Today in History


Today is Monday, May 1, the 121st day of 2023. There are 244 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 1, 2011, President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden during a U.S. commando operation. (Because of the time difference, it was early May 2 in Pakistan, where the al-Qaida leader met his end.)

On this date:

In 1707, the Kingdom of Great Britain was created as a treaty merging England and Scotland took effect.

In 1866, three days of race-related rioting erupted in Memphis, Tennessee, as white mobs targeted Blacks, 46 of whom were killed, along with two whites. (The violence spurred passage of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining American citizenship and equal protection under the law.)

In 1960, the Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance plane over Sverdlovsk and captured its pilot, Francis Gary Powers.

In 1963, James W. Whittaker became the first American to conquer Mount Everest as he and Sherpa guide Nawang Gombu reached the summit.

In 1964, the computer programming language BASIC (Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) was created by Dartmouth College professors John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz.

In 1971, the intercity passenger rail service Amtrak went into operation.

In 1991, Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers threw his seventh no-hitter at age 44, shutting out the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0.

In 1992, on the third day of the Los Angeles riots, a visibly shaken Rodney King appeared in public to appeal for calm, pleading, “Can we all get along?”

In 2009, Supreme Court Justice David Souter announced his retirement effective at the end of the court’s term in late June. (President Barack Obama chose federal judge Sonia Sotomayor to succeed him.)

In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI beatified Pope John Paul II, moving his predecessor a step closer to sainthood in a Vatican Mass attended by some 1.5 million pilgrims.

In 2015, Baltimore’s top prosecutor charged six police officers with felonies ranging from assault to murder in the death of Freddie Gray, a Black man who’d suffered a spinal injury while riding in a police van. (None of the officers would be convicted.)

In 2020, U.S. regulators allowed emergency use of remdesivir, the first drug that appeared to help some COVID-19 patients recover faster.

Ten years ago: Workers around the world united in anger during May Day rallies — from fury in Europe over austerity measures that cut wages, reduced benefits and eliminated many jobs altogether, to rage in Asia over relentlessly low pay, the rising cost of living and hideous working conditions. Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard was a unanimous choice as the NBA’s Rookie of the Year. Chris Kelly, 34, half of the 1990s kid rap duo Kris Kross, died in Atlanta.

Five years ago: Entering the State Department headquarters for the first time as America’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed to reinvigorate American diplomacy and help the United States get “back our swagger.” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein lashed out at Republican allies of President Donald Trump who had drafted articles of impeachment against Rosenstein, saying the Justice Department would not give in to threats.

One year ago: A long-awaited effort to evacuate people from a sprawling steel plant in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol began. The United Nations said the operation was being carried out by the International Committee of the Red Cross and in coordination with Ukrainian and Russian officials. A top-level U.S. congressional delegation led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a surprise visit to Ukraine undertaken in extraordinary secrecy, holding a three-hour meeting in Kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at which Pelosi vowed the U.S. would stand with him “until the fight is done.” Jacky Hunt-Broersma, A South African amputee athlete, set a new world record for the number of daily consecutive marathons by running her 104th in a row. A woman was rescued from the rubble of a building in central China more than 50 hours after it collapsed, leaving dozens trapped or missing.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer Judy Collins is 84. Actor Stephen Macht is 81. Singer Rita Coolidge is 78. Pop singer Nick Fortuna (The Buckinghams) is 77. Actor-director Douglas Barr is 74. Actor Dann Florek is 72. Singer-songwriter Ray Parker Jr. is 69. Actor Byron Stewart is 67. Hall of Fame jockey Steve Cauthen is 63. Actor Maia Morgenstern is 61. Actor Scott Coffey is 59. Country singer Wayne Hancock is 58. Actor Charlie Schlatter is 57. Country singer Tim McGraw is 56. Rock musician Johnny Colt is 55. Rock musician D’Arcy Wretzky is 55. Movie director Wes Anderson is 54. Actor Julie Benz is 51. Actor Bailey Chase is 51. Country singer Cory Morrow is 51. Gospel/R&B singer Tina Campbell (Mary Mary) is 49. Actor Darius McCrary is 47. Actor Jamie Dornan is 41. Actor Kerry Bishe is 39. TV personality Abby Huntsman is 37. Actor Lizzy Greene is 20.

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