Today in History
Published 9:02 am Tuesday, May 18, 2021
By The Associated Press
Today is Tuesday, May 18, the 138th day of 2021. There are 227 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 18, 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson, endorsed “separate but equal” racial segregation, a concept renounced 58 years later by Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.
On this date:
In 1642, the Canadian city of Montreal was founded by French colonists. (On this date in 1765, one-quarter of Montreal was destroyed by a fire.)
In 1652, Rhode Island became the first American colony to pass a law abolishing African slavery; however, the law was apparently never enforced.
In 1863, the Siege of Vicksburg began during the Civil War, ending July 4 with a Union victory.
In 1910, Halley’s Comet passed by earth, brushing it with its tail.
In 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.)
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, 47, became the first woman to break the sound barrier as she piloted a Canadair F-86 Sabre jet over Rogers Dry Lake, California.
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 1981, the New York Native, a gay newspaper, carried a story concerning rumors of “an exotic new disease” among homosexuals; it was the first published report about what came to be known as AIDS.
In 2015, President Barack Obama ended long-running federal transfers of some combat-style gear to local law enforcement in an attempt to ease tensions between police and minority communities, saying equipment made for the battlefield should not be a tool of American criminal justice.
Ten years ago: Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, resigned, saying he wanted to devote all his energy to battling the sexual assault charges he faced in New York. (The charges were later dropped.) The United States slapped sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad and six others for human rights abuses over their brutal crackdown on antigovernment protests.
Five years ago: In an unusual move, Republican 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).
One year ago: President Donald Trump said he’d been taking a malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, and a zinc supplement to protect against the coronavirus despite warnings from his own government that the drug should be administered only in a hospital or research setting. Moderna announced that an experimental vaccine against the coronavirus showed encouraging results in early testing. The World Health Organization agreed to launch an independent probe into how it managed the international response to the coronavirus. A federal judge in Virginia ruled that a salvage firm could retrieve from the wreckage of the Titanic the Marconi wireless telegraph machine that broadcast distress calls. Ken Osmond, the actor best known for playing teenage scoundrel Eddie Haskell on TV’s “Leave it to Beaver,” died in Los Angeles at 76.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Priscilla Pointer is 97. Actor Robert Morse is 90. Actor Dwayne Hickman is 87. Baseball Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson is 83. Actor Candice Azzara is 80. Bluegrass singer-musician Rodney Dillard (The Dillards) is 79. Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson is 75. Former Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is 73. Country singer Joe Bonsall (The Oak Ridge Boys) is 73. Rock musician Rick Wakeman (Yes) is 72. Rock singer Mark Mothersbaugh (Devo) is 71. Actor James Stephens is 70. Country singer George Strait is 69. Actor Chow Yun-Fat is 66. International Tennis Hall of Famer Yannick Noah is 61. Rock singer-musician Page Hamilton is 61. Contemporary Christian musician Barry Graul (MercyMe) is 60. Contemporary Christian singer Michael Tait is 55. Singer-actor Martika is 52. Comedian-writer Tina Fey is 51. Rock singer Jack Johnson is 46. Country singer David Nail is 42. Actor Matt Long is 41. Actor Allen Leech is 40. Christian singer Francesca Battistelli is 36. Actor Spencer Breslin is 29. Actor Violett Beane is 25. Actor Hala Finley is 12.