THIS MONTH IN HISTORY: MAY

May 1st – Observed as May Day, a holiday and spring festival since ancient times, also observed in socialist countries as a workers’ holiday or Labor Day.

May 1, 1707 – Great Britain was formed from a union between England and Scotland. The union included Wales which had already been part of England since the 1500’s. The United Kingdom today consists of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

May 1, 1960 – An American U-2 spy plane flying at 60,000 feet was shot down over Sverdlovsk in central Russia on the eve of a summit meeting between President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet Russia’s Premier Nikita Khrushchev. The sensational incident caused a cancellation of the meeting and heightened existing Cold War tensions. The pilot, CIA agent Francis Gary Powers, survived the crash, and was tried, convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Russian court. Two years later he was released to America in exchange for an imprisoned Soviet spy. On his return to America, Powers encountered a hostile public which apparently believed he should not have allowed himself to be captured alive. He died in a helicopter crash in 1977.

May 1, 2004 – Eight former Communist nations and two Mediterranean countries joined the European Union (EU) marking its largest-ever expansion. The new members included Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, along with the island of Malta and the Greek portion of the island of Cyprus. They joined 15 countries already in the EU, representing in all 450 million persons.

Birthday – Irish-born American labor leader Mary ‘Mother’ Jones (1830-1930) was born in County Cork, Ireland. She endured misfortune early in life as her husband and four children died in the yellow fever epidemic of 1867. She also lost all her belongings in the Chicago Fire of 1871. She then devoted herself to organizing and advancing the cause of Labor, using the slogan, “Join the Union, boys.” She also sought to prohibit child labor. She remained active until the very end, giving her last speech on her 100th birthday.

Birthday – World War II General Mark Clark (1896-1984) was born in Madison Barracks, New York. He commanded the U.S. Fifth Army which invaded Italy in September of 1943, fighting a long and brutal campaign against stubborn German opposition.

Birthday – African American Olympic athlete Archie Williams (1915-1993) was born in Oakland, California. Williams, along with Jesse Owens, defeated German athletes at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and helped debunk Adolf Hitler’s theory of Aryan racial superiority. Williams won a gold medal in the 400-meter race. After the Olympics, he went on to earn a mechanical engineering degree from the University of California-Berkeley but faced discrimination and wound up digging ditches. He later became an airplane pilot and trained Tuskegee Institute pilots including the Black Air Corp of World War II.

May 2, 2011 – U.S. Special Operations Forces killed Osama bin Laden during a raid on his secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The raid marked the culmination of a decade-long manhunt for the elusive leader of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization based in the Middle East. Bin Laden had ordered the coordinated aerial attacks of September 11th, 2001, in which four American passenger jets were hijacked then crashed, killing nearly 3,000 persons. Two jets had struck and subsequently collapsed the 110-story Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, while another struck the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C. A fourth jet also headed toward Washington had crashed into a field in Pennsylvania as passengers attempted to overpower the hijackers on board.

Birthday – Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903) was born in Carpino, Italy (as Gioacchino Pecci). He was elected Pope in 1878 at age 67 and lived to govern the church another 25 years, laying the foundation for modernization of Church attitudes toward a rapidly industrializing and changing world.

May 3

Birthday – Italian writer and statesman Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was born in Florence, Italy. He offered a blunt, realistic view of human nature and power in his works The Prince and Discourses on Livy.

Birthday – Golda Meir (1898-1978) was born in Kiev, Russia. She was one of the founders of the modern state of Israel and served as prime minister from 1969 to 1974.

May 4, 1494 – During his second journey of exploration in the New World, Christopher Columbus discovered Jamaica.

May 4, 1886 – The Haymarket Square Riot occurred in Chicago after 180 police officers advanced on 1,300 persons gathered in the square listening to speeches of labor activists and anarchists. A bomb was thrown. Seven policemen were killed and over 50 wounded. Four anarchists were then charged with conspiracy to kill, convicted and hanged while another committed suicide in jail. Three others were given lengthy jail terms.

May 4, 1970 – At Kent State University, four students – Allison Krause, 19; Sandra Lee Scheuer, 20; Jeffrey Glenn Miller, 20; and William K. Schroeder, 19 – were killed by National Guardsmen who opened fire on a crowd of 1,000 students protesting President Richard Nixon’s decision to invade Cambodia. Eleven others were wounded. The shootings set off tumultuous campus demonstrations across America resulting in the temporary closing of over 450 colleges and universities.

May 5th – Celebrated in Mexico as Cinco de Mayo, a national holiday in remembrance of the Battle of Puebla in 1862, in which Mexican troops under General Ignacio Zaragoza, outnumbered three to one, defeated the invading French forces of Napoleon III.

May 5, 1865 – Decoration Day was first observed in the U.S., with the tradition of decorating soldiers’ graves from the Civil War with flowers. The observance date was later moved to May 30th and included American graves from World War I and World War II and became better known as Memorial Day. In 1971, Congress moved Memorial Day to the last Monday in May, thus creating a three-day holiday weekend.

May 5, 1893 – The Wall Street Crash of 1893 began as stock prices fell dramatically. By the end of the year, 600 banks closed, and several big railroads were in receivership. Another 15,000 businesses went bankrupt amid 20 percent unemployment. It was the worst economic crisis in U.S. history up to that time.

May 5, 1961 – Alan Shepard became the first American in space. He piloted the spacecraft Freedom 7 during a 15-minute 28-second suborbital flight that reached an altitude of 116 miles (186 kilometers) above the earth. Shepard’s success occurred 23 days after the Russians had launched the first-ever human in space, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, during an era of intense technological competition between the Russians and Americans called the Space Race.

Birthday – Communism founder Karl Marx (1818-1883) was born in Treves, Germany. He co-authored Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto, advocating the abolition of all private property and a system in which workers own all the means of production, land, factories and machinery.

Birthday – Pioneering American journalist Nellie Bly (1867-1922) was born in Cochran’s Mills, Pennsylvania (as Elizabeth Cochrane). She was a social reformer and human rights advocate who once posed as an inmate in an insane asylum to expose inhumane conditions. She is best known for her 1889-90 tour around the world in 72 days, beating by eight days the time of Phileas Fogg, fictional hero of Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in Eighty Days.

May 6, 1527 – The Renaissance ended with the Sack of Rome by German troops as part of an ongoing conflict between the Hapsburg Empire and the French Monarchy. German troops killed over 4,000 Romans, imprisoned the Pope, and looted works of art and libraries. An entire year passed before order could be restored in Rome.

May 6, 1937 – The German airship Hindenburg burst into flames at 7:20 p.m. as it neared the mooring mast at Lakehurst, New Jersey, following a trans-Atlantic voyage. Thirty six of the 97 passengers and crew were killed. The inferno was caught on film and witnessed by a commentator who broke down amid the emotional impact and exclaimed, “Oh, the humanity!” The accident effectively ended commercial airship traffic.

Birthday – Psychoanalysis founder Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was born in Freiberg, Moravia. His theories became the foundation for treating psychiatric disorders by psychoanalysis and offered some of the first workable cures for mental disorders.

Birthday – Explorer Robert E. Peary (1856-1920) was born in Cresson, Pennsylvania. He organized and led eight Arctic expeditions and reached the North Pole on April 6, 1909. In another expedition, he proved Greenland is an island. He also proved the polar ice cap extends beyond 82° north latitude and discovered the Melville meteorite.

May 7, 1915 – The British passenger ship Lusitania was torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland, losing 1,198 of its 1,924 passengers, including 114 Americans. The attack hastened neutral America’s entry into World War I.

May 7, 1945 – In a small red brick schoolhouse in Reims, Germany, General Alfred Jodl signed the unconditional surrender of all German fighting forces thus ending World War II in Europe. Russian, American, British and French ranking officers observed the signing of the document which became effective at one-minute past midnight on May 9th. Jodl was then ushered in to see Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who curtly asked Jodl if he fully understood the document. Eisenhower then informed Jodl that he would be held personally responsible for any deviation from the terms of the surrender. Jodl was then ushered away.

May 7, 1954 – The French Indochina War ended with the fall of Dien Bien Phu, in a stunning victory by the Vietnamese over French colonial forces in northern Vietnam. The country was then in divided in half at the 17th parallel, with South Vietnam created in 1955.

May 7, 1992 – The 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, prohibiting Congress from giving itself pay raises.

Birthday – Composer Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was born in Hamburg, Germany. He composed over 300 songs and numerous orchestral, choral, piano, and chamber works, including his German Requiem commemorating the death of his mother.

Birthday – American poet Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982) was born in Glencoe, Illinois. He was awarded three Pulitzer Prizes, and was also a playwright, editor, lawyer, professor, farmer, and served as Librarian of Congress from 1939 to 1944.

May 8, 1942 – During World War II in the Pacific, the Battle of the Coral Sea began in which Japan would suffer its first defeat of the war. The battle, fought off New Guinea, marked the first time in history that two opposing naval forces fought by only using aircraft without the opposing ships ever sighting each other.

May 8, 1945 – A second German surrender ceremony was held in Berlin. Soviet Russia’s leader Josef Stalin had refused to recognize the German surrender document signed a day earlier at Reims. This time, German Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel signed the surrender document which declared, as did the first, that hostilities would end as of 12:01 a.m. on May 9th.

Birthday – International Red Cross founder and Nobel Prize winner Henri Dunant (1828-1910) was born in Geneva, Switzerland. He was also a founder of the YMCA and organized the Geneva Conventions of 1863 and 1864.

Birthday – Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) the 33rd U.S. President was born in Lamar, Missouri. He became president upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in April 1945. Two weeks after becoming president he was informed of the top-secret Atomic bomb project. In the war against Japan, an Allied invasion of Japan was being planned which would cost a minimum of 250,000 American lives. Truman then authorized the dropping of the bomb. On August 6, 1945, the first bomb exploded over Hiroshima, followed by a second bomb dropped on Nagasaki on August 9th. The next day, Japan sued for peace. Truman served as President until January of 1953. He was the last of only nine U.S. Presidents who did not attend college. His straightforward, honest, no-nonsense style earned him the nickname, “Give ’em hell, Harry.”

May 9th – Victory Day in Russia, a national holiday commemorating the defeat of Nazi Germany during the “Great Patriotic War” (World War II) honoring the 20 million Russians who died in the war.

May 9, 1862 – During the American Civil War, General David Hunter, Union commander of the Department of the South, issued orders freeing the slaves in South Carolina, Florida and Georgia. He did so without congressional or presidential approval. The orders were countermanded by President Abraham Lincoln ten days later.

Birthday – Abolitionist leader John Brown (1800-1859) was born in Torrington, Connecticut. He led an attack on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry in October of 1859, to secure weapons for his “army of emancipation” to liberate slaves. Inside the arsenal, Brown and his followers held 60 hostages and managed to hold out against the local militia but finally surrendered to U.S. Marines under the command of Colonel Robert E. Lee. Ten of Brown’s men, including two of his sons, were killed. Brown was taken prisoner. He was convicted by the Commonwealth of Virginia of treason, murder, and inciting slaves to rebellion, and hanged on December 2, 1859.

May 10, 1869 – The newly constructed tracks of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railways were first linked at Promontory Point, Utah. A golden spike was driven by Leland Stanford, president of the Central Pacific, to celebrate the linkage. It is said that he missed the spike on his first swing which brought roars of laughter from men who had driven thousands upon thousands of spikes themselves.

May 10, 1889 – A riot erupted outside the Astor Place Opera House in New York as British actor William Charles Macready performed inside. Angry crowds revolted against dress requirements for admission and against Macready’s public statements on the vulgarity of American life. The mob then shattered theater windows. Troops were called out and ordered to fire, killing 22 and wounding 26.

May 10, 1994 – Former political prisoner Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as president of South Africa. Mandela had won the first free election in South Africa despite attempts by various political foes to deter the outcome.

May 11, 1862 – To prevent its capture by Union forces advancing in Virginia, the Confederate Ironclad Merrimac was destroyed by the Confederate Navy. In March, the Merrimac had fought the Union Ironclad Monitor to a draw. Naval warfare was thus changed forever, making wooden ships obsolete.

May 11, 1969 – During the Vietnam War, the Battle of “Hamburger Hill” began. While attempting to seize the Dong Ap Bia Mountain, U.S. troops repeatedly scaled the hill over a 10-day period and engaged in bloody hand-to-hand combat with the North Vietnamese. After finally securing the objective, American military staff decided to abandon the position, which the North Vietnamese retook shortly thereafter. The battle highlighted the futility of the overall American military strategy.

Birthday – Songwriter Irving Berlin (1888-1989) was born (as Israel Isidore Baline) in Tyumen, Russia. At the age of four, Berlin moved with his family to New York City and later began singing in saloons and on street corners to help his family following the death of his father. Although he could not read or write musical notation, he became one of America’s greatest songwriters, best known for songs such as God Bless America, White Christmas, There’s No Business-Like Show Business, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Puttin’ On the Ritz, and Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning.

Birthday – Modern dance pioneer Martha Graham (1893-1991) was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her dance career at age 22 in the Greenwich Village Follies. She later incorporated primal emotions and ancient rituals in her works, bringing a new psychological depth to modern dance. In a career spanning 70 years, she created 180 dance works. She performed until the age of 75.

May 12, 1937 – George VI was crowned at Westminster Abbey in London, following the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII. King George reigned until his death in 1952. He was succeeded by his daughter Elizabeth, the current reigning monarch.

May 12, 1949 – Soviet Russia lifted its blockade of Berlin. The blockade began on June 24, 1948 and resulted in the Berlin airlift. For 462 days – from June 26, 1948, until September 30, 1949, American and British planes flew about 278,000 flights, delivering 2.3 million tons of food, coal and medical supplies to two million isolated West Berliners. A plane landed in Berlin every minute from 11 Allied staging areas in West Germany. The planes were nicknamed ”candy bombers” after pilots began tossing sweets to children. They also flew out millions of dollars’ worth of products manufactured in West Berlin.

Birthday – British nurse and public health activist Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) was born in Florence, Italy. She volunteered to aid British troops in Turkey where she improved hospital sanitary conditions and greatly reduced the death rate for wounded and sick soldiers. She received worldwide acclaim for her unselfish devotion to nursing, contributed to the development of modern nursing procedures, and emphasized the dignity of nursing as a profession for women.

May 13, 1846 – At the request of President James K. Polk, Congress declared war on Mexico. The controversial struggle eventually cost the lives of 11,300 U.S. soldiers and resulted in the annexation of lands that became parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and Colorado. The war ended in 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

May 13, 1943 – During World War II in North Africa, over 250,000 Germans and Italians surrendered in the last few days of the Tunis campaign. British General Harold Alexander then telegraphed news of the victory to Winston Churchill, who was in Washington attending a war conference. The victory re-opened Allied shipping lanes in the Mediterranean.

May 13, 1981 – Pope John Paul II was shot twice at close range while riding in an open automobile in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. Two other persons were also wounded. An escaped terrorist, already under sentence of death for the murder of a Turkish journalist, was immediately arrested and was later convicted of attempted murder. The Pope recovered and later held a private meeting with the would-be assassin and then publicly forgave him.

May 14, 1607 – The first permanent English settlement in America was established at Jamestown, Virginia, by a group of royally chartered Virginia Company settlers from Plymouth, England.

May 14, 1804 – Meriwether Lewis and William Clark departed St. Louis on their expedition to explore the Northwest. They arrived at the Pacific coast of Oregon in November of 1805 and returned to St. Louis in September of 1806, completing a journey of about 6,000 miles.

May 14, 1796 – Smallpox vaccine was developed by Dr. Edward Jenner, a physician in rural England. He coined the term vaccination for the new procedure of injecting a milder form of the disease into healthy persons resulting in immunity. Within 18 months, 12,000 persons in England had been vaccinated and the number of smallpox deaths dropped by two-thirds.

May 14, 1942 – During World War II, an Act of Congress allowed women to enlist for noncombat duties in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC), the Women Appointed for Voluntary Emergency Service (WAVES), Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS), and Semper Paratus Always Ready Service (SPARS), the Women’s Reserve of the Marine Corp.

Birthday – German physicist Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686-1736) was born in Danzig, Germany. He introduced the use of mercury in thermometers and greatly improved their accuracy. His name is now attached to one of the major temperature measurement scales.

Birthday – British landscape and portrait painter Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) was born in Sudbury, Suffolk, England. Among his best-known works: The Blue Boy, The Watering Place and The Market Cart.

May 15, 1972 – George Wallace was shot while campaigning for the presidency in Laurel, Maryland. As a result, Wallace was permanently paralyzed from the waist down.

May 16, 1862 – During the American Civil War, Union General Benjamin Butler, military governor of New Orleans, issued his “Woman Order” declaring that any Southern woman showing disrespect for Union soldiers or the U.S. would be regarded as a woman of the town, or prostitute. This and other controversial acts by Butler set the stage for his dismissal as military governor in December 1862.

May 17, 1792 – Two dozen merchants and brokers established the New York Stock Exchange. In good weather they operated under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street. In bad weather they moved inside to a coffeehouse to conduct business.

May 17, 1875 – The first Kentucky Derby horse race took place at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

May 17, 1954 – In Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that segregation of public schools “solely based on race” denies black children “equal educational opportunity” even though “physical facilities and other ‘tangible’ factors may have been equal. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” Thurgood Marshall had argued the case before the Court. He went to become the first African American appointed to the Supreme Court.

May 18, 1804 – Napoleon Bonaparte became Emperor of France, snatching the crown from the hands of Pope Pius VII during the actual coronation ceremony, and then crowning himself.

May 18, 1980 – Mount St. Helens volcano erupted in southwestern Washington State spewing steam and ash over 11 miles into the sky. This was the first major eruption since 1857.

May 18, 1998 – In one of the biggest antitrust lawsuits of the 20th century, American software giant Microsoft Corporation was sued by the U.S. Federal government and 20 state governments charging the company with using unfair tactics to crush competition and restrict choices for consumers. The lawsuits alleged Microsoft used illegal practices to deny personal computer owners the benefits of a free and competitive market and alleged Microsoft extended its monopoly on operating systems to “develop a chokehold” on the Internet browser software market.

Birthday – Hollywood director Frank Capra (1897-1991) was born in Palermo, Sicily. His quintessential American films were affectionate portrayals of the common man and examined the strengths and foibles of American democracy. Best known for It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), It Happened One Night (1934) and You Can’t Take It with You (1938).

Birthday – Pope John Paul II (1920-2005) was born (as Karol Wojtyla) in Wadowice, Poland. In 1978, he became 264th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, the first non-Italian elected in 456 years and the first Polish Pope.

May 19, 1943 – During World War II in Europe, Royal Air Force bombers successfully attacked dams in the German Ruhr Valley using innovative ball-shaped bouncing bombs that skipped along the water and exploded against the dams. The dams had provided drinking water for 4 million persons and supplied 75% of the electrical power for industry in the area.

Birthday – Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969) was born in the central Vietnamese village of Kim Lien (as Nguyen That Thanh). In 1930, he organized the Indo-Chinese Communist party and later adopted the name Ho Chi Minh, meaning “he who enlightens.” In 1945, he proclaimed the independence of Vietnam and served as president of North Vietnam from 1945 to 1969. He led the longest and most costly war during the 20th Century against the French and later the Americans. On April 29, 1975, six years after his death, the last Americans left South Vietnam. The next day the city of Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City.

Birthday – Black nationalist and civil rights activist Malcolm X (1925-1965) was born in Omaha, Nebraska (as Malcolm Little). While in prison he adopted the Islamic religion and after his release in 1952, changed his name to Malcolm X and worked for the Nation of Islam. He later made a pilgrimage to Mecca and became an orthodox Muslim. He was assassinated while addressing a meeting in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem on February 21, 1965.

Birthday – African American playwright Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) was born in Chicago, Illinois. She is best known for A Raisin in the Sun (1959) a play dealing with prejudice and black pride. The play was the first stage production written by a black woman to appear on Broadway. She died of cancer at the age of 34. A book of her writings entitled To Be Young, Gifted, and Black was published posthumously.

May 20, 325 A.D. – The Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical council of Catholic Church was called by Constantine I, first Christian Emperor of the Roman Empire. With nearly 300 bishops in attendance at Nicaea in Asia Minor, the council condemned Arianism which denied Christ’s divinity, formulated the Nicene Creed and fixed the date of Easter.

May 20, 1862 – President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act opening millions of acres of government owned land in the West to “homesteaders” who could acquire up to 160 acres by living on the land and cultivating it for five years, paying just $1.25 per acre.

May 20, 1927 – Charles Lindbergh, a 25-year-old aviator, took off at 7:52 a.m. from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, in the Spirit of St. Louis attempting to win a $25,000 prize for the first solo nonstop flight between New York City and Paris. Thirty-three hours later, after a 3,600-mile journey, he landed at Le Bourget, Paris, earning the nickname “Lucky Lindy” and becoming an instant worldwide hero.

May 20, 1932 – Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. She departed Newfoundland, Canada, at 7 p.m. and landed near Londonderry, Ireland, completing a 2,026-mile flight in about 13 hours. Five years later, along with her navigator Fred Noonan, she disappeared while trying to fly her twin-engine plane around the equator.

Birthday – Founder of modern Zionism Theodore Herzl (1860-1904) was born in Budapest, Hungary. He advocated the establishment of a new land for the Jews rather than assimilation into various, historically anti-Semitic, countries and cultures.

May 21, 1881 – The American Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton. The organization today provides volunteer disaster relief in the U.S. and abroad. Community services include collecting and distributing donated blood and teaching health and safety classes.

May 21, 1991 – Former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated during a re-election campaign, killed by a bomb hidden in a bouquet of flowers. He had served as prime minister from 1984 to 1989, succeeding his mother, Indira Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1984.

Birthday – Russian physicist and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989) was born in Moscow. Although he helped construct the first atomic and hydrogen bombs for Soviet Russia, he later denounced the Soviet government and was exiled from 1980 to 1986. He was instrumental in formulating the political reform concept called perestroika and in encouraging glasnost (openness) in restrictive communist countries.

May 22, 1972 – President Richard Nixon became the first American president to visit Moscow. Four days later, Nixon and Soviet Russia’s leader Leonid Brezhnev signed a pact pledging to freeze nuclear arsenals at current levels.

May 22, 1947 – Congress approved the Truman Doctrine, assuring U.S. support for Greece and Turkey to prevent the spread of Communism.

Birthday – German composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883) was born in Leipzig, Germany. He made revolutionary changes in the structure of opera and is best known for The Ring of the Nibelung, a series of operas based on old German myths which include: Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Siegfried, and Gõtterdammerung.

Birthday – Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was born at Edinburgh, Scotland. He was also deeply interested in and lectured on spiritualism.

Birthday – Laurence Olivier (1907-1989) was born in Dorking, England. Considered one of the most influential actors of the 20th Century, he was honored with nine Academy Award nominations, three Oscars, five Emmy awards, and a host of other awards. His repertoire included most of the major Shakespearean roles, and films such as The Entertainer, Rebecca, Pride and Prejudice, The Boys from Brazil, Marathon Man and Wuthering Heights. He was knighted in 1947 and made a peer of the throne in 1970.

May 23

Birthday – Journalist Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) was born in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts. She became the first American woman to serve as a foreign correspondent, reporting for the New York Tribune. Her book Women in the Nineteenth Century, published in 1845, is considered the first feminist statement by an American writer, and brought her international acclaim. Sailing from Italy to the U.S. in 1850, she died, along with her husband and infant son, in a shipwreck off Fire Island, New York.

Birthday – The first American female attorney Arabella Mansfield (1846-1911) was born near Burlington, Iowa (as Belle Aurelia Babb). She was certified in 1869 as an attorney and admitted to the Iowa bar, but never practiced law. Instead she chose a career as a college educator and administrator. She was also instrumental in the founding of the Iowa Suffrage Society in 1870.

May 24, 1844 – Telegraph inventor Samuel Morse sent the first official telegraph message, “What hath God wrought?” from the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., to Baltimore.

May 24, 1881 – A boating disaster occurred in Canada when Victoria, a small, double-decked stern-wheeler carrying over 600 passengers on the Thames River keeled over then sank, killing 182 persons.

May 25, 1787 – The Constitutional Convention began in Philadelphia with delegates from seven states forming a quorum.

May 25, 1994 – After 20 years in exile, Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn returned to his homeland. He had been expelled from Soviet Russia in 1974 after his three-volume work exposing the Soviet prison camp system, The Gulag Archipelago, was published in the West.

Birthday – American author and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His works include: Nature (1836), Essays, First Series (1841), Essays, Second Series (1844), Poems (1847, 1865), Representative Men (1850), English Traits (1856), The Conduct of Life (1860), and Society and Solitude (1870).

May 26, 1940 – The Dunkirk evacuation began in order to save the British Expeditionary Force trapped by advancing German armies on the northern coast of France. Boats and vessels of all shapes and sizes ferried 200,000 British and 140,000 French and Belgian soldiers across the English Channel by June 2nd.

Birthday – Interpretive dancer Isadora Duncan (1878-1927) was born in San Francisco. She revolutionized the entire concept of dance by developing a free-form style and rebelled against tradition, performing barefoot in a loose-fitting tunic. She experienced worldwide acclaim as well as personal tragedy. Her two children drowned, her marriage failed, and she met a bizarre death in 1927 when a scarf she was wearing caught in the wheel of the open car in which she was riding, strangling her.

Birthday – Actor, singer Al Jolson (1886-1950) was born in St. Petersburg, Russia (as Asa Yoelson). One of the premier American vaudeville entertainers of his day, he appeared in the first motion picture with full sound, The Jazz Singer, in 1927.

May 27, 1937 – In San Francisco, 200,000 people celebrated the grand opening of the Golden Gate Bridge by strolling across it.

Birthday – Legendary Wild West figure Wild Bill Hickok (1837-1876) was born in Troy Grove, Illinois. He was a frontiersman, lawman, legendary marksman, army scout and gambler. On August 2, 1876, he was shot dead during a poker game by a drunk in the Number Ten saloon in Deadwood, in the Dakota Territory. In his hand he held a pair of eights and a pair of aces which became known as the ‘dead man’s hand.’

Birthday – American politician Hubert H. Humphrey (1911-1978) was born in Wallace, South Dakota. Humphrey was a mainstay of liberal Democratic politics, championed civil rights, and was considered by political friends and foes alike to be a truly decent man. He served as vice president under Lyndon Johnson. In 1968, Humphrey was the Democratic candidate for president, but lost to Republican Richard Nixon in a very close race.

May 28, 1961 – Amnesty International was founded by London lawyer Peter Berenson. He read about the arrest of a group of students in Portugal then launched a one-year campaign to free them called Appeal for Amnesty. Today Amnesty International has over a million members in 150 countries working to free prisoners of conscience, stop torture and the death penalty, and guarantee human rights for women.

Birthday – William Pitt the Younger (1759-1806) was born at Hayes, Kent, England. Following in his father’s footsteps, he became British prime minister at age 24 and served from 1783 to 1801 and again from 1804 to 1806. Pitt was influenced by Adam Smith’s economic theories and reduced Britain’s large national debt brought on by the American Revolution.

Birthday – All-around athlete Jim Thorpe (1888-1953) was born near Prague, Oklahoma. He won the pentathlon and decathlon events at the 1912 Olympic Games and played professional baseball and football.

May 29, 1453 – The city of Constantinople was captured by the Turks, who renamed it Istanbul. This marked the end of the Byzantine Empire as Istanbul became the capital of the Ottoman Empire.

May 29, 1660 – The English monarchy was restored with Charles II on the throne after several years of a Commonwealth under Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell.

May 29, 1787 – At the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia the Virginia Plan was proposed calling for a new government consisting of a legislature with two houses, an executive chosen by the legislature and a judicial branch.

May 29, 1865 – Following the American Civil War, President Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation granting general amnesty to Confederates. The amnesty excluded high ranking Confederates and large property owners, who had to apply individually to the President for a pardon. Following an oath of allegiance, all former property rights, except slaves, were returned to the former owners.

Birthday – American revolutionary leader Patrick Henry (1736-1799) was born in Studley, Virginia. He is best remembered for his speech in 1775 declaring: “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

Birthday – German historian Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) was born in Blankenburg-am-Harz, Germany. He authored the influential book The Decline of the West which argued that civilizations rise and fall in regular cycles.

Birthday – John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963) the 35th U.S. President was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was the youngest man ever elected to the presidency and the first Roman Catholic. He was assassinated in Dallas, November 22, 1963, the fourth President to killed by an assassin.

May 30, 1783 – The Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first daily newspaper published in America.


May 30, 1922 – The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., was dedicated. The Memorial was designed by architect Henry Bacon and features a compelling statue of “Seated Lincoln” by sculptor Daniel Chester French.

May 30, 1943 – During World War II in the Pacific, the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska were retaken by the U.S. 7th Infantry Division. The battle began on May 12 when an American force of 11,000 landed on Attu. In three weeks of fighting U.S. casualties numbered 552 killed and 1,140 wounded. Japanese killed numbered 2,352, with only 28 taken prisoner, as 500 chose suicide rather than be captured.

Birthday – Founder of the Russian empire Peter the Great (1672-1725) was born near Moscow. He vastly increased the power of the Russian monarchy and turned his backward country into a major power in the Western world. Among his accomplishments, he completely overhauled the government and the Greek Orthodox Church as well as the military system and tax structure. He built St. Petersburg, established printing presses and published translations of foreign books, modernized the calendar, simplified the Russian alphabet and introduced Arabic numerals. He died at age 52 and was succeeded by his wife Catherine.

May 31, 1862 – During the American Civil War, the Battle of Seven Pines occurred as Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army attacked Union General George McClellan’s troops in front of Richmond Virginia and nearly defeated them. Johnston was badly wounded. Confederate General Robert E. Lee then assumed command, replacing the wounded Johnston. Lee renamed his force the Army of Northern Virginia.

May 31, 1889 – Over 2,300 persons were killed in the Johnstown flood in Pennsylvania. Heavy rains throughout May caused the Connemaugh River Dam to burst sending a wall of water 75 feet high pouring down upon the city.

Birthday – American poet Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was born in Long Island, New York. His poem Leaves of Grass is considered an American classic. His poetry celebrated modern life and took on subjects considered taboo at the time.

http://www.historyplace.com

DAV Bluegrass Barbeque Picnic: May 11th

The Buffalo Disabled American Veterans Chapter 62 will be having a community event on the Greasy Creek General Store grounds, featuring great bar-b-que food, games, and various bluegrass/music groups throughout the day. It all begins at 8 am, with the food booth opening from 8 am to 10am for breakfast, and 11 am to 5 pm for dinner. Breakfast will be their famous Biscuits & Gravy, and the dinner menu includes BBQ Chicken and Smoked Pork Chops, with sides and all the fixings. Complete food menu with prices will be published soon.

The performing music groups will begin at 9 am, and run continuously during the day with short breaks in between groups setting up. The groups performing are The Leather Belt, Dry Creek Hollow, Flying Buzzards, Wild Wood Boys, and the Dread Noughts.
There will also be family games and activities set up for all ages to enjoy like horseshoes, croquet, volleyball, jump ropes, sack races, frisbee, water guns, tic tac toe, and other fun activities!
The Greasy Creek General Store, Blacksmith Shop, and Leather Shop Trading Post will be open as well, for you to browse around in between games or music.

Admission to the music & games grounds is $5.00 for 12 yrs and older, and children under 12 are free. Please bring your own lawn chairs with you.

It’s going to be a day the whole family can enjoy while supporting our local disabled veterans who gave so much, so be sure to mark your calendars for May 11th! You won’t want to miss it!

For more information, you can contact DAV officers, James (417-298-5678), or Richard (903-277-2786).

Mother’s Day Breakfast: May 4th

Our local DAV Chapter (Disabled American Veterans Buffalo, MO Chapter 62) will be setting up here at Greasy Creek inside the Holcomb Lodge on Saturday, May 4th, with their monthly Breakfast as a fundraiser for their chapter!

This month we are honoring our Mothers, so bring Mom out and treat her to a great breakfast anytime from 8 am until 12 noon on Saturday, May 4th! Can’t bring Mom with you? Come on out and enjoy the food and fellowship of others in our community!
They’ll be serving breakfast inside the Holcomb Lodge, across from the General Store. The General Store will be open as well as the Leather Shop Trading Post, and be sure to look for Josh in the Blacksmith Shop! It will be a fun time of fellowship while supporting our local Veterans! And honoring our Mothers!

~Breakfast Menu~
Single Biscuit & Gravy ~ $1.50
Single with Sausage ~ $2.50
Double Biscuit & Gravy ~ $2.50
Double with Sausage ~ $3.50
Pancakes ~ 75¢ each
Specialty Pancakes ~ $1.00 each
Sausage ~ 50¢ each
Coffee ~ Free

May Meeting/Installation of Officers

Tuesday May 14th (not the 7th) is our next Meeting night with Dinner at 6:00 pm, and Installation of New Officers at 7:00 pm.

Our special guest of this event will be our past State Commander Icilda Marley.

This should be a fun filled evening.

On the menu will be BBQ Chicken, Pork Chops, Potato Salad, Cole Slaw, Baked Beans and Fruit Salad.

Modern Woodmen of America Bless Our Deployed Troops

I am so happy to be a Modern Woodman of America youth leader. I am pleased to be able to help community groups make a difference in lives they touch like we were able to Tuesday night when we gave matching funds to the Support the Troops program that Unit 62 DAV has. Unit 62 DAV works hard to raise funds for sending deployed service members special packages of snacks, personal items, and joy. Our youth members were so happy to be able to help raise funds at the Units’ Spaghetti Dinner and auction on Valentines. Thank you Unit 62 for the support you show for our troops!

-Becky Schnapp

Evelyn “Granny” Painter (Americanism), Yvonne Piland (Commander) and Becky Schnapp (DAV Juniors and Modern Woodmen of America)

THIS MONTH IN HISTORY: APRIL

April 1, 1865 – During the American Civil War, Confederate troops of General George Pickett were defeated and cut off at Five Forks, Virginia. This sealed the fate of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s armies at Petersburg and Richmond and hastened the end of the war

April 1, 1998 – A federal judge in Little Rock, Arkansas, dismissed a sexual harassment case against President Bill Clinton, stating the case had no “genuine issues” worthy of trial. Although President Clinton had denied any wrongdoing, a unanimous ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in May 1997 allowed the case to proceed, thereby establishing a precedent allowing sitting presidents to be sued for personal conduct that allegedly occurred before taking office.

April 2, 1513 – Spanish explorer Ponce De Leon sighted Florida and claimed it for the Spanish Crown after landing at the site of present day St. Augustine, now the oldest city in the continental U.S.

April 2, 1792 – Congress established the first U.S. Mint at Philadelphia.

April 2, 1863 – A bread riot occurred in the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, as angry people demanded bread from a bakery wagon then wrecked nearby shops. The mob dispersed only after Confederate President Jefferson Davis made a personal plea and threatened to use force.

April 2, 1865 – General Robert E. Lee informed Confederate President Jefferson Davis that he must evacuate the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia. Davis and his cabinet then fled by train.

April 2, 1982 – The beginning of the Falkland Islands War as troops from Argentina invaded and occupied the British colony located near the tip of South America. The British retaliated and defeated the Argentineans on June 15, 1982, after ten weeks of combat, with about 1,000 lives lost.

Birthday – Fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was born in Odense, Denmark. He created 168 fairy tales for children including the classics The Princess and the Pea, The Snow Queen and The Nightingale.

Birthday – French writer Emile Zola (1840-1902) was born in Paris. His works included a series of 20 books known as the Rougon-Macquart Novels in which he defined men and women as products of heredity and environment, portraying them as victims of their own passions and circumstances of birth. In his later years, he became involved in resolving the Dreyfus affair, a political-military scandal in which Captain Alfred Dreyfus had been wrongly accused of selling military secrets to the Germans was sent to Devil’s Island.

April 3, 1860 – In the American West, the Pony Express service began as the first rider departed St. Joseph, Missouri. For $5 an ounce, letters were delivered 2,000 miles to California within ten days. The famed Pony Express riders each rode from 75 to 100 miles before handing the letters off to the next rider. A total of 190 way stations were located about 15 miles apart. The service lasted less than two years, ending upon the completion of the overland telegraph.

April 3, 1865 – The Confederate capital of Richmond surrendered to Union forces after the withdrawal of General Robert E. Lee’s troops.

April 3, 1944 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 that African Americans cannot be barred from voting in the Texas Democratic primaries. The Court stated that discrimination against blacks violates the 15th Amendment and that political parties are not private associations.

April 3, 1948 – President Harry S. Truman signed the European Recovery Program, better known as the Marshall Plan, intended to stop the spread of Communism and restore the economies of European countries devastated by World War II. Over four years, the program distributed $12 billion to the nations of Western Europe. The program was first proposed by Secretary of State George C. Marshall during a historic speech at Harvard University on June 5, 1947.

April 3, 1995 – Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman to preside over the Court, sitting in for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist who was out of town.

Birthday – American writer Washington Irving (1783-1859) was born in New York City. His works include; Rip Van Winkle, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and historical biographies such as the Life of Washington.

Birthday – Tammany Hall ‘Boss’ William M. Tweed (1823-1878) was born in New York City. From 1851 to 1871, his ‘Tweed Ring’ of political corruption looted millions from New York City, bringing the city to the verge of bankruptcy. Methods included padding city bills by 85 percent and writing checks to non-existent persons and companies. His power was broken after a series of critical editorial cartoons by Thomas Nast were published in Harper’s Weekly magazine. Tweed was arrested and convicted on charges of larceny and forgery. He died in prison.

April 4, 1887 – The first woman mayor was elected in the U.S. as Susanna M. Salter became mayor of Argonia, Kansas.

April 4, 1949 – Twelve nations signed the treaty creating NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The nations united for common military defense against the threat of expansion by Soviet Russia into Western Europe.

April 4, 1968 – Civil Rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and killed by a sniper in Memphis, Tennessee. As head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, he had championed non-violent resistance to end racial oppression and had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He is best remembered for his I Have a Dream speech delivered at the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington. That march and King’s other efforts helped the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 1986, Congress established the third Monday in January as a national holiday in his honor.

Birthday – American social reformer Dorothea Dix (1802-1887) was born in Hampden, Maine. She founded a home for girls in Boston while only in her teens and later crusaded for humane conditions in jails and insane asylums. During the American Civil War, she was superintendent of women nurses.

Birthday – Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (1884-1943) was born in Nagaoko, Honshu. He was the main strategist behind the failed Japanese attack on Midway Island in June of 1942, which turned the course of the war against Japan. He was killed on April 18, 1943, after Americans intercepted radio reports of his whereabouts and shot down his plane.

April 5, 1986 – A bomb exploded at a popular discotheque frequented by American military personnel in West Berlin, killing two U.S. soldiers and a Turkish woman. American intelligence analysts attributed the attack to Muammar Qaddafi of Libya. Nine days later, President Ronald Reagan ordered a retaliatory air strike against Libya.

Birthday – African American educator Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was born a slave in Franklin County, Virginia. Freed by the Civil War, he taught himself the alphabet and eventually graduated from an agricultural institute. In June of 1881, he was asked to become the principal of a new training school for blacks at Tuskegee, Alabama. The Tuskegee Institute began in single building with 30 students but through his efforts grew into a modern university.

April 6, 1896 – After a break of 1500 years, the first Olympics of the modern era was held in Athens, Greece.

April 6, 1917 – Following a vote by Congress approving a declaration of war, the U.S. entered World War I in Europe.

April 6, 1994 – The beginning of genocide in Rwanda as a plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi was shot down. They had been meeting to discuss ways of ending ethnic rivalries between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes. After their deaths, Rwanda descended into chaos, resulting in genocidal conflict between the tribes. Over 500,000 persons were killed with two million fleeing the country.

Birthday – Renaissance artist Raphael (1483-1520) was born in Urbino, Italy. He created some of the world’s greatest masterpieces including 300 pictures with a Madonna theme. He died on his 37th birthday in Rome.

April 7, 1712 – In New York City, 27 black slaves rebelled, shooting nine whites as they attempted to put out a fire started by the slaves. The state militia was called out to capture the rebels. Twenty one of the slaves were executed and six committed suicide.

April 8th – Among Buddhists, celebrated as the birthday of Buddha (563-483 B.C.). An estimated 350 millions persons currently profess the Buddhist faith.

April 8, 1952 – President Harry S. Truman seized control of America’s steel mills to prevent a shutdown by strikers. However, on April 29th, the seizure was ruled unconstitutional by a U.S. District Court. Workers immediately began a strike lasting 53 days, ending it when they received a 16-cents per-hour wage increase and additional benefits.

April 8, 1913 – The 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified requiring direct popular election of U.S. senators. Previously, they had been chosen by state legislatures.

April 8, 1990 – Ryan White died at age 18 of complications from AIDS. As a young boy, White, a hemophiliac, contracted the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome from a blood transfusion. At age ten, he was banned from school. He then moved with his mother to Cicero, Indiana, where he was accepted by the students. As his plight was publicized, he gained international celebrity status and helped promote understanding of the dreaded disease.

April 9, 1865 – After over 500,000 American deaths, the Civil War effectively ended as General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant in the village of Appomattox Court House. The surrender occurred in the home of Wilmer McLean. Terms of the surrender, written by General Grant, allowed Confederates to keep their horses and return home. Officers were allowed to keep their swords and side arms.

April 9, 1866 – Despite a veto by President Andrew Johnson, the Civil Rights Bill of 1866 was passed by Congress granting blacks the rights and privileges of U.S. citizenship.

Birthday – African American actor and singer Paul Robeson (1898-1976) was born in Princeton, New Jersey. Best known for his performance in The Emperor Jones, he also enjoyed a long run on Broadway in Shakespeare’s Othello. In 1950, amid ongoing anti-Communist hysteria, Robeson was denied a U.S. passport after refusing to sign an affidavit on whether he had ever been a member of the Communist Party.

April 10, 1942 – During World War II in the Pacific, the Bataan Death March began as American and Filipino prisoners were forced on a six-day march from an airfield on Bataan to a camp near Cabanatuan. Some 76,000 Allied POWs including 12,000 Americans were forced to walk 60 miles under a blazing sun without food or water to the POW camp, resulting in over 5,000 American deaths.

April 10, 1945 – The Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald was liberated by U.S. troops. Located near Weimar in Germany, Buchenwald was established in July 1937 to hold criminals and was one of the first major concentration camps. It later included Jews and homosexuals and was used as a slave labor center for nearby German companies. Of a total of 238,980 Buchenwald inmates, 56,545 perished. Following its liberation, Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and other top U.S. commanders visited the sub-camp at Ohrdruf. U.S. Troops also forced German civilians from nearby towns into the camp to view the carnage.

April 10, 1998 – Politicians in Northern Ireland reached an agreement aimed at ending 30 years of violence which had claimed over 3,400 lives. Under the agreement, Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland would govern together in a new 108-member Belfast assembly, thus ending 26 years of ”direct rule” from London.

Birthday – Publisher Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911) was born in Budapest, Hungary. He came to America in 1864 and fought briefly in the Civil War for the Union. He then began a remarkable career in journalism and publishing. His newspapers included the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the New York World. He also endowed the journalism school at Columbia University and established a fund for the Pulitzer Prizes, awarded annually for excellence in journalism.

April 11, 1968 – A week after the assassination of Martin Luther King, the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The law prohibited discrimination in housing, protected civil rights workers and expanded the rights of Native Americans.

April 11, 1970 – Apollo 13 was launched from Cape Kennedy at 2:13 p.m. Fifty-six hours into the flight an oxygen tank exploded in the service module. Astronaut John L. Swigert saw a warning light that accompanied the bang and said, “Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” Swigert, James A. Lovell and Fred W. Haise then transferred into the lunar module, using it as a “lifeboat” and began a perilous return trip to Earth, splashing down safely on April 17th.

April 11, 1983 – Harold Washington became the first African American mayor of Chicago, receiving 51 percent of the vote. Re-elected in 1987, he suffered a fatal heart attack at his office seven months later.

Birthday – American orator Edward Everett (1794-1865) was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts. In 1863, at the dedication of the Gettysburg Battlefield, he delivered the main address, lasting two hours. He was then followed by President Abraham Lincoln who spoke for about two minutes delivering the Gettysburg Address.

April 12, 1861 – The American Civil War began as Confederate troops under the command of General Pierre Beauregard opened fire at 4:30 a.m. on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina.

April 12, 1945 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt died suddenly at Warm Springs, Georgia, after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. He had been President since March 4, 1933, elected to four consecutive terms and had guided America out of the Great Depression and through World War II.

April 12, 1961 – Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. He traveled aboard the Soviet spacecraft Vostok I to an altitude of 187 miles (301 kilometers) above the earth and completed a single orbit in a flight lasting 108 minutes. The spectacular Russian success intensified the already ongoing Space Race between the Russians and Americans. Twenty-three days later, Alan Shepard became the first American in space. This was followed in 1962 by President Kennedy’s open call to land an American on the moon before the decade’s end.

April 12, 1981 – The first space shuttle flight occurred with the launching of Columbia with astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen aboard. Columbia spent 54 hours in space, making 36 orbits, then landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

April 13

Birthday – Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was born in Albermarle County, Virginia. He was an author, inventor, lawyer, politician, architect, and one of the finest minds of the 1700’s. He authored the American Declaration of Independence and later served as the 3rd U.S. President from 1801 to 1809. He died on July 4, 1826, the same day as his old friend and one-time political rival John Adams.

April 14, 1775 – In Philadelphia, the first abolitionist society in American was founded as the “Society for the relief of free Negroes unlawfully held in bondage.”‘

April 14, 1828 – The first dictionary of American-style English was published by Noah Webster as the American Dictionary of the English Language.

April 14, 1865 – President Abraham Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded while watching a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater in Washington. He was taken to a nearby house and died the following morning at 7:22 a.m.

April 14, 1986 – U.S. warplanes, on orders from President Ronald Reagan, bombed the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi in retaliation for the April 5th terrorist bombing of a discotheque in West Berlin in which two American soldiers were killed. Among the 37 person killed in the air raid was the infant daughter of Muammar Qaddafi, Libya’s head of state.

April 15, 1817 – The first American school for the deaf was founded by Thomas H. Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc in Hartford, Connecticut.

April 15, 1912 – In the icy waters off Newfoundland, the luxury liner Titanic with 2,224 persons on board sank at 2:27 a.m. after striking an iceberg just before midnight. Over 1,500 persons drowned while 700 were rescued by the liner Carpathia which arrived about two hours after Titanic went down.

April 16, 1862 – Congress abolished slavery in the District of Columbia and appropriated $1 million to compensate owners of freed slaves.

April 16, 1995 – Iqbal Masih, a young boy from Pakistan who spoke out against child labor, was shot to death. At age four, he had been sold into servitude as a carpet weaver and spent the next six years shackled to a loom. At age ten, he escaped and began speaking out, attracting worldwide attention as a featured speaker during an international labor conference in Sweden.

Birthday – American aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright (1867-1912) was born in Millville, Indiana. On December 17, 1903, along with his brother Orville, the Wright brothers made the first successful flight of a motor driven aircraft. It flew for 12 seconds and traveled 120 feet. By 1905, they had built a plane that could stay airborne for half an hour, performing figure eights and other aerial maneuvers. Wilbur died of Typhoid fever in May 1912.

Birthday – Film comedian Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977) was born in London. He began in vaudeville and was discovered by American film producer Mack Sennett. He then went to Hollywood to make silent movies, developing the funny ‘Little Tramp’ film character. Chaplin’s classics include The Kid, The Gold Rush, City Lights and Modern Times. In 1940, he made The Great Dictator poking fun at Adolf Hitler, who bore a resemblance to Chaplin. In his later years, Chaplin had a falling out with Americans, but returned in 1972 to receive a special Academy Award. In 1975, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

April 17, 1961 – A U.S.-backed attempt to overthrow Premier Fidel Castro of Cuba failed disastrously in what became known as the Bay of Pigs fiasco. About 1,400 anti-Castro exiles invaded the island’s southern coast along the Bay of Pigs but were overrun by 20,000 Cuban soldiers and jailed. Trained and guided by the U.S., the exiles had expected support from U.S. military aircraft and help from anti-Castro insurgents on the island. Instead, due to a series of mishaps, they had fended for themselves with no support. The failed invasion heightened Cold War tensions between Cuba’s political ally, Soviet Russia, and the fledgling administration of President John F. Kennedy. The following year, the Russians brazenly installed nuclear missiles in Cuba resulting in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

April 17, 1989 – The Polish labor union Solidarity was granted legal status after nearly a decade of struggle, paving the way for the downfall of the Polish Communist Party. In the elections that followed, Solidarity candidates won 99 out of 100 parliamentary seats and eventually forced the acceptance of a Solidarity government led by Lech Walesa.

Birthday – American financier John Pierpont (J.P.) Morgan (1837-1913) was born in Hartford, Connecticut. He displayed extraordinary management skills, reorganizing and consolidating a number of failing companies to make them profitable. His extensive interests included banking, steel, railroads and art collecting. In 1895, he aided the failing U.S. Treasury by carrying out a private bond sale among fellow financiers to replenish the treasury.

April 18, 1775 – The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere and William Dawes occurred as the two men rode out of Boston about 10 p.m. to warn patriots at Lexington and Concord of the approaching British.

April 18, 1906 – The San Francisco Earthquake struck at 5:13 a.m., followed by a massive fire from overturned wood stoves and broken gas pipes. The fire raged uncontrollably for three days resulting in the destruction of over 10,000 acres of property and 4,000 lives lost.

April 18, 1942 – The first air raid on mainland Japan during World War II occurred as General James Doolittle led a squadron of B-25 bombers taking off from the carrier Hornet to bomb Tokyo and three other cities. Damage was minimal, but the raid boosted Allied morale following years of unchecked Japanese military advances.

April 18, 1982 – Queen Elizabeth II of England signed the Canada Constitution Act of 1982 replacing the British North America Act of 1867, providing Canada with a new set of fundamental laws and civil rights.

Birthday – American attorney Clarence Darrow (1857-1938) was born in Kinsman, Ohio. He championed unpopular causes, and is best known for the Scopes ‘monkey trial’ in which he defended a teacher who taught the theory of evolution.

April 19, 1775 – At dawn in Massachusetts, about 70 armed militiamen stood face to face on Lexington Green with a British advance guard unit. An unordered ‘shot heard around the world’ began the American Revolution. A volley of British rifle fire was followed by a charge with bayonets leaving eight Americans dead and ten wounded.

April 19, 1943 – Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto staged an armed revolt against Nazi SS troops attempting to forcibly deport them to death camps.

April 19, 1989 – Forty-seven U.S. sailors were killed by an explosion in a gun turret on the USSIowa during gunnery exercises in the waters off Puerto Rico.

April 19, 1993 – At Waco, Texas, the compound of the Branch Davidian religious cult burned to the ground with 82 persons inside, including 17 children. The fire erupted after federal agents battered buildings in the compound with armored vehicles following a 51-day standoff.

April 19, 1995 – At 9:02 a.m., a massive car-bomb explosion destroyed the entire side of a nine story federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 persons, including 19 children inside a day care center. A decorated Gulf War veteran was later convicted for the attack.

April 20, 1914 – Miners in Ludlow, Colorado, were attacked by National Guardsmen paid by the mining company. The miners were seeking recognition of their United Mine Workers Union. Five men and a boy were killed by machine gun fire while 11 children and two women burned to death as the miners’ tent colony was destroyed.

April 20, 1999 – The deadliest school shooting in U.S. history occurred in Littleton, Colorado, as two students armed with guns and explosives stormed into Columbine High School at lunch time then killed 12 classmates and a teacher and wounded more than 20 other persons before killing themselves.

Birthday – Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria. As leader of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945, he waged a war of expansion in Europe, precipitating the deaths of an estimated 50 million persons through military conflict and through the Holocaust in which the Nazis attempted to exterminate the entire Jewish population of Europe.

April 21, 1836 – The Battle of San Jacinto between Texans led by Sam Houston and Mexican forces led by Santa Anna took place near present day Houston. The Texans decisively defeated the Mexican forces thereby achieving independence.

April 21, 1918 – During World War I, the Red Baron (Manfred von Richtofen) was shot down and killed during the Battle of the Somme. He was credited with 80 kills in less than two years, flying a red Fokker triplane. British pilots recovered his body and buried him with full military honors.

April 22, 1864 – “In God We Trust” was included on all newly minted U.S. coins by an Act of Congress.

April 22, 1889 – The Oklahoma land rush began at noon with a single gunshot signaling the start of a mad dash by thousands of settlers. They were seeking to claim part of nearly two million acres made available by the federal government. The land originally belonged to Creek and Seminole Indian tribes.

Birthday – Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) was born in Simbirsk, Russia. He led the Russian Revolution of October 1917 which toppled Czar Nicholas and paved the way for a harsh Communist regime. Following his death in 1924, his body was embalmed and placed on display in Moscow’s Red Square, becoming a shrine that was visited by millions during the years of the Soviet Union.

April 23rd – Established by Israel’s Knesset as Holocaust Day in remembrance of the estimated six million Jews killed by Nazis.

Birthday – William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was born at Stratford-on-Avon, England. Renowned as the most influential writer in the English language, he created 36 plays and 154 sonnets, including Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice.

Birthday – James Buchanan (1791-1868) the 15th U.S. President was born in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania. He was the only life-long bachelor to occupy the White House, serving just one term from 1857 to 1861.

April 24, 1800 – The Library of Congress was established in Washington, D.C. It is America’s oldest federal cultural institution and the world’s largest library. Among the 145 million items in its collections are more than 33 million books, 3 million recordings, 12.5 million photographs, 5.3 million maps, 6 million pieces of sheet music and 63 million manuscripts. About 10,000 new items are added each day.

April 24, 1915 – In Asia Minor during World War I, the first modern-era genocide began with the deportation of Armenian leaders from Constantinople and subsequent massacre by Young Turks. In May, deportations of all Armenians and mass murder by Turks began, resulting in the complete elimination of the Armenians from the Ottoman Empire and all of the historic Armenian homelands. Estimates vary from 800,000 to over 2,000,000 Armenians murdered.

April 25, 1967 – The first law legalizing abortion was signed by Colorado Governor John Love, allowing abortions in cases in which a panel of three doctors unanimously agreed.

Birthday – Radio inventor Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) was born in Bologna, Italy. He pioneered the use of wireless telegraphy in the 1890’s. By 1921, Marconi’s invention had been developed into wireless telephony (voice radio).

April 26, 1937 – During the Spanish Civil War, the ancient town of Guernica was attacked by German warplanes. After destroying the town in a three hour bombing raid, the planes machine-gunned fleeing civilians.

April 26, 1944 – Federal troops seized the Chicago offices of Montgomery Ward and removed its chairman after his refusal to obey President Roosevelt’s order to recognize a CIO union. The seizure ended when unions won an election to represent the company’s workers.

April 26, 1986 – At the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine, an explosion caused a meltdown of the nuclear fuel and spread a radioactive cloud into the atmosphere, eventually covering most of Europe. A 300-square-mile area around the plant was evacuated. Thirty one persons were reported to have died while an additional thousand cases of cancer from radiation were expected. The plant was then encased in a solid concrete tomb to prevent the release of further radiation.

April 26, 1994 – Multiracial elections were held for the first time in the history of South Africa. With approximately 18 million blacks voting, Nelson Mandela was elected president and F.W. de Klerk vice president.

Birthday – American artist and naturalist John J. Audubon (1785-1851) was born in Haiti. He drew life-like illustrations of the birds of North America.

Birthday – Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) was born in Hertfors, Connecticut. He helped design some of the most famous parks in America including Central Park in New York, the Emerald Necklace series of connecting parks in Boston, and Yosemite National Park.

Birthday – Nazi Rudolf Hess (1894-1987) was born in Alexandria, Egypt. He was Deputy Führer of Nazi Germany and a member of Hitler’s inner circle. On May 10, 1941, he made a surprise solo flight and parachuted into Scotland intending to negotiate peace with the British. However, the British promptly arrested him and confined him for the duration. Following the war, he was taken to Nuremberg and put on trial with other top Nazis. He died in captivity in 1987, the last of the major Nuremberg war criminals.

April 27, 1865 – On the Mississippi River, the worst steamship disaster in U.S. history occurred as an explosion aboard the Sultana killed nearly 2,000 passengers, mostly Union solders who had been prisoners of war and were returning home.

Birthday – Telegraph inventor Samuel F.B. Morse (1791-1872) was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He developed the idea of an electromagnetic telegraph in the 1830’s and tapped out his first message “What hath God wrought?” in 1844 on the first telegraph line, running from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore. The construction of the first telegraph line was funded by Congress ($30,000) after Morse failed to get any other financial backing. After Western Union was founded in 1856, telegraph lines were quickly strung from coast to coast in America.

Birthday – Civil War General and 18th U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio. During the war, he earned the nickname “Unconditional Surrender” Grant and was given command of the Union armies. He served as President from 1869 to 1877 in an administration plagued by scandal. He then went on to write his memoirs and died in 1885, just days after its completion.

April 28, 1789 – On board the British ship Bounty, Fletcher Christian led a mutiny against Captain William Bligh, setting him and 18 loyal crew members adrift in a 23-foot open boat. Bligh survived a 47-day voyage sailing over 3,600 miles before landing on a small island. Christian sailed the Bounty back to Tahiti, eventually settling on Pitcairn Island and burning the ship.

April 28, 1945 – Twenty-three years of Fascist rule in Italy ended abruptly as Italian partisans shot former Dictator Benito Mussolini. Other leaders of the Fascist Party and friends of Mussolini were also killed along with his mistress, Clara Petacci. Their bodies were then hung upside down and pelted with stones by jeering crowds in Milan.

Birthday – James Monroe (1758-1831) the 5th U.S. President was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He served two terms from 1817 to 1825 and is best known for the Monroe Doctrine which declared the U.S. would not permit any European nation to extend its holdings or use armed force in North or South America.

April 29, 1992 – Riots erupted in Los Angeles following the announcement that a jury in Simi Valley, California, had failed to convict four Los Angeles police officers accused in the videotaped beating of an African American man.

Birthday – American publisher William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951) was born in San Francisco. The son of a gold miner, in 1887 he dropped out of Harvard to take control of the failing San Francisco Examiner which his father had purchased. He saved the Examiner, then went to New York and bought the New York Morning Journal to compete with Joseph Pulitzer. Hearst’s sensational style of “yellow” journalism sold unprecedented numbers of newspapers and included promoting a war with Cuba in 1897-98. He expanded into other cities and into magazine publishing, books and films. He also served in Congress and nearly became mayor of New York City.

Birthday – Japan’s Emperor Hirohito (1901-1989) was born in Tokyo. In 1926, he became the 124th in a long line of monarchs and then presided over wartime Japan which was led by militarist Prime Minister Hideki Tojo. Following the dropping of two atomic bombs by the U.S., he made a radio address urging his people to stop fighting. After the war, he remained the symbolic head of state in Japan’s new parliamentary government. In 1946, he renounced his divinity and then pursued his interest in marine biology, becoming a recognized authority in the subject.

April 30, 1789 – George Washington became the first U.S. President as he was administered the oath of office on the balcony of Federal Hall at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets in New York City.

April 30, 1948 – Palestinian Jews declared their independence from British rule and established the new state of Israel. The country soon became a destination for tens of thousands of Nazi Holocaust survivors and a strong U.S. ally.

April 30, 1967 – Boxer Muhammad Ali was stripped of his world heavyweight boxing championship after refusing to be inducted into the American military. He had claimed religious exemption.

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