Today in History
Today is Tuesday, May 9, the 129th day of 2017. There are 236 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 9, 1754, a political cartoon in Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette depicted a snake cut into eight pieces, each section representing a part of the American colonies; the caption read, “JOIN, or DIE.”
On this date:
In 1814, the Jane Austen novel “Mansfield Park” was first published in London.
In 1864, Union Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick was killed by a Confederate sniper during the Civil War Battle of Spotsylvania in Virginia.
In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson, acting on a joint congressional resolution, signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
In 1926, Americans Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett supposedly became the first men to fly over the North Pole. (However, U.S. scholars announced in 1996 that their examination of Byrd’s flight diary suggested he had turned back 150 miles short of his goal.)
In 1936, Italy annexed Ethiopia.
In 1945, with World War II in Europe at an end, Soviet forces liberated Czechoslovakia from Nazi occupation. U.S. officials announced that a midnight entertainment curfew was being lifted immediately.
In 1951, the U.S. conducted its first thermonuclear experiment as part of Operation Greenhouse by detonating a 225-kiloton device on Enewetak Atoll in the Pacific nicknamed “George.”
In 1961, in a speech to the National Association of Broadcasters, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton N. Minow decried the majority of television programming as a “vast wasteland.”
In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee opened public hearings on whether to recommend the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. (The committee ended up adopting three articles of impeachment against the president, who resigned before the full House took up any of them.)
In 1980, 35 people were killed when a freighter rammed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay in Florida, causing a 1,400-foot section of the southbound span to collapse.
In 1987, 183 people were killed when a New York-bound Polish jetliner crashed while attempting an emergency return to Warsaw.
In 1994, South Africa’s newly elected parliament chose Nelson Mandela to be the country’s first black president.
Ten years ago: Vice President Dick Cheney pressed Iraq’s leaders to do more to reduce violence and achieve political reconciliation during a trip to Baghdad that was punctuated by an explosion that shook windows at the U.S. Embassy where Cheney was visiting. Pope Benedict XVI began his first papal trip to Latin America as he arrived in Brazil.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama declared his unequivocal support for same-sex marriage in a historic announcement that came three days after Vice President Joe Biden spoke in favor of such unions on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney repeated his opposition to gay marriage, telling reporters in Oklahoma City, “I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.” Hair stylist Vidal Sassoon, 84, died in Los Angeles.
One year ago: Filipinos went to the polls to elect Rodrigo Duterte, the controversial, tough-talking mayor of Davao city, to be their country’s next president.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor-writer Alan Bennett is 83. Rock musician Nokie Edwards (The Ventures) is 82. Actor Albert Finney is 81. Actress-turned-politician Glenda Jackson is 81. Producer-director James L. Brooks is 80. Musician Sonny Curtis (Buddy Holly and the Crickets) is 80. Singer Tommy Roe is 75. Singer-musician Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield and Poco) is 73. Actress Candice Bergen is 71. Pop singer Clint Holmes is 71. Actor Anthony Higgins is 70. Singer Billy Joel is 68. Blues singer-musician Bob Margolin is 68. Rock singer-musician Tom Petersson (Cheap Trick) is 67. Actress Alley Mills is 66. Actress Amy Hill is 64. Actress Wendy Crewson is 61. Actor John Corbett is 56. Singer Dave Gahan (GAHN) (Depeche Mode) is 55. Actress Sonja Sohn is 53. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is 49. Rapper Ghostface Killah is 47. Country musician Mike Myerson (Heartland) is 46. Actor Chris Diamantopoulos (dy-uh-MAN’-toh-POO’-lehs) is 42. Rhythm-and-blues singer Tamia (tuh-MEE’-ah) is 42. Rock musician Dan Regan (Reel Big Fish) is 40. Actor Daniel Franzese is 39. Rock singer Pierre Bouvier (Simple Plan) is 38. Actress Rosario Dawson is 38. Rock singer Andrew W.K. is 38. Figure skater Angela Nikodinov is 37. Actress Rachel Boston is 35. TV personality Audrina Patridge is 32. Actress Grace Gummer is 31.
Thought for Today: “There is nothing to fear except the persistent refusal to find out the truth, the persistent refusal to analyze the causes of happenings.” — Dorothy Thompson, American journalist and author (1894-1961).
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