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Today in History

Today in History

Today is Thursday, May 18, the 138th day of 2017. There are 227 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 18, 1927, in America’s deadliest school attack, part of a schoolhouse in Bath Township, Michigan, was blown up with explosives planted by local farmer Andrew Kehoe, who then set off a bomb in his truck; the attacks killed 38 children and six adults, including Kehoe, who’d earlier killed his wife. (Authorities said Kehoe, who suffered financial difficulties, was seeking revenge for losing a township clerk election.)

On this date:

In 1642, the Canadian city of Montreal was founded by French colonists.

In 1765, about one-fourth of Montreal was destroyed by a fire.

In 1896, the Supreme Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson, endorsed “separate but equal” racial segregation, a concept renounced 58 years later in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

In 1897, a public reading of Bram Stoker’s new horror novel, “Dracula,” was staged in London.

In 1926, evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson vanished while visiting a beach in Venice, California. (McPherson reappeared more than a month later, saying she’d escaped after being kidnapped and held for ransom, an account that was greeted with skepticism.)

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure creating the Tennessee Valley Authority.

In 1944, during World War II, Allied forces occupied Monte Cassino in Italy after a four-month struggle with Axis troops.

In 1953, Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier as she piloted a Canadair F-86 Sabre jet over Rogers Dry Lake, California.

In 1967, Tennessee Gov. Buford Ellington signed a measure repealing the law against teaching evolution that was used to prosecute John T. Scopes in 1925.

In 1973, Harvard law professor Archibald Cox was appointed Watergate special prosecutor by U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson.

In 1980, the Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington state exploded, leaving 57 people dead or missing.

In 1991, Helen Sharman became the first Briton to rocket into space as she flew aboard a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft with two cosmonauts on an eight-day mission to the Mir space station.

Ten years ago: The White House and Congress failed to strike a deal after exchanging competing offers on an Iraq war spending bill that Democrats said should set a date for U.S. troops to leave. France’s new president, Nicolas Sarkozy (sahr-koh-ZEE’), named a radically revamped cabinet which included seven women among its 15 members.

Five years ago: Social network Facebook made its trading debut with one of the most highly anticipated IPOs in Wall Street history; however, by day’s end, Facebook stock closed up only 23 cents from its initial pricing of $38. In his first meeting with President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande (frahn-SWAH’ oh-LAWND’) declared he would withdraw all French combat troops from Afghanistan by year’s end. The Olympic flame arrived in Britain, the country hosting the 2012 Olympics. Renowned German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, 86, died in Starnberg.

One year ago: In an unusual move, Republican candidate Donald Trump released a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he would consider if elected president (not included was Trump’s eventual first pick for the nation’s highest bench, Neil Gorsuch). A judge in Ottawa, Kansas, sentenced a man to death for the killing of two men, a woman and her 18-month-old daughter on a farm in 2013.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Bill Macy is 95. Actress Priscilla Pointer is 93. Hall-of-Fame sportscaster Jack Whitaker is 93. Actor Robert Morse is 86. Actor Dwayne Hickman is 83. Baseball Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson is 80. Actress Candice Azzara is 76. Bluegrass singer-musician Rodney Dillard (The Dillards) is 75. Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson is 71. Country singer Joe Bonsall (The Oak Ridge Boys) is 69. Rock musician Rick Wakeman (Yes) is 68. Rock singer Mark Mothersbaugh (Devo) is 67. Actor James Stephens is 66. Country singer George Strait is 65. Rhythm-and-blues singer Butch Tavares (Tavares) is 64. Actor Chow Yun-Fat is 62. Rock singer-musician Page Hamilton is 57. Contemporary Christian musician Barry Graul (MercyMe) is 56. Contemporary Christian singer Michael Tait is 51. Singer-actress Martika is 48. Comedian-writer Tina Fey is 47. Rapper Special Ed is 43. Rock singer Jack Johnson is 42. Country singer David Nail is 38. Rhythm-and-blues singer Darryl Allen (Mista) is 37. Actor Matt Long is 37. Actor Allen Leech is 36. Christian-rock musician Kevin Huguley (Rush of Fools) is 35. Christian singer Francesca Battistelli is 32. Actor Spencer Breslin is 25. Actress Hala Finley (TV: “Man With a Plan”) is 8.

Thought for Today: “The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.” — Fred Astaire, American dancer-actor (1899-1987).

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