiang Zemin on the phone for the accidental NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, that had taken place six days earlier.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1998

Frank Sinatra dies

On May 14, 1998, the legendary singer, actor and show-business icon Frank Sinatra dies of a heart attack in Los Angeles, at the age of 82. Sinatra emerged from an Italian-American family in Hoboken, New Jersey, to become the first modern superstar of popular music, with an entertainment career that spanned more than five decades.





1990S

1991

Two trains crash in Japan, killing more than 40

On May 14, 1991, two diesel trains carrying commuters crash head-on, killing 42 people and injuring over 400 more near Shigaraki, Japan. This was the worst rail disaster in Japan since a November 1963 Yokohama crash killed 160 people.





CRIME

1948

A three-year-old's brutal murder begins an unusual investigation

Three-year-old June Devaney, recovering from pneumonia at Queen’s Park Hospital in Blackburn, England, is kidnapped from her bed. Nurses discovered her missing at 1:20 a.m. the next day, and police were immediately summoned to investigate.





COLD WAR

1955

The Warsaw Pact is formed

The Soviet Union and seven of its European satellites sign a treaty establishing the Warsaw Pact, a mutual defense organization that put the Soviets in command of the armed forces of the member states. The Warsaw Pact, so named because the treaty was signed in Warsaw.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1787

Constitutional Convention delegates begin to assemble

On May 14, 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention begin to assemble in Philadelphia to confront a daunting task: the peaceful overthrow of the new American government as defined by the Article of Confederation. Although the convention was originally supposed to begin on May 14, James Madison reported that a small number only had assembled.

alabataiwo..com
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 10:51am On May 15
TODAY IN HISTORY

Madeleine Albright, America's first female secretary of state, is born

Madeleine Albright, America’s first female secretary of state, is born Marie Jana Korbelova on May 15, 1937, in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic).

The daughter of Czech diplomat Josef Korbel, Albright fled to England with her family after the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939. Though Albright long believed they had fled for political reasons, she learned as an adult that her family was Jewish and that three of her grandparents had died in Nazi concentration camps. The family returned home after World War II ended but immigrated to the United States in 1948 after a Soviet-sponsored Communist coup seized power in Prague. Josef Korbel became dean of the school of international relations at the University of Denver (where he would later train another female secretary of state, Condoleeza Rice).

After graduating from Wellesley College in 1959, Albright married Joseph Medill Patterson Albright of the prominent Medill newspaper-publishing family. With an MA and PhD from Columbia University under her belt, Albright headed to Washington, D.C., where she worked for Maine’s Senator Edmund S. Muskie and served on the National Security Council in the administration of President Jimmy Carter. She and Joseph Albright divorced in 1982. During the Republican presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Albright worked for several nonprofit organizations and taught at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

With a Democrat—Bill Clinton—in the White House again in 1992, Albright found herself at the center of Washington’s most powerful circle. In 1993, Clinton appointed her ambassador to the United Nations. In that post, Albright earned a reputation as a straight-talking defender of American interests and an advocate for an increased role for the U.S. in U.N. operations. In late 1996, Clinton nominated Albright to succeed Warren Christopher as U.S. secretary of state. After her nomination was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, she was sworn in on January 23, 1997.

As secretary of state, Albright pursued an active foreign policy, including the use of military force to pressure autocratic regimes in Yugoslavia and Iraq, among other troubled regions. Her trip to North Korea in October 2000 to meet with leader Kim Jong Il made her the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit that country. She drew some criticism for her tough position on U.S. sanctions against Iraq, which led to many civilian deaths in that country.

Albright’s term ended with the election of President George W. Bush in 2000. Though there was talk of her entering Czech politics, she returned to her teaching post at Georgetown, accepted several board positions and became chair of a nonprofit organization, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.





21ST CENTURY

2009

GE finally initiates cleanup of polluted Hudson River

After decades of environmental damage and legal wrangling, General Electric finally begins its government-mandated efforts to clean the Hudson River on May 15, 2009. One of America's largest and most prestigious corporations, GE had dumped harmful chemicals into the river for years and spent a fortune trying to avoid the cleanup.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1982

“Ebony And Ivory” begins a seven-week run at #1 on the pop charts

Without the black keys, the white keys on a piano would pretty much be stuck playing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “Do Re Mi.” If you want anything more interesting than that—if you want a song like “Yesterday,” for instance—you’re going to have to get the two sets of keys working together.





WORLD WAR II

1941

First Allied jet-propelled aircraft flies

On May 15, 1941, the jet-propelled Gloster-Whittle E 28/39 aircraft flies successfully over Cranwell, England, in the first test of an Allied aircraft using jet propulsion. The aircraft’s turbojet engine, which produced a powerful thrust of hot air, was devised by Frank Whittle.





NATIVE AMERICAN HISTORY

1756

The Seven Years' War begins

The Seven Years' War, a global conflict known in America as the French and Indian War, officially begins when England declares war on France. However, fighting and skirmishes between England and France had been going on in North America for years.





CRIME

1972

Alabama governor George Wallace shot

During an outdoor rally in Laurel, Maryland, George Wallace, the governor of Alabama and a presidential candidate, is shot by 21-year-old Arthur Bremer. Three others were wounded, and Wallace was permanently paralyzed from the waist down.





WORLD WAR II

1942

Legislation creating the Women’s Army Corps becomes law

On May 15, 1942, a bill establishing a women’s corps in the U.S. Army becomes law, creating the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAACs) and granting women official military status. In May 1941, Representative Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts, the first congresswoman ever from New England, introduced legislation that would enable women to serve in the Army in noncombat positions.







U.S. PRESIDENTS

1942

Ronald Reagan applies for transfer to Army Air Force

On May 15, 1942, Lieutenant Ronald Reagan, a cavalry officer, applies for reassignment to the Army Air Force, where he would eventually put his thespian background to use on World War II propaganda films.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1800

President John Adams orders federal government to Washington, D.C.

On May 15, 1800, President John Adams orders the federal government to pack up and leave Philadelphia and set up shop in the nation’s new capital in Washington, D.C. After Congress adjourned its last meeting in Philadelphia on May 15, Adams told his cabinet to make sure Congress nd all federal offices were up and running smoothly in their new headquarters by June 15, 1800. Philadelphia officially ceased to serve as the nation’s capital as of June 11, 1800.





CRIME

1976

A young woman and her married lover kill her family

Patricia Columbo and Frank DeLuca are arrested for the brutal slaying of Columbo’s parents and brother in Elk Grove, Illinois. Twenty-year-old Columbo had left her family home two years earlier to live with DeLuca, a 36-year-old married man.





COLD WAR

1988

Soviets begin withdrawal from Afghanistan

More than eight years after they intervened in Afghanistan to support the procommunist government, Soviet troops begin their withdrawal. The event marked the beginning of the end to a long, bloody, and fruitless Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1942

Seventeen states put gasoline rationing into effect

On May 15, 1942, gasoline rationing began in 17 Eastern states as an attempt to help the American war effort during World War II. By the end of the year, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had ensured that mandatory gasoline rationing was in effect in all 48 states.
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 7:15pm On May 16
TODAY IN HISTORY

First Academy Awards ceremony

On May 16 1929, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hands out its first awards, at a dinner party for around 250 people held in the Blossom Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California.

The brainchild of Louis B. Mayer, head of the powerful MGM film studio, the Academy was organized in May 1927 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the film industry. Its first president and the host of the May 1929 ceremony was the actor Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. Unlike today, the winners of the first Oscars—as the coveted gold-plated statuettes later became known—were announced before the awards ceremony itself.

At the time of the first Oscar ceremony, sound had just been introduced into film. The Warner Bros. movie The Jazz Singer–one of the first “talkies”–was not allowed to compete for Best Picture because the Academy decided it was unfair to let movies with sound compete with silent films. The first official Best Picture winner was Wings, directed by William Wellman. The most expensive movie of its time, with a budget of $2 million, the movie told the story of two World War I pilots who fall for the same woman. Another film, F.W. Murnau’s epic Sunrise, was considered a dual winner for the best film of the year. German actor Emil Jannings won the Best Actor honor for his roles in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh, while 22-year-old Janet Gaynor was the only female winner. After receiving three out of the five Best Actress nods, she won for all three roles, in Seventh Heaven, Street Angel and Sunrise.

A special honorary award was presented to Charlie Chaplin. Originally a nominee for Best Actor, Best Writer and Best Comedy Director for The Circus, Chaplin was removed from these categories so he could receive the special award, a change that some attributed to his unpopularity in Hollywood. It was the last Oscar the Hollywood maverick would receive until another honorary award in 1971.

The Academy officially began using the nickname Oscar for its awards in 1939; a popular but unconfirmed story about the source of the name holds that Academy executive director Margaret Herrick remarked that the statuette looked like her Uncle Oscar. Since 1942, the results of the secret ballot voting have been announced during the live-broadcast Academy Awards ceremony using the sealed-envelope system. The suspense—not to mention the red-carpet arrival of nominees and other stars wearing their most beautiful or outrageous evening wear—continues to draw international attention to the film industry’s biggest night of the year.





1980S

1985

Discovery of Ozone Hole announced

In the scientific journal Nature on May 16, 1985, three scientists from the British Antarctic Survey announce their detection of abnormally low levels of ozone over the South Pole. Their discovery, commonly known as the Ozone Hole, became a palpable example of mankind's ability to damage the Earth's atmosphere as well as one of the most famous success stories in the history of climate activism.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

2014

Pioneering TV journalist Barbara Walters signs off

On May 16, 2014, broadcast journalist and TV personality Barbara Walters retires from ABC News and as co-host of the daytime program “The View.” In a landmark career that spanned some 50 years on air, the 84-year-old Walters blazed a trail for women in TV news.





FRANCE

1770

French dauphin, Louis, marries Marie Antoinette

At Versailles, Louis, the French dauphin, marries Marie Antoinette, the daughter of Austrian Archduchess Maria Theresa and Holy Roman Emperor Francis I. France hoped their marriage would strengthen its alliance with Austria, its longtime enemy.





FRANCE

1968

Worker protests mount in France

In France, the May 1968 crisis escalates as a general strike spreads to factories and industries across the country, shutting down newspaper distribution, air transport and two major railroads. By the end of the month, millions of workers were on strike, and France seemed to be on the brink of radical leftist revolution.





WORLD WAR II

1943

Warsaw Ghetto uprising ends

In Poland, the Warsaw Ghetto uprising comes to an end as Nazi soldiers gain control of Warsaw’s Jewish ghetto, blowing up the last remaining synagogue and beginning the mass deportation of the ghetto’s remaining dwellers to the Treblinka extermination camp.





SPORTS

1980

Basketball great, Magic Johnson, plays center as a rookie, wins championships

On May 16, 1980, Los Angeles Lakers point guard Earvin “Magic” Johnson steps in for injured center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and scores 42 points, leading the Lakers to a four games-to-two series win over the Philadelphia 76ers for their first championship since 1972.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1868

Senate acquits President Andrew Johnson of high crimes and misdemeanors

On May 16, 1868, the U.S. Senate votes against impeaching President Andrew Johnson and acquits him of committing “high crimes and misdemeanors.” He would not be fully acquitted of all charges until 10 days later, on May 26, 1868.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1717

Satirical writer, Voltaire, is imprisoned in the Bastille

Writer Francois-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire, is imprisoned in the Bastille on May 16, 1717. The outspoken writer was born to middle-class parents, attended college in Paris, and began to study law.





CRIME

1975

A nurse stabs expectant mother to death, steals unborn baby

Norma Jean Armistead checks herself into Kaiser Hospital in Los Angeles, California, with a newborn that she claims to have given birth to at home. Some staff members were already aware that Armistead, a nurse at the hospital, had a pregnancy listed on her medical charts the previous year, but dismissed it as a mistake because they didn’t believe the 44-year-old woman was still capable of getting pregnant.





COLD WAR

1960

U.S.-Soviet summit meeting collapses after U-2 spy plane shot down

In the wake of the Soviet downing of an American U-2 spy plane on May 1, 1960, Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev lashes out at the United States and President Dwight D. Eisenhower at a Paris summit meeting between the two heads of state.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1777

Georgia Patriot Button Gwinnett is fatally wounded in duel

On May 16, 1777, British-born Georgia Patriot and signer of the Declaration of Independence Button Gwinnett receives a bullet wound in a duel with his political rival, Georgia city Whig Lachlan McIntosh.





WORLD WAR I

1918

U.S. Congress passes Sedition Act

On May 16, 1918, the United States Congress passes the Sedition Act, a piece of legislation designed to protect America’s participation in World War I. Along with the Espionage Act of the previous year, the Sedition Act was orchestrated largely by A. Mitchell Palmer, the United States attorney general under President Woodrow Wilson. The Espionage Act, passed shortly after the U.S. entrance into the war in early April 1917, made it a crime for any person to convey information intended to interfere with the U.S. armed forces’ prosecution of the war effort or to promote the success of the country’s enemies.
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:56am On May 20
TODAY IN HISTORY

Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis receive patent for blue jeans

On May 20, 1873, San Francisco businessman Levi Strauss and Reno, Nevada, tailor Jacob Davis are given a patent to create work pants reinforced with metal rivets, marking the birth of one of the world’s most famous garments: blue jeans.

In San Francisco, Strauss established a wholesale dry goods business under his own name and worked as the West Coast representative of his family’s firm. His new business imported clothing, fabric and other dry goods to sell in the small stores opening all over California and other Western states to supply the rapidly expanding communities of gold miners and other settlers. By 1866, Strauss had moved his company to expanded headquarters and was a well-known businessman and supporter of the Jewish community in San Francisco.

Jacob Davis, a tailor in Reno, Nevada, was one of Levi Strauss’ regular customers. In 1872, he wrote a letter to Strauss about his method of making work pants with metal rivets on the stress points—at the corners of the pockets and the base of the button fly—to make them stronger. As Davis didn’t have the money for the necessary paperwork, he suggested that Strauss provide the funds and that the two men get the patent together. Strauss agreed enthusiastically, and the patent for “Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings”–the innovation that would produce blue jeans as we know them–was granted to both men on May 20, 1873.

Strauss brought Davis to San Francisco to oversee the first manufacturing facility for “waist overalls,” as the original jeans were known. At first they employed seamstresses working out of their homes, but by the 1880s, Strauss had opened his own factory. The famous 501 brand jean—known until 1890 as “XX”—was soon a bestseller, and the company grew quickly. By the 1920s, Levi’s denim waist overalls were the top-selling men’s work pant in the United States. As decades passed, the craze only grew, and now blue jeans are worn and beloved by men and women, young and old, around the world.





SPORTS

1989

Sunday Silence wins Preakness Stakes by a nose

On May 20, 1989, Sunday Silence edges by Easy Goer to win the closest race in the 114-year history of the Preakness Stakes by a nose. Sunday Silence had already beaten Easy Goer in the Kentucky Derby by two-and-a-half lengths.





GAY RIGHTS

1996

Supreme Court defends rights of gays and lesbians in Romer v. Evans

In a victory for the gay and lesbian civil rights movement, the U.S. Supreme Court votes six to three to strike down an amendment to Colorado’s state constitution that would have prevented any city, town, or county in the state from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to protect the rights of gays and lesbians.





ROARING TWENTIES

1927

Charles Lindbergh takes off across the Atlantic in the Spirit of St. Louis

At 7:52 a.m., American aviator Charles A. Lindbergh takes off from Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York, on the world’s first solo, nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean and the first ever nonstop flight between New York to Paris.





EXPLORATION

1498

Vasco da Gama reaches India

Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama becomes the first European to reach India via the Atlantic Ocean when he arrives at Calicut on the Malabar Coast. Da Gama sailed from Lisbon, Portugal, in July 1497, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and anchored at Malindi on the east coast of Africa.





EXPLORATION

1506

Christopher Columbus dies

On May 20, 1506, the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus dies in Valladolid, Spain. Columbus was the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings set up colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland in the 10th century.





VIETNAM WAR

1969

Battle for "Hamburger Hill" ends after 10 grueling days

After 10 days and 10 bloody assaults, Hill 937 in South Vietnam is finally captured by U.S. and South Vietnamese troops. The Americans who fought there cynically dubbed Hill 937 “Hamburger Hill” because the battle and its high casualty rate reminded them of a meat grinder.





WORLD WAR II

1940

Germans break through to English Channel at Abbeville, France

On May 20, 1940, the German army in northern France reaches the English Channel. In reaching Abbeville, German armored columns, led by General Heinz Guderian (a tank expert), severed all communication between the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in the north and the main French army in the south. He also cut off the Force from its supplies in the west.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1862

President Lincoln signs the Homestead Act

On May 20, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act, which opens government-owned land to small family farmers (“homesteaders”). The act gave “any person” who was the head of a family 160 acres to try his hand at farming for five years.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1998

Frank Sinatra is laid to rest

Long before his stature in the world of show business earned him the nickname “Chairman of the Board,” Frank Sinatra was known simply as “The Voice.” During a career that saw him go from skinny teen idol to middle-aged playboy, Sinatra’s personality and looks were certainly major factors in his success, but they could never fully overshadow his voice—an instrument that could convey very deep emotions in a sincere, understated way.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1946

English poet W.H. Auden becomes a U.S. citizen

English poet W.H. Auden becomes an American citizen on May 20, 1946. Auden, who was born in 1907 in England, had his first poem published in a collection called Public School Verse when he was 17. He entered Oxford the following year and befriended several men who became important intellectuals, including Cecil Day-Lewis and Christopher Isherwood.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

2007

"The Simpsons" airs 400th episode

On May 20, 2007, Fox’s long-running animated series The Simpsons airs its 400th episode. The Simpsons was created by Matt Groenig, whose comic strip Life Is Hell caught the attention of the Hollywood producer James L. Brooks.





CRIME

2005

Convicted sex offender Mary Kay Letourneau marries former victim

On May 20, 2005, ex-teacher and convicted sex offender Mary Kay Letourneau, 43, marries her former student and the father of two of her children, Vili Fualaau, 22. Just nine months earlier, Letourneau had been released from prison after serving a seven-and-a-half year sentence for raping an underage Fualaau.
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:02am On May 21
TODAY IN HISTORY

American Red Cross founded

In Washington, D.C., humanitarians Clara Barton and Adolphus Solomons found the American National Red Cross, an organization established to provide humanitarian aid to victims of wars and natural disasters in congruence with the International Red Cross.

Barton, born in Massachusetts in 1821, worked with the sick and wounded during the American Civil War and became known as the “Angel of the Battlefield” for her tireless dedication. In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln commissioned her to search for lost prisoners of war, and with the extensive records she had compiled during the war she succeeded in identifying thousands of the Union dead at the Andersonville prisoner-of-war camp.

She was in Europe in 1870 when the Franco-Prussian War broke out, and she went behind the German lines to work for the International Red Cross. In 1873, she returned to the United States, and four years later she organized an American branch of the International Red Cross. The American Red Cross received its first U.S. federal charter in 1900. Barton headed the organization into her 80s and died in 1912.





ROARING TWENTIES

1927

Charles Lindbergh completes the first solo, nonstop transatlantic flight

American pilot Charles A. Lindbergh lands at Le Bourget Field in Paris, successfully completing the first solo, nonstop transatlantic flight and the first ever nonstop flight between New York to Paris.





WOMEN’S HISTORY

1932

Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to make solo, nonstop transatlantic flight

Five years to the day that American aviator Charles Lindbergh became the first pilot to accomplish a solo, nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, female aviator Amelia Earhart becomes the first pilot to repeat the feat, landing her plane in Ireland after flying across the Ocean.





EXPLORATION

1542

Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto dies in American wilderness

On the banks of the Mississippi River in present-day Louisiana, Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto dies, ending a three-year journey for gold that took him halfway across what is now the United States.





WORLD WAR II

1942

Thousands of Jews die in Nazi gas chambers; IG Farben sets up factory

On May 21, 1942, 4,300 Jews are deported from the Polish town of Chelm to the Nazi extermination camp at Sobibor, where all are gassed to death. On the same day, the German firm IG Farben sets up a factory just outside Auschwitz.





WORLD WAR II

1940

Nazis kill “unfit” people in East Prussia

On May 21, 1940, a “special unit” carries out its mission-and murders more than 1,500 hospital patients in East Prussia. Mentally ill patients from throughout East Prussia had been transferred to the district of Soldau, also in East Prussia.





WORLD WAR I

1911

French troops occupy Fez, sparking second Moroccan Crisis

Six years after the First Moroccan Crisis, during which Kaiser Wilhelm’s sensational appearance in Morocco provoked international outrage and led to a strengthening of the bonds between Britain and France against Germany.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

2000

Former president James Garfield’s spine put on display

On May 21, 2000, the bones of President James Garfield’s spine are on display for a final day at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, D.C. The exhibit featured medical oddities from the museum’s archives.





WESTWARD EXPANSION

1539

Black Spanish explorer Estevan is reported killed

Word reaches Fray Marcos that Native Americans have killed his guide Estevan, a Black enslaved man who was the first non-Indian to visit the pueblo lands of the American Southwest. Thought to have been born sometime around 1500 on the west coast of Morocco.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1999

Soap star Susan Lucci wins first Emmy after 19 nominations

“The streak is over…Susan Lucci!” announces Shemar Moore of The Young and the Restless on this night in 1999, right before presenting the Daytime Emmy Award for Best Actress to the tearful star of ABC’s All My Children.





NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

1960

Huge earthquake hits Chile

On May 21, 1960, the first tremor of a series hits Valdivia, Chile. By the time they end, the quakes and their aftereffects kill 5,000 people and leave another 2 million homeless. Registering a magnitude of 7.6, the first earthquake was powerful and killed several people.





CRIME

1992

Long Island Lolita is arrested

Amy Fisher, the so-called “Long Island Lolita,” is arrested for shooting Mary Jo Buttafuoco on the front porch of her Massapequa, New York, home. Fisher, only 17 at the time of the shooting, was having an affair with 38-year-old Joey Buttafuoco, Mary Jo’s husband.





CRIME

1924

Murderers Leopold and Loeb gain national attention

Fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks is abducted from a Chicago, Illinois, street and killed in what later proves to be one of the most unusual murders in American history. The killers, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, were wealthy and intelligent teenagers whose sole motive for killing Franks was the desire to commit the “perfect crime.”





COLD WAR

1956

United States drops hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll

The United States conducts the first airborne test of an improved hydrogen bomb, dropping it from a plane over the tiny island of Namu in the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean on May 21, 1956. The successful test indicated that hydrogen bombs were viable airborne weapons.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1901

Connecticut enacts first speed-limit law

On May 21, 1901, Connecticut becomes the first state to pass a law regulating motor vehicles, limiting their speed to 12 mph in cities and 15 mph on country roads. Speed limits had been set earlier in the United States for non-motorized vehicles.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1758

Lenape Indians abduct Mary Campbell from western Pennsylvania

On May 21, 1758, 10-year-old Mary Campbell is abducted from her home in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, by Lenape Indians; she becomes an icon of the French and Indian War. After her abduction, Campbell lived among the family of Chief Netawatwees in the Ohio Valley.
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 11:37am On May 25
TODAY IN HISTORY

Constitutional Convention begins

Four years after the United States won its independence from England, 55 state delegates, including George Washington, James Madison and Benjamin Franklin, convene in Philadelphia to compose a new U.S. constitution.

The Articles of Confederation, ratified several months before the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781, provided for a loose confederation of U.S. states, which were sovereign in most of their affairs. On paper, Congress—the central authority—had the power to govern foreign affairs, conduct war, and regulate currency, but in practice these powers were sharply limited because Congress was given no authority to enforce its requests to the states for money or troops. By 1786, it was apparent that the Union would soon break up if the Articles of Confederation were not amended or replaced. Five states met in Annapolis, Maryland, to discuss the issue, and all the states were invited to send delegates to a new constitutional convention to be held in Philadelphia.

On May 25, 1787, delegates representing every state except Rhode Island convened at Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania State House for the Constitutional Convention. The building, which is now known as Independence Hall, had earlier seen the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the signing of the Articles of Confederation. The assembly immediately discarded the idea of amending the Articles of Confederation and set about drawing up a new scheme of government. Revolutionary War hero George Washington, a delegate from Virginia, was elected convention president.

During three months of debate, the delegates devised a brilliant federal system characterized by an intricate system of checks and balances. The convention was divided over the issue of state representation in Congress, as more populated states sought proportional legislation, and smaller states wanted equal representation. The problem was resolved by the Connecticut Compromise, which proposed a bicameral legislature with proportional representation in the lower house (House of Representatives) and equal representation of the states in the upper house (Senate).

On September 17, 1787, the Constitution of the United States of America was signed by 38 of the 41 delegates present at the conclusion of the convention. As dictated by Article VII, the document would not become binding until it was ratified by nine of the 13 states.

Beginning on December 7, five states—Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut—ratified it in quick succession. However, other states, especially Massachusetts, opposed the document, as it failed to reserve un-delegated powers to the states and lacked constitutional protection of basic political rights, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press. In February 1788, a compromise was reached under which Massachusetts and other states would agree to ratify the document with the assurance that amendments would be immediately proposed. The Constitution was thus narrowly ratified in Massachusetts, followed by Maryland and South Carolina. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document, and it was subsequently agreed that government under the U.S. Constitution would begin on March 4, 1789.

On September 25, 1789, the first Congress of the United States adopted 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution–the Bill of Rights–and sent them to the states for ratification. Ten of these amendments were ratified in 1791. In November 1789, North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Rhode Island, which opposed federal control of currency and was critical of compromise on the issue of slavery, resisted ratifying the Constitution until the U.S. government threatened to sever commercial relations with the state. On May 29, 1790, Rhode Island voted by two votes to ratify the document, and the last of the original 13 colonies joined the United States. Today the U.S. Constitution is the oldest written national constitution in operation in the world.









21ST CENTURY

2020

George Floyd is killed by a police officer, igniting historic protests

On the evening of May 25, 2020, white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kills George Floyd, a Black man, by kneeling on his neck for almost 10 minutes. The death, recorded by bystanders, touched off what may have been the largest protest movement in U.S. history.





CRIME

1979

6-year-old Etan Patz—boy on milk carton—goes missing

On the morning of May 25, 1979, six-year-old Etan Patz walked the two blocks from his home to his bus stop in Manhattan. It was his first time walking there alone before school, and the last day his parents would ever see him.





GREAT BRITAIN

1660

The English Restoration begins

Under invitation by leaders of the English Commonwealth, Charles II, the exiled king of England, lands at Dover, England, to assume the throne and end 11 years of military rule. Prince of Wales at the time of the English Civil War, Charles fled to France after Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarians defeated King Charles I’s Royalists in 1646. In 1649, Charles vainly attempted to save his father’s life by presenting Parliament a signed blank sheet of paper, thereby granting whatever terms were required.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1994

Pennsylvania man buried with his beloved Corvette

On May 25, 1994, the ashes of 71-year-old George Swanson are buried (according to Swanson’s request) in the driver’s seat of his 1984 white Corvette in Irwin, Pennsylvania. Swanson, a beer distributor and former U.S. Army sergeant during World War II, died the previous March 31 at the age of 71.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1977

"Star Wars" opens in theaters

On May 25, 1977, Memorial Day weekend opens with an intergalactic bang as the first of George Lucas’ blockbuster Star Wars movies hits American theaters. The incredible success of Star Wars–it received seven Oscars, and earned $461 million in U.S. ticket sales and a gross of close to $800 million worldwide–began with an extensive, coordinated marketing push by Lucas and his studio, 20th Century Fox, months before the movie’s release date.





SPORTS

1935

Babe Ruth hits last home run

On May 25, 1935, at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Babe Ruth hits his 714th home run, a record for career home runs that would stand for almost 40 years. This was one of Ruth’s last games, and the last home run of his career.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1961

JFK asks Congress to support the space program

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy announces to Congress his goal of sending an American to the moon by the end of the decade and asks for financial support of an accelerated space program. He made the task a national priority and a mission in which all Americans would share, stating that it will not be one man going to the moon—it will be an entire nation.





1970S

1975

Grizzly bear is classified as a “threatened” species

In 1975, the grizzly bear–once the undisputed king of the western wilderness–is given federal protection as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Before the Anglo-Americans began invading their territory, the grizzly bear inhabited most of the country west of the Mississippi from Mexico north to the Arctic Circle.





NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

1979

American Airlines plane crashes in Chicago, killing all aboard

Almost 300 people are killed on May 25, 1979 when an American Airlines flight crashes and explodes after losing one engine just after takeoff. It was the beginning of Memorial Day weekend in 1979 when 277 passengers filled Flight 191 from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport bound for Los Angeles. The DC-10 jet took off normally but after rising to only 400 feet, stalled and then rolled to the left. The plane quickly plunged, crashing into Ravenswood Airport, which had been abandoned and was no longer in use.





CRIME

1861

President Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus during the Civil War

John Merryman, a state legislator from Maryland, is arrested for attempting to hinder Union troops from moving from Baltimore to Washington during the Civil War and is held at Fort McHenry by Union military officials.





CRIME

1895

Oscar Wilde is sent to prison for indecency

Writer Oscar Wilde is sent to prison after being convicted of sodomy. The famed writer of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest brought attention to his private life in a feud with Sir John Sholto Douglas, whose son was intimately involved with Wilde.





COLD WAR

1977

Chinese government removes ban on Shakespeare

A new sign of political liberalization appears in China, when the communist government lifts its decade-old ban on the writings of William Shakespeare. The action by the Chinese government was additional evidence that the Cultural Revolution was over.
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:00am On May 26
TODAY IN HISTORY

"Dracula" goes on sale in London

The first copies of the classic vampire novel Dracula, by Irish writer Bram Stoker, appear in London bookshops on May 26, 1897.

A childhood invalid, Stoker grew up to become a football (soccer) star at Trinity College, Dublin. After graduation, he got a job in civil service at Dublin Castle, where he worked for the next 10 years while writing drama reviews for the Dublin Mail on the side. In this way, Stoker met the well-respected actor Sir Henry Irving, who hired him as his manager. Stoker stayed in the post for most of the next three decades, writing Irving’s voluminous correspondence for him and accompanying him on tours in the United States. Over the years, Stoker began writing a number of horror stories for magazines, and in 1890 he published his first novel, The Snake’s Pass.

Stoker would go on to publish 17 novels in all, but it was his 1897 novel Dracula that eventually earned him literary fame and became known as a masterpiece of Victorian-era Gothic literature. Written in the form of diaries and journals of its main characters, Dracula is the story of a vampire who makes his way from Transylvania—a region of Eastern Europe now in Romania—to Yorkshire, England, and preys on innocents there to get the blood he needs to live. Stoker had originally named the vampire “Count Wampyr.” He found the name Dracula in a book on Wallachia and Moldavia written by retired diplomat William Wilkinson, which he borrowed from a Yorkshire public library during his family’s vacations there.

Vampires–who left their burial places at night to drink the blood of humans–were popular figures in folk tales from ancient times, but Stoker’s novel catapulted them into the mainstream of 20th-century literature. Upon its release, Dracula enjoyed moderate success, though when Stoker died in 1912 none of his obituaries even mentioned Dracula by name. Sales began to take off in the 1920s, when the novel was adapted for Broadway. Dracula mania kicked into even higher gear with Universal’s blockbuster 1931 film, directed by Tod Browning and starring the Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi. Dozens of vampire-themed movies, television shows and literature followed, though Lugosi, with his exotic accent, remains the quintessential Count Dracula. Late 20th-century examples of the vampire craze include the bestselling novels of American writer Anne Rice and the cult hit TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The 21st century saw the wildly popular Twilight film and book series.







U.S. PRESIDENTS

1868

President Johnson acquitted in Senate impeachment trial

At the end of a historic two-month trial, the U.S. Senate narrowly fails to convict President Andrew Johnson of the impeachment charges levied against him by the House of Representatives three months earlier. The senators voted 35 guilty and 19 not guilty on the second article of impeachment, a charge related to his violation of the Tenure of Office Act in the previous year.





NATIVE AMERICAN HISTORY

1637

Pequot massacres begin

During the Pequot War, an allied Puritan and Mohegan force under English Captain John Mason attacks a Pequot village in Connecticut, burning or massacring some 500 Native American women, men and children. As the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay spread further into Connecticut, they came into increasing conflict with the Pequots, a tribe centered on the Thames River in southeastern Connecticut.





RUSSIA

1896

Czar Nicholas II crowned

Nicholas II, the last czar, is crowned ruler of Russia in the old Ouspensky Cathedral in Moscow. Nicholas was neither trained nor inclined to rule, which did not help the autocracy he sought to preserve in an era desperate for change.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1927

Last day of Model T production at Ford

On May 26, 1927, Henry Ford and his son Edsel drive the 15 millionth Model T Ford out of their factory, marking the famous automobile’s official last day of production. More than any other vehicle, the relatively affordable and efficient Model T was responsible for accelerating the automobile’s introduction into American society during the first quarter of the 20th century.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1924

President Coolidge signs Immigration Act of 1924

President Calvin Coolidge signs into law the Immigration Act of 1924, the most stringent U.S. immigration policy up to that time in the nation’s history. The new law reflected the desire of Americans to isolate themselves from the world after fighting World War I in Europe which exacerbated growing fears of the spread of communist ideas.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1907

John Wayne is born

John Wayne, an actor who came to epitomize the American West, is born in Winterset, Iowa. Born Marion Michael Morrison, Wayne’s family moved to Glendale, California, when he was six years old. As a teen, he rose at four in the morning to deliver newspapers, and after school he played football and made deliveries for local stores. When he graduated from high school, he hoped to attend the U.S. Naval Academy.







ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1962

The British Invasion has an odd beginning with clarinetist Acker Bilk

If you’d told a randomly selected group of American music fans in the spring of 1962 that a British act would soon achieve total dominance of the American pop scene, change the face of music and fashion and inspire a generation of future pop stars to take up an instrument and join a band, they would probably have scratched their heads and struggled to imagine such a thing.





1990S

1991

Plane crashes in Thai jungle

On May 26, 1991, a Boeing 767 crashes into the jungle near Bangkok, Thailand, and kills all 223 people on board. The plane was owned and operated by the Austrian company Lauda-Air was the nation’s largest charter operation and famed race car driver Niki Lauda’s first foray into business after his retirement from racing.





THIS DAY IN HISTORY

1960

United States charges Soviets with espionage

During a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Henry Cabot Lodge charges that the Soviet Union has engaged in espionage activities at the U.S. embassy in Moscow for years.





CIVIL WAR

1865

One of the last Confederate generals surrenders

Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi division, surrenders on May 26, 1865, one of the last Confederate generals to capitulate. Smith, who had become commander of the area in January 1863, was charged with keeping the Mississippi River open to the Southerners. Yet he was more interested in recapturing Arkansas and Missouri, largely because of the influence of Arkansans in the Confederate Congress who helped to secure his appointment.







1940

Britain’s Operation Dynamo gets underway as President Roosevelt makes a radio appeal for the Red Cross

On May 26, 1940, American President Franklin D. Roosevelt makes known the dire straits of Belgian and French civilians suffering the fallout of the British-German battle to reach the northern coast of France, and appeals for support for the Red Cross “Tonight, over the once peaceful roads of Belgium and France, millions are now moving, running from their homes to escape bombs and shells and machine gunning, without shelter, and almost wholly without food,” broadcast FDR.
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:46am On May 27
TODAY IN HISTORY

Ship carrying 937 Jewish refugees, fleeing Nazi Germany, is turned away in Cuba

A boat carrying 937 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution is turned away from Havana, Cuba, on May 27, 1939. Only 28 immigrants are admitted into the country. After appeals to the United States and Canada for entry are denied, the rest are forced to sail back to Europe, where they’re distributed among several countries including Great Britain and France.

On May 13, the S.S. St. Louis sailed from Hamburg, Germany to Havana, Cuba. Most of the passengers—many of them children—were German Jews escaping increasing persecution under the Third Reich. Six months earlier, 91 people were killed and Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues were destroyed in what became known as the Kristallnacht pogrom. It was becoming increasing clear the Nazis were accelerating their efforts to exterminate Jews by arresting them and placing them in concentration camps. World War II and the formal implementation of The Final Solution were just months from beginning.

The refugees had applied for U.S. visas, and planned to stay in Cuba until they could enter the United States legally. Even before they set sail, their impending arrival was greeted with hostility in Cuba. On May 8, there was a massive anti-Semitic demonstration in Havana. Right-wing newspapers claimed that the incoming immigrants were Communists.

The St. Louis arrived in Havana on May 27. Roughly 28 people onboard had valid visas or travel documents and were allowed to disembark. The Cuban government refused to admit the nearly 900 others. For seven days, the ship’s captain attempted to negotiate with Cuban officials, but they refused to comply.

The ship sailed closer to Florida, hoping to disembark there, but it was not permitted to dock. Some passengers attempted to cable President Franklin D. Roosevelt asking for refuge, but he never responded. A State Department telegram stated that the asylum-seekers must “await their turns on the waiting list and qualify for and obtain immigration visas before they may be admissible into the United States.”

As a last resort, the St. Louis continued north to Canada, but it was rejected there, too. “No country could open its doors wide enough to take in the hundreds of thousands of Jewish people who want to leave Europe: the line must be drawn somewhere,” Frederick Blair, Canada’s director of immigration, said at the time.

Faced with no other options, the ship returned to Europe. It docked in Antwerp, Belgium on June 17. By then, several Jewish organizations had secured entry visas for the refugees in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Great Britain. The majority who had traveled on the ship survived the Holocaust; 254 later died as the Nazis swept through the continent.





19TH CENTURY

1887

Chinese gold miners are slaughtered in the Hells Canyon Massacre

The Hells Canyon Massacre begins on May 27, 1887, in Lewiston, Washington Territory, in what is now Idaho. The mass slaughter of Chinese gold miners by a gang of white horse thieves was one of many hate crimes perpetrated against Asian immigrants in the American West during this period.





WORLD WAR II

1941

British navy sinks the German battleship Bismarck

On May 27, 1941, the British navy sinks the German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic near France. The German death toll was more than 2,000. On February 14, 1939, the 823-foot Bismarck was launched at Hamburg.





WORLD WAR II

1943

U.S. Olympian Louis Zamperini’s plane goes down in the Pacific

On May 27, 1943, a B-24 carrying U.S. airman and former Olympic runner Louis Zamperini crashes into the Pacific Ocean. After surviving the crash, Zamperini floated on a raft in shark-infested waters for more than a month before being picked up by the Japanese and spending the next two years in a series of brutal prison camps. His story of survival was featured in the 2010 best-selling book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.





RUSSIA

1905

The Battle of Tsushima Strait

During the Russo-Japanese War, the Russian Baltic Fleet is nearly destroyed at the Battle of Tsushima Strait. The decisive defeat, in which only 10 of 45 Russian warships escaped to safety, convinced Russian leaders that further resistance against Japan’s imperial designs for East Asia was hopeless.





RUSSIA

1703

St. Petersburg founded by Peter the Great

After winning access to the Baltic Sea through his victories in the Great Northern War, Czar Peter I founds the city of St. Petersburg as the new Russian capital. The reign of Peter, who became sole czar in 1696, was characterized by a series of sweeping military, political, economic, and cultural reforms based on Western European models.





RUSSIA

1994

Nobel laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn returns to Russia after exile

Two decades after being expelled from the USSR, Nobel laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn returns to Russia in an emotional homecoming. In 1945, Solzhenitsyn was sentenced to eight years of hard labor for criticizing Stalin in a letter to a friend.





LANDMARKS

1937

Golden Gate Bridge opens

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, a stunning technological and artistic achievement, opens to the public after five years of construction. On opening day–“Pedestrian Day”–some 200,000 bridge walkers marveled at the 4,200-foot-long suspension bridge, which spans the Golden Gate Strait at the entrance to San Francisco Bay and connects San Francisco and Marin County. The next day, on May 28, the Golden Gate Bridge opened to vehicular traffic.





VIETNAM WAR

1971

Sweden announces support to Viet Cong

In Sweden, Foreign Minister Torsten Nilsson reveals that Sweden has been providing assistance to the Viet Cong, including some $550,000 worth of medical supplies. Similar Swedish aid was to go to Cambodian and Laotian civilians affected by the Indochinese fighting.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1941

FDR proclaims an unlimited national emergency in response to Nazi threats

President Franklin D. Roosevelt announces a state of unlimited national emergency in response to Nazi Germany’s threats of world domination on May 27, 1941. In a speech on this day, he repeated his famous remark from a speech he made in 1933 during the Great Depression: the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.





WESTWARD EXPANSION

1831

Commanche kill mountain man Jedediah Smith

Jedediah Smith, one of the nation’s most important trapper-explorers, is killed by Comanche tribesman on the Santa Fe Trail. Smith’s role in exploring the Far West was not fully realized until modern scholars examined the records of his far-ranging journeys.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1963

Dylan’s breakthrough album, "The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan," is released

On May 27, 1963, Bob Dylan releases his second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, which goes on to transform him from a popular local act to a global phenomenon. “Of all the precipitously emergent singers of folk songs in the continuing renascence of that self-assertive tradition,” wrote journalist and critic Nat Hentoff, “none has equaled Bob Dylan in singularity of impact.”







CRIME

2005

Murder suspect spends third day perched on crane

May 27, 2005, was the third day that Carl Edward Roland, 41, wanted by police in connection with the murder of his ex-girlfriend Jennifer Gonzalez, spent perched on a crane 18 stories above Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. Police in Pinellas County, Florida, discovered the badly beaten body of Gonzalez, 36, in a retention pond on May 24. She had been last seen with Roland, for whom police issued an arrest warrant after he did not return to his Clearwater, Florida, home.







CIVIL WAR

1861

President Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus is challenged

On May 27, 1861, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney of Maryland issues Ex parte Merryman, challenging the authority of President Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. military to suspend the writ of habeas corpus (the legal procedure that prevents the government from holding an individual indefinitely without showing cause) in Maryland.





COLD WAR

1972

SALT agreements signed

Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev and U.S. President Richard Nixon, meeting in Moscow, sign the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) agreements. At the time, these agreements were the most far-reaching attempts to control nuclear weapons ever.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1813

Thomas Jefferson writes to John Adams

On May 27, 1813, former President Thomas Jefferson writes former President John Adams to let him know that their mutual friend, Dr. Benjamin Rush, has died. Rush’s passing caused Jefferson to meditate upon the departure of the Revolutionary generation.





WORLD WAR II

1940

British evacuation of Dunkirk turns savage as Germans commit atrocity

On May 27, 1940, units from Germany’s SS Death’s Head division battle British troops just 50 miles from the port at Dunkirk, in northern France, as Britain’s Expeditionary Force continues to fight to evacuate France. After holding off an SS company until their ammo was spent, 99 Royal Norfolk Regiment soldiers retreated to a farmhouse in the village of Paradis, just 50 miles from the Dunkirk port.
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 12:32pm On May 30
TODAY IN HISTORY

Joan of Arc is burned at the stake for heresy

At Rouen in English-controlled Normandy, Joan of Arc, the peasant girl who became the savior of France, is burned at the stake for heresy.

Joan was born in 1412, the daughter of a tenant farmer at Domremy, on the borders of the duchies of Bar and Lorraine. In 1415, the Hundred Years War between England and France entered a crucial phase when the young King Henry V of England invaded France and won a series of decisive victories against the forces of King Charles VI. By the time of Henry’s death in August 1422, the English and their French-Burgundian allies controlled Aquitaine and most of northern France, including Paris. Charles VI, long incapacitated, died one month later, and his son, Charles, regent from 1418, prepared to take the throne. However, Reims, the traditional city of French coronation, was held by the Anglo-Burgundians, and the Dauphin (heir apparent to the French throne) remained uncrowned. Meanwhile, King Henry VI of England, the infant son of Henry V and Catherine of Valois, the daughter of Charles VI, was proclaimed king of France by the English.

Joan’s village of Domremy lay on the frontier between the France of the Dauphin and that of the Anglo-Burgundians. In the midst of this unstable environment, Joan began hearing “voices” of three Christian saints—St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret. When she was about 16, these voices exhorted her to aid the Dauphin in capturing Reims and therefore the French throne. In May 1428, she traveled to Vaucouleurs, a stronghold of the Dauphin, and told the captain of the garrison of her visions. Disbelieving the young peasant girl, he sent her home. In January 1429, she returned, and the captain, impressed by her piety and determination, agreed to allow her passage to the Dauphin at Chinon.

Joan of Arc: Soul on FireDressed in men’s clothes and accompanied by six soldiers, she reached the Dauphin’s castle at Chinon in February 1429 and was granted an audience. Charles hid himself among his courtiers, but Joan immediately picked him out and informed him of her divine mission. For several weeks, Charles had Joan questioned by theologians at Poitiers, who concluded that, given his desperate straits, the Dauphin would be well-advised to make use of this strange and charismatic girl.

Charles furnished her with a small army, and on April 27, 1429, she set out for Orleans, besieged by the English since October 1428. On April 29, as a French sortie distracted the English troops on the west side of Orleans, Joan entered unopposed by its eastern gate. She brought greatly needed supplies and reinforcements and inspired the French to a passionate resistance. She personally led the charge in several battles and on May 7 was struck by an arrow. After quickly dressing her wound, she returned to the fight, and the French won the day. On May 8, the English retreated from Orleans.

During the next five weeks, Joan and the French commanders led the French into a string of stunning victories over the English. On July 16, the royal army reached Reims, which opened its gates to Joan and the Dauphin. The next day, Charles VII was crowned king of France, with Joan standing nearby holding up her standard: an image of Christ in judgment. After the ceremony, she knelt before Charles, joyously calling him king for the first time.

On September 8, the king and Joan attacked Paris. During the battle, Joan carried her standard up to the earthworks and called on the Parisians to surrender the city to the king of France. She was wounded but continued to rally the king’s troops until Charles ordered an end to the unsuccessful siege. That year, she led several more small campaigns, capturing the town of Saint-Pierre-le-Moitier. In December, Charles ennobled Joan, her parents, and her brothers.

In May 1430, the Burgundians laid siege to Compiegne, and Joan stole into the town under the cover of darkness to aid in its defense. On May 23, while leading a sortie against the Burgundians, she was captured. The Burgundians sold her to the English, and in March 1431 she went on trial before ecclesiastical authorities in Rouen on charges of heresy. Her most serious crime, according to the tribunal, was her rejection of church authority in favor of direct inspiration from God. After refusing to submit to the church, her sentence was read on May 24: She was to be turned over to secular authorities and executed. Reacting with horror to the pronouncement, Joan agreed to recant and was condemned instead to perpetual imprisonment.

Ordered to put on women’s clothes, she obeyed, but a few days later the judges went to her cell and found her dressed again in male attire. Questioned, she told them that St. Catherine and St. Margaret had reproached her for giving in to the church against their will. She was found to be a relapsed heretic and on May 29 ordered handed over to secular officials. On May 30, Joan, 19 years old, was burned at the stake at the Place du Vieux-Marche in Rouen. Before the pyre was lit, she instructed a priest to hold high a crucifix for her to see and to shout out prayers loud enough to be heard above the roar of the flames.

As a source of military inspiration, Joan of Arc helped turn the Hundred Years' War firmly in France’s favor. By 1453, Charles VII had reconquered all of France except for Calais, which the English relinquished in 1558. In 1920, Joan of Arc, one of the great heroes of French history, was recognized as a Christian saint by the Roman Catholic Church. Her feast day is May 30.







AFRICA

1967

Republic of Biafra proclaimed

After suffering through years of suppression under Nigeria’s military government, the breakaway state of Biafra proclaims its independence from Nigeria. In 1960, Nigeria gained independence from Britain. Six years later, the Muslim Hausas in northern Nigeria began massacring the he Christian Igbos in the region, prompting tens of thousands of Igbos to flee to the east, where their people were the dominant ethnic group. The Igbos doubted that Nigeria’s oppressive military government would allow them to develop, or even survive, so on May 30, 1967, Lieutenant Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu and other non-Igbo representatives of the area established the Republic of Biafra, comprising several states of Nigeria.





SPACE EXPLORATION

1971

Mariner 9 departs for Mars

The U.S. unmanned space probe Mariner 9 is launched on a mission to gather scientific information on Mars, the fourth planet from the sun. The 1,116-pound spacecraft entered the planet’s orbit on November 13, 1971, and circled Mars twice each day for almost a year, photographing the surface and analyzing the atmosphere with infrared and ultraviolet instruments. It gathered data on the atmospheric composition, density, pressure, and temperature of Mars, and also information about the surface composition, temperature, and topography of the planet.





19TH CENTURY

1868

Civil War dead honored on Decoration Day

By proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, the first major Memorial Day observance is held to honor those who died “in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” Known to some as “Decoration Day,” mourners honored the Civil War dead by decorating their graves with flowers. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Civil War soldiers buried in the cemetery.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1922

Former President Taft dedicates Lincoln Memorial

Former President William Howard Taft dedicates the Lincoln Memorial on the Washington Mall on this day in 1922. At the time, Taft was serving as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Taft remains the only former president ever to hold a seat on the Supreme Court.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1806

Future president Andrew Jackson kills Charles Dickinson in a duel

On May 30, 1806, future President Andrew Jackson kills a man who accused him of cheating on a horse race bet and then insulted his wife, Rachel. Contemporaries described Jackson, who had already served in Tennessee’s Senate and was practicing law at the time of the duel, as argumentative, physically violent and fond of dueling to solve conflicts. Estimates of the number of duels in which Jackson participated ranged from five to 100.





CRIME

1899

Bandit Pearl Hart holds up an Arizona stagecoach

The amateur bandit Pearl Hart and her boyfriend hold up an Arizona stagecoach on May 30, 1899. Little is known about Pearl Hart’s early life. She was born in Ontario, Canada in 1871, and moved to Toronto as a child. She eloped when she was 16, but her husband abused her and the marriage did not last.







ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1593

Playwright Christopher Marlowe killed in tavern brawl

Playwright Christopher Marlowe, 29, is killed in a brawl over a bar tab on this day. Marlowe, born two months before William Shakespeare, was the son of a Canterbury shoemaker. A bright student, he won scholarships to prestigious schools and earned his B.A. from Cambridge in 1584. He was nearly denied his master’s degree in 1587, until advisers to Queen Elizabeth intervened, recommending he receive the degree, referring obliquely to his services for the state. Marlowe’s activities as a spy for Queen Elizabeth were later documented by historians.





CRIME

1997

Jonathan Levin is tortured and killed by his former student

Jonathan Levin, a popular 31-year-old English teacher, is stabbed and shot to death in his Upper West Side apartment in New York City. The son of Time Warner chairman Gerald Levin, Jonathan was known by many to be wealthy. When he did not show up for work, investigators searched his apartment and found his lifeless body bound to a chair with duct tape. Levin’s bankcard was missing from his wallet, and $800 had been removed from his account around the time that he was killed.





COLD WAR

1990

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev arrives in Washington for a summit

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev arrives in Washington, D.C., for three days of talks with President George Bush. The summit meeting centered on the issue of Germany and its place in a changing Europe. When Gorbachev arrived for this second summit meeting with President Bush, his situation in the Soviet Union was perilous.





SPORTS

1911

First Indianapolis 500 held

On May 30, 1911, Ray Harroun drives his single-seater Marmon Wasp to victory in the inaugural Indianapolis 500, now one of the world’s most famous motor racing competitions. The Indiana automobile dealer Carl Fisher first proposed building a private auto testing facility in 1906, in order to address car manufacturers’ inability to test potential top speeds of new cars due to the poorly developed state of the public roadways.





WORLD WAR I

1913

The First Balkan War ends

On May 30, 1913, a peace treaty is signed ending the First Balkan War, in which the newly aligned Slavic nations of Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Greece had driven Turkish forces out of Macedonia, a territory of the Ottoman Empire located in the tumultuous Balkans region of of southeastern Europe.
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:28am On May 31
TODAY IN HISTORY

Tulsa Race Massacre begins

Beginning on the night of May 31, 1921, thousands of white citizens in Tulsa, Oklahoma descended on the city’s predominantly Black Greenwood District, burning homes and businesses to the ground and killing hundreds of people. Long mischaracterized as a race riot, rather than mass murder, the Tulsa Race Massacre stands as one of the worst incidents of racial violence in the nation’s history.

In the years following World War I, segregation was the law of the land, and the Ku Klux Klan was gaining ground—not only in the Jim Crow South, but across the United States. Amid that charged environment, Tulsa’s African American community was nationally recognized for its affluence. The Greenwood District, known as “Black Wall Street,” boasted more than 300 Black-owned businesses, including two movie theaters, doctors’ offices and pharmacies.

On May 30, 1921, a young Black man named Dick Rowland entered an elevator in an office building in downtown Tulsa. At some point, Rowland was alone in the elevator with its white operator, Sarah Page. It’s unclear what happened next (one common version is that Rowland stepped on Page’s foot) but Page screamed, and Rowland fled the scene. The next day, the police arrested him.

Rumors about the incident spread quickly through Tulsa’s white community, some members of which undoubtedly resented the prosperity of the Greenwood District. After a story published in the Tulsa Tribune on the afternoon of May 31 claimed that Rowland had attempted to rape Page, an angry white mob gathered in front of the courthouse, demanding that Rowland be handed over.

Seeking to prevent a lynching, a group of some 75 Black men arrived on the scene that night, some of them World War I veterans who were carrying weapons. After a white man tried to disarm a Black veteran and the gun went off, chaos broke out.

Over the next 24 hours, thousands of white rioters poured into the Greenwood District, shooting unarmed Black citizens in the streets and burning an area of some 35 city blocks, including more than 1,200 Black-owned houses, numerous businesses, a school, a hospital and a dozen churches. Historians believe as many as 300 people were killed in the rampage, though official counts at the time were much lower.

By the time Governor James Robertson declared martial law, and National Guard troops arrived in Tulsa by noon on June 1, the Greenwood District lay in ruins. Survivors of the massacre worked to rebuild the neighborhood, but segregation remained in force in Tulsa (and the nation) and racial tensions only grew, even as the massacre and its lingering scars were left largely unacknowledged by the white community for decades to come.

In 1997, the Oklahoma state legislature created the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 (later renamed the Tulsa Race Massacre Commission), which studied the massacre and recommended that reparations be paid to the remaining Black survivors. City officials continue to investigate the events of May 31-June 1, 1921, and to search for unmarked graves used to bury the massacre’s many victims.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1977

The BBC bans the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen”

Thirty years after its release, John Lydon—better known as Johnny Rotten—offered this assessment of the song that made the Sex Pistols the most reviled and revered figures in England in the spring of 1977: “There are not many songs written over baked beans at the breakfast table that went on to divide a nation and force a change in popular culture.”





AFRICA

1902

The Boer War ends in South Africa

In Pretoria, representatives of Great Britain and the Boer states sign the Treaty of Vereeniging, officially ending the three-and-a-half-year South African Boer War. The Boers, also known as Afrikaners, were the descendants of the original Dutch settlers of southern Africa.





MIDDLE EAST

1996

Netanyahu elected prime minister of Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres is narrowly defeated in national elections by Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu. Peres, leader of the Labor Party, became prime minister in 1995 after Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Jewish extremist.





HOLOCAUST

1962

Architect of the Holocaust hanged in Israel

Near Tel Aviv, Israel, Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi SS officer who organized Adolf Hitler’s “final solution of the Jewish question,” was executed for his crimes against humanity. Eichmann was born in Solingen, Germany, in 1906.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1929

Ford Motor Company signs agreement with Soviet Union

After two years of exploratory visits and friendly negotiations, Ford Motor Company signs a landmark agreement to produce cars in the Soviet Union on May 30, 1929. The Soviet Union, which in 1928 had only 20,000 cars and a single truck factory, was eager to join the ranks of automotive production, and Ford, with its focus on engineering and manufacturing methods, was a natural choice to help.





GREAT BRITAIN

1859

Big Ben rings out over London for the first time

The famous tower clock known as Big Ben, located at the top of the 320-foot-high Elizabeth Tower, rings out over the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, for the first time on May 31, 1859. After a fire destroyed much of the Palace of Westminster—the headquarters of the British Parliament—in October 1834, a standout feature of the design for the new palace was a large clock atop a tower.







WORLD WAR II

1941

Germans conquer Crete

On May 31, 1941, the last of the Allies evacuate after 11 days of battling a successful German parachute invasion of the island of Crete. Crete is now Axis-occupied territory. On the morning of May 20, some 3,000 members of Germany’s Division landed on Crete, which was patrolled and protected by more than 28,000 Allied troops and an almost equal number of Greek soldiers.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1988

Three U.S. presidents close chapters on the Cold War

On May 30, 1988, three U.S. presidents in three different years take significant steps toward ending the Cold War. Beginning on May 28, 1988, President Ronald Reagan met Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev for a four-day summit in Russia.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1819

Poet Walt Whitman, author of “Leaves of Grass,” is born

May 31, 1819 is the birthday of poet Walt Whitman, born in West Hills, Long Island, and raised in Brooklyn. Although Whitman loved music and books, he left school at the age of 14 to become a journeyman printer.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1930

Actor and director Clint Eastwood is born

Best known to his many fans for one of his most memorable screen incarnations–San Francisco Police Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan–the actor and Oscar-winning filmmaker Clint Eastwood is born on May 30, 1930, in San Francisco, California.





NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

1889

Over 2,000 die in the Johnstown Flood

The South Fork Dam in Pennsylvania collapses on May 31, 1889, causing the Johnstown Flood, killing more than 2,200 people. Johnstown is 60 miles east of Pittsburgh in a valley near the Allegheny, Little Conemaugh and Stony Creek Rivers.





US POLITICS

2005

Identity of “Deep Throat,” source who helped unravel the Watergate scandal, is revealed

W. Mark Felt’s family ends 30 years of speculation, identifying Felt, the former FBI assistant director, as “Deep Throat,” the secret source who helped unravel the Watergate scandal. Felt's admission, made in an article in Vanity Fair magazine, took legendary reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who had promised to keep their source’s identity a secret until his death, by surprise. Tapes show that President Nixon himself had speculated that Felt was the secret informant as early as 1973.







CRIME

1964

Convicted murderer Charles Schmid brags about his crimes

Fifteen-year-old Alleen Rowe is killed by Charles Schmid in the desert outside Tucson, Arizona. Earlier in the night, Schmid allegedly had said to his friends, “I want to kill a girl! I want to do it tonight. I think I can get away with it!” Schmid went on to kill three other teenage girls before being caught by police.





WORLD WAR I

1916

Battle of Jutland, greatest naval battle of WWI, begins

Just before four o’clock on the afternoon of May 31, 1916, a British naval force commanded by Vice Admiral David Beatty confronts a squadron of German ships, led by Admiral Franz von Hipper, some 75 miles off the Danish coast. The two squadrons opened fire on each other simultaneously, beginning the opening phase of the greatest naval battle of World War I, the Battle of Jutland.
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 10:54am On Jun 03
TODAY IN HISTORY

Duke of Windsor weds American socialite

In France, the duke of Windsor—formerly King Edward VIII of Great Britain and Northern Ireland—marries Wallis Warfield, a divorced American socialite for whom he abdicated the British throne in December 1936.

Edward, born in 1896, was the eldest son of King George V, who became the British sovereign in 1910. He served as a staff officer during World War I and in the 1920s made extensive goodwill trips abroad as Prince of Wales, a title bestowed on male heirs to the British throne. During the Depression, he helped organize work programs for the nation’s unemployed and was highly regarded by the public in the years leading up to his father’s death.

Edward, still unmarried as he approached his 40th birthday, socialized with the fashionable London society of the day and frequently entertained at Fort Belvedere, his country home. By 1934, he had fallen deeply in love with American socialite Wallis Warfield Simpson, who was married to Ernest Simpson, an English-American businessman who lived with Mrs. Simpson near London. Wallis, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1896 and brought up in Maryland, had previously married and divorced a U.S. Navy pilot. The royal family disapproved of Edward’s married mistress, but by 1936 the prince was intent on marrying Mrs. Simpson. Before he could discuss this intention with his father, George V died on January 20, 1936, and Edward was proclaimed king.

The new king proved popular with his subjects, and his coronation was scheduled for May 1937. His affair with Mrs. Simpson was reported in American and continental European newspapers, but due to a gentlemen’s agreement between the British press and the government, the affair was kept out of British newspapers. On October 27, 1936, Mrs. Simpson obtained a preliminary decree of divorce, presumably with the intent of marrying the king, precipitating a major scandal. To the Church of England and most British politicians, an American woman twice divorced was unacceptable as a prospective British queen. Winston Churchill, then a Conservative backbencher, was the only notable politician to support Edward.

Despite the seemingly united front against him, Edward could not be dissuaded. He proposed a morganatic marriage, in which Wallis would be granted no rights of rank or property, but Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin rejected this as impractical on December 2. The next day, the scandal broke on the front pages of British newspapers and was discussed openly in Parliament. With no resolution possible, the king renounced the throne on December 10. The next day, Parliament approved the abdication instrument, and Edward VIII’s 325-day reign came to an end. That evening, the former king gave a radio broadcast in which he explained: “I have found it impossible to carry on the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge the duties of King, as I would wish to do, without the help and support of the woman I love.” On December 12, his younger brother, the duke of York, was proclaimed King George VI. That day, the new king made his older brother the duke of Windsor.

By that time, Edward had already left for Austria, where he lived with friends apart from Mrs. Simpson as her divorce proceedings progressed. Her divorce became final in May 1937, and she had her name legally changed back to Wallis Warfield. On June 3, 1937, the duke of Windsor and Wallis Warfield married at the Chateau de Cande in France’s Loire Valley. A Church of England clergyman conducted the service, which was witnessed by only about 16 guests. Wallis was now the duchess of Windsor, but King George, under pressure from his ministers, denied her the title of “royal highness” enjoyed by her husband.

For the next two years, the duke and duchess lived primarily in France but visited other European countries, including Germany, where the duke was honored by Nazi officials in October 1937 and met with Adolf Hitler. After the outbreak of World War II, the duke accepted a position as liaison officer with the French. In June 1940, France fell to the Nazis, and Edward and Wallis went to Spain. During this period, the Nazis concocted a scheme to kidnap Edward with the intention of returning him to the British throne as a puppet king. George VI, like his prime minister, Winston Churchill, was adamantly opposed to any peace with Nazi Germany. Unaware of the Nazi kidnapping plot but conscious of Edward’s pre-war Nazi sympathies, Churchill hastily offered Edward the governorship of the Bahamas in the West Indies. The duke and duchess set sail from Lisbon on August 1, 1940, narrowly escaping a Nazi SS team sent to seize them.

In 1945, the duke resigned his post, and the couple moved back to France. They lived mainly in Paris, and Edward made a few visits to England, such as to attend the funerals of King George VI in 1952 and his mother, Queen Mary, in 1953. It was not until 1967 that the duke and duchess were invited by the royal family to attend an official public ceremony, the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to Queen Mary. Edward died in Paris in 1972 but was buried at Frogmore, on the grounds of Windsor Castle. In 1986, Wallis died and was buried at his side.







WORLD WAR II

1943

Zoot Suit Riots begin in Los Angeles

On June 3, 1943, a group of U.S. sailors marches through downtown Los Angeles, carrying clubs and other makeshift weapons and attacking anyone wearing a “zoot suit”—the baggy wool pants, oversized coats and porkpie hats favored by many young men of color at the time.





GREAT BRITAIN

2017

Terrorists attack London Bridge

During one horrific 8-minute period on June 3, 2017, eight people were killed as a band of terrorists drove a van through a pedestrian walkway on the London Bridge. The men then exited, armed with pink steak knives, and proceeded to slash and stab people in a nearby market.





CRIME

2010

Joran van der Sloot arrested for murder in South America

On June 3, 2010, Joran van der Sloot, a longtime suspect in the unsolved 2005 disappearance of American teen Natalee Holloway in Aruba, is arrested in Chile in connection with the slaying of 21-year-old Stephany Flores, in Lima, Peru.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1800

President John Adams moves into a tavern in Washington, D.C.

John Adams, the second president of the United States, becomes the first president to reside in Washington, D.C., when he takes up residence at Union Tavern in Georgetown. The city of Washington was created to serve as the nation’s capital because of its geographical position in the center of the existing new republic.





SPACE EXPLORATION

1965

First American astronaut walks in space

On June 3, 1965, 120 miles above the Earth, Major Edward H. White II opens the hatch of the Gemini 4 and steps out of the capsule, becoming the first American astronaut to walk in space. Attached to the craft by a 25-foot tether and controlling his movements with a hand-held oxygen jet-propulsion gun, White remained outside the capsule for just over 20 minutes. As a space walker, White had been preceded by Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei A. Leonov, who on March 18, 1965, was the first man ever to walk in space.





CHINA

1989

Crackdown at Tiananmen begins

With protests for democratic reforms entering their seventh week, the Chinese government authorizes its soldiers and tanks to reclaim Beijing’s Tiananmen Square at all costs. By nightfall on June 4, Chinese troops had forcibly cleared the square, killing hundreds and arresting thousands of demonstrators and suspected dissidents.







ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1936

Western author Larry McMurtry is born

Larry McMurtry, one of the most well-known modern writers working in the western genre, is born in Wichita Falls, Texas. McMurtry’s family had been involved in Texas ranching for three generations, and he was exposed to ranching life from an early age.







ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1956

Rock 'n' roll is banned in Santa Cruz, California

Santa Cruz, California, a favorite early haunt of author Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, was an established capital of the West Coast counterculture scene by the mid-1960s. Yet just 10 years earlier, the balance of power in this crunchy beach town 70 miles south San Francisco tilted heavily toward the older side of the generation gap.





CIVIL WAR

1864

Union disaster at Cold Harbor

Union General Ulysses S. Grant makes what he later recognizes to be his greatest mistake by ordering a frontal assault on entrenched Confederates at Cold Harbor, Virginia. The result was some 7,000 Union casualties in less than an hour of fighting. Grant’s Army of the Potomac and





WORLD WAR I

1916

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signs National Defense Act

On June 3, 1916, United States President Woodrow Wilson signs into law the National Defense Act, which expanded the size and scope of the National Guard—the network of states’ militias that had been developing steadily since colonial times—and guaranteed its status as the nation’s permanent reserve force.





WORLD WAR II

1940

Germans bomb Paris, killing hundreds of civilians

On June 3, 1940, the German air force bombs Paris, killing 254 people, most of them civilians. Determined to wreck France’s economy and military, reduce its population, and in short, cripple its morale as well as its ability to rally support for other occupied nations, the Germans bombed the French capital without regard to the fact that most of the victims were civilians, including schoolchildren. The bombing succeeded in provoking just the right amount of terror; France’s minister of the interior could only keep government officials from fleeing Paris by threatening them with severe penalties.
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:05am On Jun 04
TODAY IN HISTORY

Chinese crackdown on protests leads to Tiananmen Square Massacre

Chinese troops storm through Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing, killing and arresting thousands of pro-democracy protesters. The brutal Chinese government assault on the protesters shocked the West and brought denunciations and sanctions from the United States.

In May 1989, nearly a million Chinese, mostly young students, crowded into central Beijing to protest for greater democracy and call for the resignations of Chinese Communist Party leaders deemed too repressive. For nearly three weeks, the protesters kept up daily vigils, and marched and chanted. Western reporters captured much of the drama for television and newspaper audiences in the United States and Europe.

On June 4, 1989, however, Chinese troops and security police stormed through Tiananmen Square, firing indiscriminately into the crowds of protesters. Turmoil ensued, as tens of thousands of the young students tried to escape the rampaging Chinese forces. Other protesters fought back, stoning the attacking troops and overturning and setting fire to military vehicles. Reporters and Western diplomats on the scene estimated that at least 300, and perhaps thousands, of the protesters had been killed and as many as 10,000 were arrested.

The savagery of the Chinese government’s attack shocked both its allies and Cold War enemies. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev declared that he was saddened by the events in China. He said he hoped that the government would adopt his own domestic reform program and begin to democratize the Chinese political system.

In the United States, editorialists and members of Congress denounced the Tiananmen Square massacre and pressed for President George Bush to punish the Chinese government. A little more than three weeks later, the U.S. Congress voted to impose economic sanctions against the People’s Republic of China in response to the brutal violation of human rights.





WORLD WAR II

1944

The U-505, a submarine from Hitler’s deadly fleet, is captured

One of Adolf Hitler’s deadly submarines, the U-505, is seized as it makes its way home after patrolling the Gold Coast of Africa on June 4, 1944. The German submarine was the first enemy warship captured on the high seas by the U.S. Navy since the War of 1812.





CRIME

2003

Martha Stewart indicted for securities fraud and obstruction of justice

For domestic guru and media mogul Martha Stewart, known for her “good things” tips and tricks, things turn very badly when a federal grand jury serves her and her former stock broker a nine-count indictment, including charges of obstruction of justice, securities fraud,conspiracy and making false statements.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1976

Four dozen people witness historic Sex Pistols set

It seems millions of people claim to have been at Woodstock when only 500,000 or so were really there, but the biggest pop-culture event of the 1960s has nothing on one of the most pivotal of the 1970s: the Sex Pistols’ appearance at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester,England, on June 4, 1976. Proportional to the actual crowd in attendance, perhaps no event in the history of pop music has enjoyed greater retroactive audience growth than the one that’s been called “The gig that changed the world.”





WORLD WAR II

1940

Operation Dynamo at Dunkirk ends

As the German army advances through northern France during the early days of World War II, it cuts off British troops from their French allies, forcing an enormous evacuation of soldiers across the North Sea from the town of Dunkirk to England.





UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION

1919

Congress passes the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote

The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote, is passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. The women’s suffrage movement was founded in the mid-19th century by women who had become politically active through their work in the abolitionist and temperance movements. In July 1848, 240 woman suffragists, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, met in Seneca Falls, New York, to assert the right of women to vote.





US POLITICS

1972

Communist activist Angela Davis acquitted

Angela Yvonne Davis, a Black communist activist and former philosophy professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, is acquitted on charges of conspiracy, murder and kidnapping by a jury in San Jose, California. In October 1970, Davis was arrested in New York City in connection with a shootout that occurred on August 7 in a San Raphael, California, courtroom.





WORLD WAR II

1942

Battle of Midway begins

On June 4, 1942, the Battle of Midway–one of the most decisive U.S. victories against Japan during World War II–begins. During the four-day sea-and-air battle, the outnumbered U.S. Pacific Fleet succeeded in destroying four Japanese aircraft carriers while losing only one of its own, the Yorktown, to the previously invincible Japanese navy.





VIETNAM WAR

1961

Kennedy and Khrushchev agree on neutrality for Laos

President John F. Kennedy and Premier Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union, meeting in Vienna, strike a bargain to support a neutral and independent Laos. Laos had been the scene of an ongoing communist insurgency by the Pathet Lao guerrillas. In July 1959, the North Vietnamese Politburo had formed Group 959 to furnish weapons and supplies to the Pathet Lao.





WESTWARD EXPANSION

1876

Express train crosses the nation in 83 hours

A mere 83 hours after leaving New York City, the Transcontinental Express train arrives in San Francisco. That any human being could travel across the entire nation in less than four days was inconceivable to previous generations of Americans.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1940

“The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter,” Carson McCullers’ debut novel, is published

On June 4, 1940 22-year-old Carson McCullers’ first novel, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, is published. The novel, about misfits in a Georgia mill town, is an instant success. McCullers, born Lula Carson Smith in Columbus, Georgia, in 1917, was strongly encouraged in her childhood artistic endeavors by her mother, who believed she was an artistic genius.





CRIME

1986

Jonathan Pollard admits to selling top-secret information to Israel

Jonathan Pollard pleads guilty to espionage for selling top-secret U.S. military intelligence information to Israel. The former Navy intelligence analyst sold enough classified documents to fill a medium-sized room. Pollard was arrested in November 1985 after authorities learned that he had been meeting with Israeli agents every two weeks for the last year. He was paid approximately $50,000 for the highly sensitive documents and expected to receive as much as $300,000 in a secret Swiss bank account.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1896

Henry Ford test-drives his “Quadricycle”

At approximately 4:00 a.m. on June 4, 1896, in the shed behind his home on Bagley Avenue in Detroit, Henry Ford unveils the “Quadricycle,” the first automobile he ever designed or drove. Ford was working as the chief engineer for the main plant of the Edison Illuminating Company when he began working on the Quadricycle. On call at all hours to ensure that Detroit had electrical service 24 hours a day, Ford was able to use his flexible working schedule to experiment with his pet project—building a horseless carriage with a gasoline-powered engine.







AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1754

Lieutenant Colonel George Washington builds Fort Necessity

On June 4, 1754, during the Seven Years’ War, a 22-year-old lieutenant colonel in the Virginia militia named George Washington begins construction of a makeshift Fort Necessity. The fort was built to defend his forces from French soldiers enraged by the murder of Ensign Joseph Coulon de Jumonville while in Washington’s custody. One month later, the French, led by Jumonville’s half-brother, won Washington’s surrender and forced confession to Jumonville’s murder.





WORLD WAR I

1916

Brusilov Offensive begins

On June 4, 1916, the Battle of Lutsk marks the beginning of the Brusilov Offensive, the largest and most successful Allied offensive of World War I. When the fortress city of Verdun, France, came under siege by the Germans in February 1916, the French pleaded with the other Allies, Britain and Russia, to mount offensives in other areas to force the diversion of German resources and attention from the struggle at Verdun.
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 7:48am On Jun 08
TODAY IN HISTORY

James Earl Ray, suspect in Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination, is arrested

James Earl Ray, an escaped American convict, is arrested in London, England, and charged with the assassination of African American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

On April 4, 1968, in Memphis, King was fatally wounded by a sniper’s bullet while standing on the balcony outside his second-story room at the Motel Lorraine. That evening, a Remington .30-06 hunting rifle was found on the sidewalk beside a rooming house one block from the Lorraine Motel. During the next several weeks, the rifle, eyewitness reports, and fingerprints on the weapon all implicated a single suspect: escaped convict James Earl Ray. A two-bit criminal, Ray escaped a Missouri prison in April 1967 while serving a sentence for a holdup. In May 1968, a massive manhunt for Ray began. The FBI eventually determined that he had obtained a Canadian passport under a false identity, which at the time was relatively easy.

On June 8, Scotland Yard investigators arrested Ray at a London airport. Ray was trying to fly to Belgium, with the eventual goal, he later admitted, of reaching Rhodesia. Rhodesia (now called Zimbabwe) was at the time ruled by an oppressive and internationally condemned white minority government. Extradited to the United States, Ray stood before a Memphis judge in March 1969 and pleaded guilty to King’s murder in order to avoid the electric chair. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

Three days later, he attempted to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming he was innocent of King’s assassination and had been set up as a patsy in a larger conspiracy. He claimed that in 1967, a mysterious man named “Raoul” had approached him and recruited him into a gunrunning enterprise. On April 4, 1968, however, he realized that he was to be the fall guy for the King assassination and fled for Canada. Ray’s motion was denied, as were his dozens of other requests for a trial during the next 29 years.

During the 1990s, the widow and children of Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke publicly in support of Ray and his claims, calling him innocent and speculating about an assassination conspiracy involving the U.S. government and military. U.S. authorities were, in conspiracists’ minds, implicated circumstantially. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover obsessed over King, who he thought was under communist influence. For the last six years of his life, King underwent constant wiretapping and harassment by the FBI. Before his death, Dr. King was also monitored by U.S. military intelligence, who may have been called to watch over King after he publicly denounced the Vietnam War in 1967. Furthermore, by calling for radical economic reforms in 1968, including guaranteed annual incomes for all, King was making few new friends in the Cold War-era U.S. government.

Over the years, the assassination has been reexamined by the House Select Committee on Assassinations, the Shelby County, Tennessee, district attorney’s office, and three times by the U.S. Justice Department. All of these investigations have ended with the same conclusion: James Earl Ray killed Martin Luther King, Jr. The House committee acknowledged that a low-level conspiracy might have existed, involving one or more accomplices to Ray, but uncovered no evidence definitively to prove this theory. In addition to the mountain of evidence against him, such as his fingerprints on the murder weapon and admitted presence at the rooming house on April 4, Ray had a definite motive in assassinating King: hatred. According to his family and friends, he was an outspoken racist who told them of his intent to kill King. Ray died in 1998.





US POLITICS

1972

Shirley Chisholm visits her opponent George Wallace in the hospital

Rep. Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress, visits Alabama Governor George Wallace, perhaps the single most famous supporter of racial segregation in modern history, as he recovers from an assassination attempt on June 8, 1972.





RELIGION

632

Muhammad, founder of Islam, dies

In Medina, located in present-day Saudi Arabia, Muhammad, one of the most influential religious and political leaders in history, dies in the arms of Aisha, his third and favorite wife. Born in Mecca of humble origins, Muhammad married a wealthy widow at 25 years old and lived the next 15 years as an unremarkable merchant. In 610, in a cave in Mount Hira north of Mecca, he had a vision in which he heard God, speaking through the angel Gabriel, command him to become the Arab prophet of the “true religion.”





US POLITICS

1968

Senator Robert F. Kennedy buried

Three days after falling prey to an assassin in California, Senator Robert F. Kennedy is laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, just 30 yards from the grave of his assassinated older brother, President John F. Kennedy. Robert Kennedy, born in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1925, interrupted his studies at Harvard University to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II.





MIDDLE EAST

1967

Israel attacks USS Liberty

During the Six-Day War, Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats attack the USS Liberty in international waters off Egypt’s Gaza Strip. The intelligence ship, well-marked as an American vessel and only lightly armed, was attacked first by Israeli aircraft that fired napalm and rockets at the ship. The Liberty attempted to radio for assistance, but the Israeli aircraft blocked the transmissions.





SPORTS

1966

NFL and AFL announce merger

On June 8, 1966, the rival National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL) announce that they will merge. The first “Super Bowl” between the two leagues took place at the end of the 1966 season, though it took until the 1970 season for the leagues to unite their operations and integrate their regular season schedules.





NATIVE AMERICAN HISTORY

1874

Apache chief Cochise dies

Chief Cochise, one of the great leaders of the Apache Indians in their battles with the Anglo-Americans, dies on the Chiricahua reservation in southeastern Arizona. Little is known of Cochise’s early life. By the mid-19th century, he had become a prominent leader of the Chiricahua band of Apache Indians living in southern Arizona and northern Mexico.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1949

George Orwell’s “1984” is published

George Orwell's novel of a dystopian future, 1984, is published on June 8, 1949. The novel’s all-seeing leader, known as “Big Brother,” becomes a universal symbol for intrusive government and oppressive bureaucracy. George Orwell was the nom de plume of Eric Blair, who was born in India.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1984

“Ghostbusters” released

On June 8, 1984, the now-classic comedy Ghostbusters is released in theaters across the United States. Produced and directed by Ivan Reitman, Ghostbusters starred Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis as disgraced parapsychology professors in New York City who turn to “paranormal investigation”–hunting down and capturing ghosts—to make money after Columbia University yanks their research grants.





CRIME

1913

Forensic evidence captures a murderous father

Two farmers walking near a quarry outside of Edinburgh, Scotland, find two small, dead bodies floating in the water, tied together. Although the bodies were so waterlogged that authorities could barely confirm that they were human, Sydney Smith, the century’s first “Quincy,” was able to use forensics to help solve the crime.





RED SCARE

1949

FBI report names Hollywood figures as communists

Hollywood figures, including film stars Fredric March, John Garfield, Paul Muni, and Edward G. Robinson, are named in a FBI report as Communist Party members. Such reports helped to fuel the anticommunist hysteria in the United States during the late-1940s and 1950s.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1948

First Porsche completed

On June 8, 1948, a hand-built aluminum prototype labeled “No. 1″ becomes the first vehicle to bear the name of one of the world’s leading luxury car manufacturers: Porsche. The Austrian automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche debuted his first design at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1900.
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 2:14pm On Jun 09
TODAY IN HISTORY

Secretariat wins Triple Crown in breathtaking style

With a spectacular victory at the Belmont Stakes, Secretariat becomes the first horse since Citation in 1948 to win America’s coveted Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. In one of the finest performances in racing history, Secretariat, ridden by Ron Turcotte, completed the 1.5-mile race in 2 minutes and 24 seconds, a dirt-track record for that distance.

Secretariat was born at Meadow Stables in Doswell, Virginia, on March 30, 1970. He was sired by Bold Ruler, the 1957 Preakness winner, and foaled by Somethingroyal, which came from a Thoroughbred line known for its stamina. An attractive chestnut colt, he grew to over 16 hands high and was at two years the size of a three-year-old.

He ran his first race as a two-year-old on July 4, 1972, a 5 1/2-furlong race at Aqueduct in New York City. He came from behind to finish fourth; it was the only time in his career that he finished a race and did not place. Eleven days later, he won a six-furlong race at Saratoga in Saratoga Springs, New York, and soon after, another race. His trainer, Lucien Laurin, moved him up to class in August, entering him in the Sanford Stakes at Saratoga, which he won by three lengths. By the end of 1972, he had won seven of nine races.

With easy victories in his first two starts of 1973, Secretariat seemed on his way to the Triple Crown. Just two weeks before the Kentucky Derby, however, he stumbled at the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct, coming in third behind Angle Light and Sham. On May 5, he met Sham and Angle Light again at the Churchill Downs track in Louisville for the Kentucky Derby. Secretariat, a 3-to-2 favorite, broke from near the back of the pack to win the 1 1/4-mile race in a record 1 minute and 59 2/5th seconds. He was the first to run the Derby in less than two minutes and his record still stands.

Two weeks later, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, Secretariat won the second event of the Triple Crown: the Preakness Stakes. The official clock malfunctioned, but hand-recorded timers had him running the 1 3/16-mile race in record time.

On June 9, 1973, almost 100,000 people came to Belmont Park near New York City to see if “Big Red” would become the first horse in 25 years to win the Triple Crown. Secretariat gave the finest performance of his career in the Belmont Stakes, completing the 1.5-mile race in a record 2 minutes and 24 seconds, knocking nearly three seconds off the track record set by Gallant Man in 1957. He also won by a record 31 lengths.

Ron Turcotte, who jockeyed Secretariat in all but three of his races, claimed that at Belmont he lost control of Secretariat and that the horse sprinted into history on his own accord.

Secretariat would race six more times, winning four and finishing second twice. In November 1973, the “horse of the century” was retired and put to stud at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky. Among his notable offspring is the 1988 Preakness and Belmont winner, Risen Star. Secretariat was euthanized in 1989 after falling ill. An autopsy showed that his heart was two and a half times larger than that of the average horse, which may have contributed to his extraordinary racing abilities. In 1999, ESPN ranked Secretariat No. 35 in its list of the Top 50 North American athletes of the 20th century, the only non-human on the list.





CRIME

1956

Best-selling crime novelist Patricia Cornwell is born

On June 9, 1956, one of the world’s top-selling crime novelists, Patricia Cornwell, best known for her forensic pathologist character Dr. Kay Scarpetta, is born in Miami, Florida. Cornwell, whose maiden name is Daniels, had a difficult childhood.





EXPLORATION

1534

French navigator Jacques Cartier sails the St. Lawrence River

French navigator Jacques Cartier becomes the first European explorer to encounter the St. Lawrence River in present-day Quebec, Canada. In 1534, Cartier was commissioned by King Francis I of France to explore the northern American lands in search of riches and the rumored.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1772

British vessel burned off Rhode Island

In an incident that some regard as the first naval engagement of the American Revolution, colonists board the Gaspee, a British vessel that ran aground off the coast of Rhode Island, and set it aflame. The Gaspee was pursuing the Hanna, an American smuggling ship.





VIETNAM WAR

1964

CIA report challenges “domino theory”

In reply to a formal question submitted by President Lyndon B. Johnson—“Would the rest of Southeast Asia necessarily fall if Laos and South Vietnam came under North Vietnamese control?”—the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) submits a memo that effectively challenges the “domino theory” backbone of the Johnson administration policies. This theory contended that if South Vietnam fell to the communists, the rest of Southeast Asia would also fall “like dominoes,” and the theory had been used to justify much of the Vietnam War effort.





WESTWARD EXPANSION

1856

Handcart pioneers depart for Salt Lake City

In an extraordinary demonstration of resolve and fortitude, nearly 500 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often informally known as Mormons) leave Iowa City and head west for Salt Lake City carrying all their goods and supplies in two-wheeled handcarts.





RED SCARE

1954

“Have you no sense of decency?” Sen. Joseph McCarthy is asked in hearing

In a dramatic confrontation, Joseph Welch, special counsel for the U.S. Army, lashes out at Senator Joseph McCarthy during hearings on whether communism has infiltrated the U.S. armed forces. Welch’s verbal assault marked the end of McCarthy’s power during the anticommunist hysteria of the Red Scare in America.







WORLD WAR I

1915

William Jennings Bryan resigns as U.S. secretary of state

On June 9, 1915, United States Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan resigns due to his concerns over President Woodrow Wilson’s handling of the crisis generated by a German submarine’s sinking of the British passenger liner Lusitania the previous month, in which 1,201people—including 128 Americans—died.
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 1:55pm On Jun 11
TODAY IN HISTORY

University of Alabama desegregated

Facing federalized Alabama National Guard troops, Alabama Governor George Wallace ends his blockade of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and allows two African American students to enroll on June 11, 1963.

George Wallace, one of the most controversial politicians in U.S. history, was elected governor of Alabama in 1962 under an ultra-segregationist platform. In his 1963 inaugural address, he promised his white followers: “Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!” When African American students attempted to desegregate the University of Alabama in June 1963, Alabama’s new governor, flanked by state troopers, literally blocked the door of the enrollment office. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, had declared segregation unconstitutional in 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education, and the executive branch undertook aggressive tactics to enforce the ruling.

On June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy federalized National Guard troops and deployed them to the University of Alabama to force its desegregation. The next day, Governor Wallace yielded to the federal pressure, and two African American students—Vivian Malone and James A. Hood—successfully enrolled. In September of the same year, Wallace again attempted to block the desegregation of an Alabama public school—this time Tuskegee High School—but President Kennedy once again employed his executive authority and federalized National Guard troops. Wallace had little choice but to yield.







MIDDLE EAST

1967

Six-Day War ends

The Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors ends with a United Nations-brokered cease-fire. The outnumbered Israel Defense Forces achieved a swift victory in the brief war, rolling over the Arab coalition and more than doubling the amount of territory under Israel’s control.





GREAT BRITAIN

1509

Henry VIII marries his first wife, Catherine of Aragon

King Henry VIII of England marries Catherine of Aragon, the first of six wives he will have in his lifetime. When Catherine failed to produce a male heir, Henry divorced her against the will of the Roman Catholic Church, thus precipitating the Protestant Reformation in England.





WORLD WAR II

1944

D-Day landing forces converge

Five days after the D-Day landing, the five Allied landing groups, made up of some 330,000 troops, link up in Normandy to form a single solid front across northwestern France. An Interactive On June 6, 1944, after a year of meticulous planning conducted in secrecy by a joint Anglo-American staff, the largest combined sea, air, and land military operation in history began on the French coast at Normandy. The Allied invasion force included 3 million men, 13,000 aircraft, 1,200 warships, 2,700 merchant ships, and 2,500 landing craft.





1980S

1979

John Wayne dies

On June 11, 1979, John Wayne, an iconic American film actor famous for starring in countless westerns, dies at age 72 after battling cancer for more than a decade. The actor was born Marion Morrison on May 26, 1907, in Winterset, Iowa, and moved as a child to Glendale.





VIETNAM WAR

1963

Buddhist immolates himself in protest

Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc publicly burns himself to death in a plea for President Ngo Dinh Diem to show “charity and compassion” to all religions. Diem, a Catholic who had been oppressing the Buddhist majority, remained stubborn despite continued Buddhist protests.





EXPLORATION

1788

Russian explorer Izmailov arrives at Yakutat Bay, Alaska

Searching for sea otter pelts and other furs, the Russian explorer Gerasim Grigoriev Izmailov reaches the Alaskan coast, setting his ship in at Yakutat Bay. Although most Americans think of the exploration of the Far West as an affair that began in the East and proceeded and repeated U.S. requests to liberalize his government’s policies.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1949

Hank Williams, Sr., makes his Grand Ole Opry debut

In the tragically short life of country legend Hank Williams, Sr., there were many broken relationships, both personal and professional, that resulted from his self-destructive behavior. One such relationship was with the most important institution in his chosen field.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1982

“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” released

Then 34-year-old director Steven Spielberg reportedly drew on his own experiences as an unusually imaginative, often-lonely child of divorce for his science-fiction classic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which is released on June 11, 1982.





SPORTS

1955

Race car at Le Mans crashes into spectators, killing 82

On June 11, 1955, a racing car in Le Mans, France, goes out of control and crashes into stands filled with spectators, killing 82 people. The tragedy in the famous 24-hour race led to a ban on racing in several nations.





CHINA

1989

China issues warrant for Tiananmen dissident sheltering in U.S. embassy

In the wake of the Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4, China issues a warrant for a leading Chinese dissident who had taken refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing. The diplomatic standoff lasted for a year, and the refusal of the United States to hand the dissident over to Chinese officials was further evidence of American disapproval of China’s crackdown on political protesters.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1776

Congress appoints Committee of Five to draft the Declaration of Independence

On June 11, 1776, the Continental Congress selects Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert R. Livingston of New York to draft a declaration of independence.
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 10:56am On Jun 12
TODAY IN HISTORY

President Reagan challenges Gorbachev to "Tear down this wall"

On June 12, 1987, in one of his most famous Cold War speeches, President Ronald Reagan challenges Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down” the Berlin Wall, a symbol of the repressive Communist era in a divided Germany.

In 1945, following Germany’s defeat in World War II, the nation’s capital, Berlin, was divided into four sections, with the Americans, British and French controlling the western region and the Soviets gaining power in the eastern region. In May 1949, the three western sections came together as the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), with the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) being established in October of that same year. In 1952, the border between the two countries was closed and by the following year East Germans were prosecuted if they left their country without permission. In August 1961, the Berlin Wall was erected by the East German government to prevent its citizens from escaping to the West. Between 1949 and the wall’s inception, it’s estimated that over 2.5 million East Germans fled to the West in search of a less repressive life.

With the wall as a backdrop, President Reagan declared to a West Berlin crowd in 1987, “There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace.” He then called upon his Soviet counterpart: “Secretary General Gorbachev, if you seek peace—if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe—if you seek liberalization: come here, to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Reagan then went on to ask Gorbachev to undertake serious arms reduction talks with the United States.

Most listeners at the time viewed Reagan’s speech as a dramatic appeal to Gorbachev to renew negotiations on nuclear arms reductions. It was also a reminder that despite the Soviet leader’s public statements about a new relationship with the West, the U.S. wanted to see action taken to lessen Cold War tensions. Happily for Berliners, though, the speech also foreshadowed events to come: Two years later, on November 9, 1989, joyful East and West Germans did break down the infamous barrier between East and West Berlin. Germany was officially reunited on October 3, 1990.

Gorbachev, who had been in office since 1985, stepped down from his post as Soviet leader in 1991. Reagan, who served two terms as president, from 1981 to 1989, died on June 5, 2004, at age 93.







21ST CENTURY

2016

Terrorist gunman attacks Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida

As Latin music blared inside Pulse, one of Orlando’s biggest nightclubs on June 12, 2016, a gunman forced his way inside and opened fire on the predominantly gay crowd. In the end, 49 people were dead and dozens more injured, in what was, at the time, the deadliest mass shooting.





21ST CENTURY

2017

Otto Warmbier returns from North Korean prison in a coma

On June 12, 2017 Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old student who was taken prisoner in North Korea 17 months earlier, returned home to the United States in a comatose state. His return marked a warming of relations between the U.S. and the pariah state known for its extensive human-rights abuses, casting new attention on how North Korea treats foreigners in captivity.





BLACK HISTORY

1963

Civil rights leader Medgar Evers is assassinated

In the driveway outside his home in Jackson, Mississippi, African American civil rights leader Medgar Evers is shot to death by white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith. During World War II, Evers volunteered for the U.S. Army and participated in the Normandy invasion.





19TH CENTURY

1898

Philippine independence declared

During the Spanish-American War, Filipino rebels led by Emilio Aguinaldo proclaim the independence of the Philippines after 300 years of Spanish rule. By mid-August, Filipino rebels and U.S. troops had ousted the Spanish, but Aguinaldo’s hopes for independence were dashed when the United States formally annexed the Philippines as part of its peace treaty with Spain.





INDIA

1975

Indira Gandhi convicted of election fraud

Indira Gandhi, the prime minister of India, is found guilty of electoral corruption in her successful 1971 campaign. Despite calls for her resignation, Gandhi refused to give up India’s top office and later declared martial law in the country when public demonstrations threatened to topple her administration.





SPORTS

1920

Big Red sets record at Belmont Stakes

On June 12, 1920, Man O’ War wins the 52nd Belmont Stakes, and sets the record for the fastest mile ever run by a horse to that time. Man O’ War was the biggest star yet in a country obsessed with horse racing, and the most successful thoroughbred of his generation.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1944

John F. Kennedy receives medals

Lieutenant John F. Kennedy receives one of the Navy’s highest honor for gallantry for his heroic actions as a gunboat pilot during World War II on June 12, 1944. The future president also received a Purple Heart for wounds received during battle.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1924

George Herbert Walker Bush is born

The first Bush president, George Herbert Walker Bush, is born in Milton, Massachusetts. Bush served in the Navy during World War II and survived a harrowing ordeal when his torpedo bomber was shot down over the Pacific.





HOLOCAUST

1942

Anne Frank receives a diary

On June 12, 1942, Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl living in Amsterdam, receives a diary for her 13th birthday. A month later, she and her family went into hiding from the Nazis. For two years, the Franks and four other families hid, fed and cared for by Gentile friends.





CRIME

1994

Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman murdered

Nicole Brown Simpson, famous football player O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife, and her friend Ron Goldman are brutally stabbed to death outside Nicole’s home in Brentwood, California, in what quickly becomes one of the most highly publicized trials of the century.
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:16am On Jun 13
TODAY IN HISTORY

The Miranda rights are established
On June 13, 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court hands down its decision in Miranda v. Arizona, establishing the principle that all criminal suspects must be advised of their rights before interrogation. Now considered standard police procedure, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can, and will, be used against you in court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you,” has been heard so many times in television and film dramas that it has become almost cliche.

The roots of the Miranda decision go back to March 2, 1963, when an 18-year-old Phoenix woman told police that she had been abducted, driven to the desert and raped. Detectives questioning her story gave her a polygraph test, but the results were inconclusive. However, tracking the license plate number of a car that resembled that of her attacker’s brought police to Ernesto Miranda, who had a prior record as a peeping tom. Although the victim did not identify Miranda in a line-up, he was brought into police custody and interrogated. What happened next is disputed, but officers left the interrogation with a confession that Miranda later recanted, unaware that he didn’t have to say anything at all.

The confession was extremely brief and differed in certain respects from the victim’s account of the crime. However, Miranda’s appointed defense attorney (who was paid a grand total of $100) didn’t call any witnesses at the ensuing trial, and Miranda was convicted. While Miranda was in Arizona state prison, the American Civil Liberties Union took up his appeal, claiming that the confession was false and coerced.

The Supreme Court overturned his conviction, but Miranda was retried and convicted in October 1966 anyway, despite the relative lack of evidence against him. Remaining in prison until 1972, Ernesto Miranda was later stabbed to death in the men’s room of a bar after a poker game in January 1976.

As a result of the case against Miranda, each and every person must now be informed of his or her rights when in custody and about to be interrogated.





SPACE EXPLORATION

1983

Pioneer 10 departs solar system

After more than a decade in space, Pioneer 10, the world’s first outer-planetary probe, leaves the solar system. The next day, it radioed back its first scientific data on interstellar space. On March 2, 1972, the NASA spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.





MIDDLE AGES

1381

Peasant army marches into London

During the Peasants’ Revolt, a large mob of English peasants led by Wat Tyler marches into London and begins burning and looting the city. Several government buildings were destroyed, prisoners were released, and a judge was beheaded along with several dozen other leading citizens.





BLACK HISTORY

1967

Thurgood Marshall appointed to Supreme Court

President Lyndon B. Johnson appoints U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Thurgood Marshall to fill the seat of retiring Supreme Court Associate Justice Tom C. Clark. On August 30, after a heated debate, the Senate confirmed Marshall’s nomination by a vote of 69 to 11.





ANCIENT MIDDLE EAST

323 B.C.

Alexander the Great dies

Alexander the Great, the young Macedonian military genius who forged an empire stretching from the eastern Mediterranean to India, dies in Babylon, in present-day Iraq, at the age of 33. Born in Macedonia to King Phillip II and Queen Olympias.







VIETNAM WAR

1971

The New York Times publishes the “Pentagon Papers”

The New York Times begins publishing portions of the 47-volume Pentagon analysis of how the U.S. commitment in Southeast Asia grew over a period of three decades. Daniel Ellsberg, a former Defense Department analyst who had become an antiwar activist, had stolen the documents.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1807

Thomas Jefferson subpoenaed in Aaron Burr’s treason trial

President Thomas Jefferson receives a subpoena to testify in the treason trial of his former vice president, Aaron Burr, on June 13, 1807. In the subpoena, Burr asked Jefferson to produce documents that might exonerate him.







WESTWARD EXPANSION

1805

Meriwether Lewis reaches the Great Falls

Having hurried ahead of the main body of the expedition, Meriwether Lewis and four men arrive at the Great Falls of the Missouri River, confirming that the explorers are headed in the right direction. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark had set out on their expedition to the Pacific the previous year. They spent the winter of 1804 with the Mandan Indians in present-day North Dakota.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1962

Stanley Kubrick’s “Lolita” released

“How did they ever make a movie of Lolita?” was the question posed by the posters advertising Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s famously controversial novel, released on June 13, 1962.





CRIME

2006

Jurors begin deliberations in Susan Polk trial

On June 13, 2006, jurors began deliberations in the trial of Susan Polk, 48, for the October 2002 murder of her psychotherapist husband Felix Polk, 70, in a poolside cottage at the couple’s Orinda, California, home.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1777

Lafayette arrives in South Carolina to serve alongside General Washington

On June 13, 1777, a 19-year-old French aristocrat, Marie-Joseph Paul Roch Yves Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, arrives in South Carolina with the intent to serve as General George Washington’s second-in-command.
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 3:41pm On Jun 16
TODAY IN HISTORY

First roller coaster in America opens

On June 16, 1884, the first roller coaster in America opens at Coney Island, in Brooklyn, New York. Known as a switchback railway, it was the brainchild of LaMarcus Thompson, traveled approximately six miles per hour and cost a nickel to ride. The new entertainment was an instant success and by the turn of the century there were hundreds of roller coasters around the country.

Coney Island, a name believed to have come from the Dutch Konijn Eilandt, or Rabbit Island, is a tract of land along the Atlantic Ocean discovered by explorer Henry Hudson in 1609. The first hotel opened at Coney Island in 1829 and by the post-Civil War years, the area was an established resort with theaters, restaurants and a race track. Between 1897 and 1904, three amusement parks sprang up at Coney Island–Dreamland, Luna Park and Steeplechase. By the 1920s, Coney Island was reachable by subway and summer crowds of a million people a day flocked there for rides, games, sideshows, the beach and the two-and-a-half-mile boardwalk, completed in 1923.

The hot dog is said to have been invented at Coney Island in 1867 by Charles Feltman. In 1916, a nickel hot dog stand called Nathan’s was opened by a former Feltman employee and went on to become a Coney Island institution and international franchise. Today, Nathan’s is famous not only for its hot dogs but its hot dog-eating contest, held each Fourth of July in Coney Island.

Roller coasters and amusement parks experienced a decline during the Great Depression and World War II, when Americans had less cash to spend on entertainment. Finally, in 1955, the opening of Disneyland in Anaheim, California, signaled the advent of the modern theme park and a rebirth of the roller coaster. Disneyland’s success sparked a wave of new parks and coasters. By the 1970s, parks were competing to create the most thrilling rides.

By the mid-1960s, the major amusement parks at Coney Island had shut down and the area acquired a seedy image. In recent decades it has been revitalized, however, and remains a popular tourist attraction. It's still home to the Cyclone, a wooden coaster that made its debut in 1927. Capable of speeds of 60 mph and with an 85-foot drop, the Cyclone is one of the country’s oldest coasters in operation today.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1965

Bob Dylan records “Like A Rolling Stone”

By the spring of 1965, Bob Dylan’s presence in the world of music was beginning to be felt well outside the boundaries of his nominal genre. Within the world of folk music, he had been hailed as a hero for several years already, but now his music was capturing the attention and influencing the direction of artists like the Byrds, the Beatles and even a young Stevie Wonder.





SPACE EXPLORATION

1963

Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space

On June 16, 1963, aboard Vostok 6, Soviet Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman to travel into space. After 48 orbits and 71 hours, she returned to earth, having spent more time in space than all U.S. astronauts combined to that date.





COLD WAR

1977

Leonid Brezhnev is elected Soviet president

Leonid Ilych Brezhnev, first secretary of the Soviet Communist Party since 1964, is elected president of the Supreme Soviet, thereby becoming both head of party and head of state. A member of the Soviet Communist Party since 1931, Brezhnev was Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s protege and deputy in the early 1960s. In 1964, however, he joined in the party coup that removed Khrushchev from power, and he was named first secretary in Khrushchev’s place. As first secretary, he initially shared power with Alexei Kosygin, who succeeded Khrushchev as premier. However, Brezhnev proved a forceful leader, and he gradually emerged as the chief figure in Soviet politics.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1858

Lincoln warns that America is becoming a “house divided”

On June 16, 1858, newly nominated senatorial candidate Abraham Lincoln addresses the Illinois Republican Convention in Springfield and warns that the nation faces a crisis that could destroy the Union.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1943

Charlie Chaplin marries Oona O’Neill

Oona O’Neill, the daughter of the famed playwright Eugene O’Neill, is an 18-year-old freshly minted high-school graduate and fledgling actress when she marries 54-year-old Charles Chaplin, the internationally renowned actor, filmmaker and Hollywood legend, on June 16, 1943, in in Santa Barbara, California.





CRIME

1999

SLA member captured after more than 20 years

On June 16, 1999, Kathleen Ann Soliah, a former member of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), is arrested near her home in St. Paul, Minnesota. Soliah, who now calls herself Sara Jane Olson, had been evading authorities for more than 20 years.





COLD WAR

1961

Russian ballet star Rudolf Nureyev defects from USSR

Rudolf Nureyev, the young star of the Soviet Union’s Kirov Opera Ballet Company, defects during a stopover in Paris. The high-profile defection was a blow to Soviet prestige and generated international interest.





CIVIL WAR

1862

Union thwarted at the Battle of Secessionville

On June 16, 1862, a Union attempt to capture Charleston, South Carolina, is thwarted when the Confederates turn back an attack at Secessionville, just south of the city on James Island. In November 1861, Union ships captured Port Royal, South Carolina, which lay about halfway between Charleston and Savannah, Georgia. This gave the Federals an important base from which to mount operations along the southern coast.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1903

Ford Motor Company incorporated

At 9:30 in the morning on June 16, 1903, Henry Ford and other prospective stockholders in the Ford Motor Company meet in Detroit to sign the official paperwork required to create a new corporation.

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