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Today in History: May 9, Mandela chosen to lead South Africa

May 8, 2022, 9:00 PM | Updated: 9:32 pm

Today in History

Today is Monday, May 9, the 129th day of 2022. There are 236 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 9, 1994, South Africa’s newly elected parliament chose Nelson Mandela to be the country’s first Black president.

On this date:

In 1860, writer J.M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, was born in Kirriemuir, Scotland.

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 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 1962, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology succeeded in reflecting a laser beam off the surface of the moon.

In 1965, Russian-born American pianist Vladimir Horowitz performed publicly for the first time in 12 years with a recital at Carnegie Hall in New York.

In 1970, President Richard Nixon made a surprise and impromptu pre-dawn visit to the Lincoln Memorial, where he chatted with a group of protesters who’d been resting on the Memorial steps after protests against the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings.

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 2016, Filipinos went to the polls to elect Rodrigo Duterte, the controversial, tough-talking mayor of Davao city, to be their country’s next president.

In 2019, Pope Francis issued a groundbreaking new church law requiring all Catholic priests and nuns to report clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups by their superiors to church authorities.

In 2020, the Food and Drug Administration approved a coronavirus antigen test that could quickly detect virus proteins from swabs that were swiped inside the naval cavity. Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Little Richard, known for his piercing wail, pounding piano and towering pompadour, died in Tennessee at the age of 87 after battling bone cancer; he had helped shatter the color line on the music charts while introducing Black R&B to white America.

Ten 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.

Five years ago: President Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey, ousting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the midst of an FBI investigation into whether Trump’s campaign had ties to Russia’s meddling in the election that sent him to the White House.

One year ago: The Biden administration loosened regulations on the transport of petroleum products on highways, as part of an effort to avoid disruptions in the fuel supply in the wake of a ransomware attack that shut down a major fuel pipeline system across the East Coast. Joyous reunions among vaccinated parents and children across the country marked Mother’s Day, the second one to be celebrated during the coronavirus pandemic. A man fatally shot six people at a Colorado birthday party before killing himself; police said he was upset after not being invited to the gathering thrown by his girlfriend’s family. Trainer Bob Baffert announced that Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit had tested positive for an excessive amount of a steroid. (State racing stewards disqualified Medina Spirit in February 2022, ten weeks after the horse’s death from a heart attack; they declared second-place finisher Mandaloun the Derby winner.)

Today’s Birthdays: Actor-writer Alan Bennett is 88. Actor and politician Glenda Jackson is 86. Producer-director James L. Brooks is 85. Musician Sonny Curtis (Buddy Holly and the Crickets) is 85. Singer Tommy Roe is 80. Singer-musician Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield and Poco) is 78. Actor Candice Bergen is 76. Pop singer Clint Holmes is 76. Actor Anthony Higgins is 75. Singer Billy Joel is 73. Blues singer-musician Bob Margolin is 73. Rock singer-musician Tom Petersson (Cheap Trick) is 72. Actor Alley Mills is 71. Actor Amy Hill is 69. Actor Wendy Crewson is 66. Actor John Corbett is 61. Singer Dave Gahan (GAHN) (Depeche Mode) is 60. Actor Sonja Sohn is 58. Rapper Ghostface Killah is 52. Actor Chris Diamantopoulos (dy-uh-MAN’-toh-POO’-lehs) is 47. R&B singer Tamia (tuh-MEE’-ah) is 47. Actor Daniel Franzese is 44. Rock singer Pierre Bouvier (Simple Plan) is 43. Actor Rosario Dawson is 43. Rock singer Andrew W.K. is 43. Actor Rachel Boston is 40. TV personality Audrina Patridge is 37. Actor Grace Gummer is 36.

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Today in History: May 9, Mandela chosen to lead South Africa