Today in History


Today is Wednesday, May 3, the 123rd day of 2023. There are 242 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 3, 1979, Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher was chosen to become Britain’s first female prime minister as the Tories ousted the incumbent Labour government in parliamentary elections.

On this date:

In 1802, Washington, D.C., was incorporated as a city.

In 1937, Margaret Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, “Gone with the Wind.”

In 1947, Japan’s postwar constitution took effect.

In 1948, the Supreme Court, in Shelley v. Kraemer, ruled that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to Blacks or members of other racial groups were legally unenforceable.

In 1960, the Harvey Schmidt-Tom Jones musical “The Fantasticks” began a nearly 42-year run at New York’s Sullivan Street Playhouse.

In 1987, The Miami Herald said its reporters had observed a young woman spending “Friday night and most of Saturday” at a Washington townhouse belonging to Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart. (The woman was later identified as Donna Rice; the resulting controversy torpedoed Hart’s presidential bid.)

In 2006, a federal jury in Alexandria, Virginia, rejected the death penalty for al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui (zak-uh-REE’-uhs moo-SOW’-ee), deciding he should spend life in prison for his role in 9/11; as he was led from the courtroom, Moussaoui taunted, “America, you lost.”

In 2009, Mexican President Felipe Calderon told state television that a nationwide shutdown and an aggressive informational campaign appeared to have helped curtail an outbreak of swine flu in Mexico.

In 2011, Chicago’s Derrick Rose became at age 22 the NBA’s youngest MVP.

In 2015, two gunmen were shot and killed by a police officer in Garland, Texas, after they opened fire outside a purposely provocative contest for cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.

In 2016, in a stunning triumph for a political outsider, Donald Trump all but clinched the Republican presidential nomination with a resounding victory in Indiana that knocked rival Ted Cruz out of the race.

In 2018, a federal grand jury in Detroit indicted former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn on charges stemming from the company’s diesel emissions cheating scandal. (Under Germany’s constitution, he could not be extradited to the U.S. to face charges.)

Ten years ago: President Barack Obama cast Mexico as a nation ready to take “its rightful place in the world” and move past the drug battles and violence that had defined its relationship with the United States; the president then headed to Costa Rica, where he told a press conference he didn’t foresee any circumstance requiring the U.S. to send ground troops into Syria. Gunmen killed Chaudhry Zulfikar, Pakistan’s lead prosecutor investigating the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, as he drove to court in the capital.

Five years ago: President Donald Trump insisted that his reimbursement of a 2016 hush payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels had nothing to do with his election campaign. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a plan to give striking teachers pay raises totaling 20 percent, ending a six-day walkout. In a reversal, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that the chaplain of the House of Representatives would stay in his job; Ryan had sparked an uproar when he asked the Rev. Patrick Conroy to resign and said he was dissatisfied with Conroy’s pastoral care to lawmakers.

One year ago: President Joe Biden blasted as “radical” a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion throwing out the Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling after 50 years. Chief Justice John Roberts said he had ordered an investigation into what he called an “egregious breach of trust.” Russian forces began storming the steel mill containing the last pocket of resistance in Mariupol, just as scores of civilians who evacuated the bombed-out plant reached relative safety in Ukrainian-held territory. Ron Galella, a photographer known for his visceral celebrity shots and his dogged pursuit of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who sued him and won a restraining order, died at age 91.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer Frankie Valli is 89. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, is 80. Sports announcer Greg Gumbel is 77. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., is 74. Pop singer Mary Hopkin is 73. Singer Christopher Cross is 72. Rock musician David Ball (Soft Cell) is 64. Country singer Shane Minor is 55. Actor Amy Ryan is 55. Actor Bobby Cannavale (ka-nuh-VAL’-ee) is 53. Music and film producer-actor Damon Dash is 52. Country musician John Driskell Hopkins (Zac Brown Band) is 52. Country-rock musician John Neff is 52. Actor Marsha Stephanie-Blake is 48. TV personality Willie Geist (TV: “Today”) is 48. Actor Christina Hendricks is 48. Actor Dule (doo-LAY’) Hill is 48. Country singer Eric Church is 46. Actor Tanya Wright is 45. Dancer Cheryl Burke is 39. Soul singer Michael Kiwanuka is 36. Actor Zoe De Grand Maison is 28. Rapper Desiigner is 26.

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