Today in history
Today is May 15, the 135th day of 2021. There are 230 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 15, 1970, just after midnight, Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green, two Black students at Jackson State College in Mississippi, were killed as police opened fire during student protests.
On this date:
In 1602, English navigator Bartholomew Gosnold and his ship, the Concord, arrived at present-day Cape Cod, which he’s credited with naming.
In 1918, U.S. airmail began service between Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York.
In 1948, hours after declaring its independence, the new state of Israel was attacked by Transjordan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
In 1954, the Fender Stratocaster guitar, created by Leo Fender, was officially released.
In 1963, Weight Watchers was incorporated in New York.
In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court, in its unanimous In re Gault decision, ruled that juveniles accused of crimes were entitled to the same due process afforded adults. American realist painter Edward Hopper died in New York at age 84.
In 1972, Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace was shot and left paralyzed while campaigning for president in Laurel, Md., by Arthur H. Bremer, who served 35 years for attempted murder.
In 1975, U.S. forces invaded the Cambodian island of Koh Tang and captured the American merchant ship Mayaguez, which had been seized by the Khmer Rouge. (All 39 crew members had already been released safely by Cambodia; some 40 U.S. servicemen were killed in connection with the operation.)
In 1988, the Soviet Union began the process of withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, more than eight years after Soviet forces entered the country.
In 2000, by a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a key provision of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, saying that rape victims could not sue their attackers in federal court.
In 2015, a jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and left more than 250 wounded.
Ten years ago: Mobilized by calls on Facebook, thousands of Arab protesters marched on Israel’s borders with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza in an unprecedented wave of demonstrations, sparking clashes that left at least 15 dead.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama urged graduates at Rutgers University to shun those who wanted to confront a rapidly changing world by building walls around the United States or by embracing ignorance, as he delivered a sharp and barely concealed critique of Donald Trump. “60 Minutes” said goodbye to Morley Safer, honoring the newsman who had been a fixture at the CBS newsmagazine for all but two of its 48 years (Safer died four days later at age 84).
One year ago: President Donald Trump formally unveiled a coronavirus vaccine program he called “Operation Warp Speed,” to speed development of COVID-19 vaccines and quickly distribute them around the country. The House approved rules changes allowing Congress to keep functioning while it was partly closed; lawmakers would no longer be required to travel to Washington for floor votes and could assign their vote to another lawmaker who would be at the Capitol to cast it for them. J.C. Penney became the fourth major retailer to file for bankruptcy reorganization since the pandemic began. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo fired the State Department’s inspector general, whose office had been critical of alleged political bias in the agency’s management. Comedic actor Fred Willard, whose films included “Best In Show” and “Anchorman,” died at 86.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor-singer Anna Maria Alberghetti is 85. Counterculture icon Wavy Gravy is 85. Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is 84. Singer Lenny Welch is 83. Actor-singer Lainie Kazan is 79. Actor Gunilla Hutton is 79. Actor Chazz Palminteri is 75. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is 73. Singer-songwriter Brian Eno is 73. Actor Nicholas Hammond (Film: “The Sound of Music”) is 71. Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett is 68. Musician-composer Mike Oldfield is 68. Actor Lee Horsley is 66. TV personality Giselle Fernandez is 60. Rapper Grandmaster Melle Mel is 60. Actor Brenda Bakke is 58. Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith is 52. Actor Brad Rowe is 51. Actor David Charvet is 49. Actor Russell Hornsby is 47. Rock musician Ahmet Zappa is 47. Olympic gold medal gymnast Amy Chow is 43. Actor David Krumholtz is 43. Actor Jamie-Lynn Sigler is 40. Actor Alexandra Breckenridge is 39. Rock musician Brad Shultz (Cage the Elephant) is 39. Rock musician Nick Perri is 37. Tennis player Andy Murray is 34.
Today is May 16, the 136th day of 2021. There are 229 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 16, 1939, the federal government began its first food stamp program in Rochester, N.Y.
On this date:
In 1770, Marie Antoinette, age 14, married the future King Louis XVI of France, who was 15.
In 1868, at the U.S. Senate impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, 35 out of 54 senators voted to find Johnson guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors” over his attempted dismissal of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, falling one vote short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict; the trial ended 10 days later after two other articles of impeachment went down to defeat as well.
In 1943, the nearly month-long Warsaw Ghetto Uprising came to an end as German forces crushed the Jewish resistance and blew up the Great Synagogue.
In 1960, the first working laser was demonstrated at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, Calif., by physicist Theodore Maiman.
In 1966, China launched the Cultural Revolution, a radical as well as deadly reform movement aimed at purging the country of “counter-revolutionaries.”
In 1975, Japanese climber Junko Tabei became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
In 1984, comedian Andy Kaufman died in Los Angeles at age 35.
In 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court, in California v. Greenwood, ruled that police could search discarded garbage without a search warrant. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop released a report declaring nicotine was addictive in ways similar to heroin and cocaine.
In 1990, death claimed entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. in Los Angeles at age 64 and “Muppets” creator Jim Henson in New York at age 53.
In 1991, Queen Elizabeth II became the first British monarch to address the United States Congress as she lauded U.S.-British cooperation in the Persian Gulf War.
In 1997, President Bill Clinton publicly apologized for the notorious Tuskegee experiment, in which government scientists deliberately allowed Black men to weaken and die of treatable syphilis.
In 2006, the Pentagon released the first video images of American Airlines Flight 77 crashing into the military headquarters and killing 189 people on 9/11.
Ten years ago: The Vatican told bishops around the world it was important to cooperate with police in reporting priests who’d raped and molested children and asked them to develop guidelines for preventing sex abuse; however, victims groups immediately denounced the recommendations as “dangerously flawed.” Endeavour blasted off on NASA’s next-to-last shuttle flight commanded by Mark Kelly, husband of wounded Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama called on the nation to support law enforcement officers as he bestowed the Medal of Valor on 13 who risked their lives. The International Space Station reached the orbital milestone of 100,000 laps around Earth, akin to traveling more than 2.6 billion miles in 17 1/2 years. Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns was named the NBA Rookie of the Year.
One year ago: As officials around the country cautiously eased more coronavirus restrictions, New Orleans allowed restaurants to reopen, but with limited capacity. Italy announced that it would reopen its borders on June 3, effectively ending Europe’s longest and strictest coronavirus lockdown just as the summer tourism season began. Democrats demanded that the White House hand over all records related to President Donald Trump’s latest firing of a federal watchdog, this time a State Department inspector general; they suggested it might be an act of retaliation by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Today’s Birthdays: Former U.S. Senator and Connecticut Governor Lowell Weicker is 90. Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is 78. Jazz musician Billy Cobham is 77. Actor Danny Trejo is 77. Actor Bill Smitrovich is 74. Actor Pierce Brosnan is 68. Actor Debra Winger is 66. Olympic gold medal gymnast Olga Korbut is 65. Olympic gold medal marathon runner Joan Benoit Samuelson is 63. Actor Mare Winningham is 62. Rock musician Boyd Tinsley (The Dave Matthews Band) is 57. Rock musician Krist Novoselic is 56. Singer Janet Jackson is 55. Country singer Scott Reeves (Blue County) is 55. Actor David Boreanaz is 52. Political commentator Tucker Carlson is 52. Actor Tracey Gold is 52. International Tennis Hall of Famer Gabriela Sabatini is 51. Country singer Rick Trevino is 50. Musician Simon Katz is 50. TV personality Bill Rancic is 50. Actor Khary Payton is 49. Rapper Special Ed is 49. Actor Tori Spelling is 48. Actor Sean Carrigan is 47. Singer-rapper B. Slade (formerly known as Tonex) is 46. Actor Lynn Collins is 44. Actor Melanie Lynskey is 44. Actor Jim Sturgess is 43. Actor Joseph Morgan is 40. DJ Alex Pall (The Chainsmokers) is 36. Actor Megan Fox is 35. Actor Drew Roy is 35. Actor Jacob Zachar is 35. Actor-comedian Jermaine Fowler is 33. Actor Thomas Brodie-Sangster is 31. Actor Marc John Jefferies is 31. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Ashley Wagner is 30. Actor Miles Heizer is 27.