Today in History

Today is Tuesday, May 4, the 124th day of 2021. There are 241 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 4, 1961, the first group of “Freedom Riders” left Washington, D.C. to challenge racial segregation on interstate buses and in bus terminals.

On this date:

In 1626, Dutch explorer Peter Minuit landed on present-day Manhattan Island.

In 1776, Rhode Island declared its freedom from England, two months before the Declaration of Independence was adopted.

In 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago, a labor demonstration for an 8-hour work day turned into a deadly riot when a bomb exploded.

In 1932, mobster Al Capone, convicted of income-tax evasion, entered the federal penitentiary in Atlanta. (Capone was later transferred to Alcatraz Island.)

In 1942, the Battle of the Coral Sea, the first naval clash fought entirely with carrier aircraft, began in the Pacific during World War II. (The outcome was considered a tactical victory for Japan, but ultimately a strategic one for the Allies.)

In 1945, during World War II, German forces in the Netherlands, Denmark and northwest Germany agreed to surrender.

In 1959, the first Grammy Awards ceremony was held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Domenico Modugno won Record of the Year and Song of the Year for “Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)”; Henry Mancini won Album of the Year for “The Music from Peter Gunn.”

In 1968, the Oroville Dam in Northern California was dedicated by Gov. Ronald Reagan; the 770-foot-tall earth-filled structure, a pet project of Reagan’s predecessor, Pat Brown, remains the tallest dam in the United States, but was also the scene of a near disaster in February 2017 when two spillways collapsed, threatening for a time to flood parts of three counties in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

In 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire during an anti-war protest at Kent State University, killing four students and wounding nine others.

In 1998, Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski (kah-ZIHN’-skee) was given four life sentences plus 30 years by a federal judge in Sacramento, California, under a plea agreement that spared him the death penalty.

In 2006, a federal judge sentenced Zacarias Moussaoui (zak-uh-REE’-uhs moo-SOW’-ee) to life in prison for his role in the 9/11 attacks, telling the convicted terrorist, “You will die with a whimper.”

In 2010, a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen was charged with terrorism and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction in the botched Times Square bombing. (Faisal Shahzad (FY’-sul shah-ZAHD’) later pleaded guilty to plotting to set off the propane-and-gasoline bomb in an SUV and was sentenced to life in prison.)

Ten years ago: President Barack Obama said he had decided not to release death photos of Osama bin Laden because their graphic nature could incite violence and create national security risks. Officials told The Associated Press that the Navy SEALs who’d stormed bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan shot and killed him after they saw him appear to lunge for a weapon. Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin was named the Rookie of the Year, becoming the NBA’s first unanimous choice for the award in 21 years.

Five years ago: The last man standing in Donald Trump’s path to the Republican presidential nomination, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sihk), ended his campaign. Sipping filtered city water to show it was again drinkable, President Barack Obama promised to ride herd on leaders at all levels of government until every drop of water flowing into homes in Flint, Michigan, was safe to use.

One year ago: New York state reported more than 1,700 previously undisclosed coronavirus deaths at nursing homes and adult care facilities. The Supreme Court heard arguments by phone and allowed the world to listen in live for the first time. The U.S. Senate convened for the first time since March. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, one of the first governors to impose a statewide stay-at-home order, announced that some businesses could reopen by week’s end. Struggling fashion brand J.Crew became the first major retailer to file for bankruptcy protection since the start of the pandemic. Former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula died at 90; he’d won more games than any other NFL coach. Colson Whitehead won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for “The Nickel Boys,” about a brutal Florida reform school during the Jim Crow era; it was his second consecutive Pulitzer-winning novel, following “The Underground Railroad.”

Today’s Birthdays: Katherine Jackson, matriarch of the Jackson musical family, is 91. Jazz musician Ron Carter is 84. Pulitzer Prize-winning political commentator George Will is 80. Pop singer Peggy Santiglia Davison (The Angels) is 77. Actor Richard Jenkins is 74. Country singer Stella Parton is 72. Actor-turned-clergyman Hilly Hicks is 71. Irish musician Darryl Hunt (The Pogues) is 71. Singer Jackie Jackson (The Jacksons) is 70. Singer-actor Pia Zadora is 69. Rhythm-and-blues singer Oleta Adams is 68. Violinist Soozie Tyrell (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band) is 64. Country singer Randy Travis is 62. Actor Mary McDonough is 60. Comedian Ana Gasteyer is 54. Actor Will Arnett is 51. Rock musician Mike Dirnt (Green Day) is 49. Contemporary Christian singer Chris Tomlin is 49. TV personality and fashion designer Kimora Lee Simmons is 46. Sports reporter Erin Andrews is 43. Singer Lance Bass (‘N Sync) is 42. Actor Ruth Negga is 40. Rapper/singer Jidenna is 36. Actor Alexander Gould is 27. Country singer RaeLynn is 27. Actor Amara (uh-MAH’-ruh) Miller is 21. Actor Brooklynn Prince (Film: “The Florida Project”) is 11.

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