Today in History
Today is May 30, the 151st day of 2020. There are 215 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 30, 1989, student protesters in Beijing erected a “Goddess of Democracy” statue in Tiananmen Square (the statue was destroyed in the Chinese government’s crackdown).
On this date:
In 1431, Joan of Arc, condemned as a heretic, was burned at the stake in Rouen, France.
In 1883, 12 people were trampled to death in a stampede sparked by a rumor that the recently opened Brooklyn Bridge was in danger of collapsing.
In 1911, the first Indy 500 took place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; the winner was Ray Harroun, who drove a Marmon Wasp for more than 6 1/2 hours at an average speed of 74.6 mph and collected a prize of $10,000.
In 1912, aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright, 45, died in Dayton of typhoid fever more than eight years after he and his brother, Orville, launched their first airplane.
In 1922, the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., was dedicated in a ceremony attended by President Warren G. Harding, Chief Justice William Howard Taft and Robert Todd Lincoln.
In 1935, Babe Ruth played in his last major league baseball game for the Boston Braves, leaving after the first inning of the first game of a double-header against the Philadelphia Phillies, who won both games (Ruth announced his retirement three days later).
In 1937, 10 people were killed when police fired on steelworkers demonstrating near the Republic Steel plant in South Chicago.
In 1943, during World War II, American troops secured the Aleutian island of Attu from Japanese forces.
In 1972, three members of the Japanese Red Army opened fire at Lod Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, killing 26 people. Two attackers died; the third was captured.
In 1994, Mormon Church president Ezra Taft Benson died in Salt Lake City at age 94.
In 1996, Britain’s Prince Andrew and the former Sarah Ferguson were granted an uncontested decree ending their 10-year marriage.
In 2002, a solemn, wordless ceremony marked the end of the agonizing cleanup at ground zero in New York, 8 1/2 months after 9/11.
Ten years ago: Joran van der Sloot, the prime suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba, was seen leaving a hotel room in Lima, Peru, where the body of 21-year-old Stephany Flores was found three days later. (Van der Sloot later confessed to murdering Flores, and is serving a 28-year prison sentence.) Dario Franchitti drove 199 nearly flawless laps, then got a huge break from a spectacular crash on the last lap to climb back on top of the open-wheel world with a win at the Indianapolis 500.
Five years ago: Vice President Joe Biden’s son, former Delaware attorney general Beau Biden, died at age 46 of brain cancer. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley entered the Democratic presidential race.
One year ago: President Donald Trump said he was slapping a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican imports to pressure the country to do more to crack down on Central American migrants trying to cross the U.S. border. Louisiana’s Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, signed a ban on abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy, making Louisiana the fifth state to enact a law prohibiting abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected. (The laws have been blocked by court challenges.) Former Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi died at the age of 81, just over a year after retiring. Israel’s parliament voted to dissolve itself, sending the country to an unprecedented second snap election of the year, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition. (Netanyahu and chief rival Benny Gantz announced a deal to form a coalition government in April, 2020, averting what would have been a fourth election in just over a year.) The Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in an eight-way tie. The Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors 118-109 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals in Toronto, the first NBA championship series game to be played outside the United States.
Today’s Birthdays: Actress Ruta Lee is 85. Actor Keir Dullea is 84. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers is 77. Rock musician Lenny Davidson (The Dave Clark Five) is 76. Actor Stephen Tobolowsky is 69. Actor Colm Meaney is 67. Actor Ted McGinley is 62. Actor Ralph Carter is 59. Actress Tonya Pinkins is 58. Country singer Wynonna Judd is 56. Rock musician Tom Morello (Audioslave; Rage Against The Machine) is 56. Actor Mark Sheppard is 56. Movie director Antoine Fuqua is 55. Actor John Ross Bowie is 49. Rock musician Patrick Dahlheimer (Live) is 49. Actress Idina Menzel is 49. Actor Trey Parker is 48. Rapper Cee Lo Green is 45. Rapper Remy Ma is 40. Actor Blake Bashoff is 39. Christian rock musician James Smith (Underoath) is 38. Actress Javicia Leslie is 33. Actor Jake Short is 23. Actor Sean Giambrone is 21. Actor Jared Gilmore is 20.
Thought for Today: “There are two statements about human beings that are true: that all human beings are alike, and that all are different. On those two facts all human wisdom is founded.” — Mark Van Doren, American poet (1894-1972).
Today is Sunday, May 31, the 152nd day of 2020. There are 214 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 31, 1921, a race riot erupted in Tulsa, Okla., as white mobs began looting and leveling the affluent black district of Greenwood over reports a black man had assaulted a white woman in an elevator; hundreds are believed to have died.
On this date:
In 1859, the Big Ben clock tower in London went into operation, chiming for the first time.
In 1889, some 2,200 people in Johnstown, Pa., perished when the South Fork Dam collapsed, sending 20 million tons of water rushing through the town.
In 1910, the Union of South Africa was founded.
In 1949, former State Department official and accused spy Alger Hiss went on trial in New York, charged with perjury (the jury deadlocked, but Hiss was convicted in a second trial).
In 1961, South Africa became an independent republic as it withdrew from the British Commonwealth.
In 1962, former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel a few minutes before midnight for his role in the Holocaust.
In 1970, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake in Peru claimed an estimated 67,000 lives.
In 1977, the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline, three years in the making despite objections from environmentalists and Alaska Natives, was completed. (The first oil began flowing through the pipeline 20 days later.)
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush welcomed Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev to Washington for a summit meeting. The situation comedy “Seinfeld” began airing as a regular series on NBC.
In 2005, breaking a silence of 30 years, former FBI official W. Mark Felt stepped forward as “Deep Throat,” the secret Washington Post source during the Watergate scandal.
In 2009, Dr. George Tiller, a rare provider of late-term abortions, was shot and killed in a Wichita, Kan., church. (Gunman Scott Roeder was later convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 50 years.) Millvina Dean, the last survivor of the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic, died in Southampton, England, at 97.
In 2014, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only American soldier held prisoner in Afghanistan, was freed by the Taliban in exchange for five Afghan detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Bergdahl, who’d gone missing in June 2009, later pleaded guilty to endangering his comrades by walking away from his post in Afghanistan; his sentence included a dishonorable discharge, a reduction in rank and a fine, but no prison time.)
Ten years ago: Israeli commandos stormed six ships carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists on an aid mission to the blockaded Gaza Strip; eight Turkish activists and one Turkish-American were killed aboard one vessel, with each side accusing the other of starting the violence. Al-Qaida announced that its No. 3 official, Mustafa al-Yazid, had been killed along with members of his family. (A U.S. official said al-Yazid was believed to have died in a U.S. missile strike.) Artist Louise Bourgeois, 98, died in New York. Chris Haney, 59, co-creator of the popular Trivial Pursuit board game, died in Toronto.
Five years ago: The U.S. Senate held an extraordinary Sunday session during which it failed to produce an 11th-hour deal to extend the National Security Agency’s authority to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry broke his leg in a bicycle crash near Geneva, forcing him to return to the U.S. for treatment and to scrap the rest of a four-nation trip. Jim Bailey, 77, a singer-actor who transformed himself into such show biz legends as Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand and Peggy Lee during a career that spanned decades, died in Los Angeles. Harriette Thompson of Charlotte, a 92-year-old cancer survivor, became the oldest woman to finish a marathon as she completed the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego in 7:24:36.
One year ago: A longtime city employee opened fire in a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Va., killing 12 people on three floors before police shot and killed him; officials said DeWayne Craddock had resigned by email hours before the shooting. As he prepared for a three-day visit to Britain, President Donald Trump told the British tabloid The Sun that Boris Johnson would make an “excellent” prime minister; he also called Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, “nasty.” Relentless flooding in the central U.S. inundated communities and damaged or spilled over levees on three major rivers in two states.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor-director Clint Eastwood is 90. Singer Peter Yarrow is 82. Humanitarian and author Terry Waite is 81. Singer-musician Augie Meyers is 80. Actress Sharon Gless is 77. Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath is 77. Broadcast journalist/commentator Bernard Goldberg is 75. Actor Tom Berenger is 70. Actor Gregory Harrison is 70. Actor Kyle Secor is 63. Actress Roma Maffia is 62. Comedian Chris Elliott is 60. Actress Lea Thompson is 59. Singer Corey Hart is 58. Actor Hugh Dillon is 57. Rapper DMC is 56. Actress Brooke Shields is 55. Country musician Ed Adkins (The Derailers) is 53. TV host Phil Keoghan is 53. Jazz musician Christian McBride is 48. Actress Archie Panjabi is 48. Actress Merle Dandridge (TV: “Greenleaf”) is 45. Actor Colin Farrell is 44. Rock musician Scott Klopfenstein (Reel Big Fish) is 43. Actor Eric Christian Olsen is 43. Rock musician Andy Hurley (Fall Out Boy) is 40. Country singer Casey James (TV: “American Idol”) is 38. Actor Jonathan Tucker is 38. Rapper Waka Flocka Flame is 34. Actor Curtis Williams Jr. is 33. Pop singer Normani Hamilton (Fifth Harmony) is 24.
Thought for Today: “The future is no more uncertain than the present.” — Walt Whitman, American poet (born this date in 1819, died 1892).