Today in History


Today in History

Today is Thursday, May 4, the 124th day of 2017. There are 241 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 4, 1942, the Battle of the Coral Sea, the first naval clash fought entirely with carrier aircraft, began in the Pacific during World War II. (The outcome was considered a tactical victory for Imperial Japan, but ultimately a strategic one for the Allies.)

On this date:

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

In 1830, the Edward Bulwer-Lytton novel “Paul Clifford,” with its famous opening, “It was a dark and stormy night…,” was first published in London.

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

In 1904, the United States took over construction of the Panama Canal from the French.

In 1916, Germany, responding to an ultimatum from President Woodrow Wilson, agreed to limit its submarine warfare. (However, Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare the following year.)

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

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

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

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

In 1980, Marshal Josip Broz Tito, president of Yugoslavia, died three days before his 88th birthday.

In 1994, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat signed an accord on Palestinian autonomy that granted self-rule in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.

In 2001, Bonny Lee Bakley, wife of actor Robert Blake, was shot to death as she sat in a car near a restaurant in Los Angeles. (Blake, accused of Bakley’s murder, was acquitted in a criminal trial but found liable by a civil jury and ordered to pay damages.)

Ten years ago: A tornado destroyed most of Greensburg, Kansas, killing at least 11 people. A judge sentenced hotel heiress Paris Hilton to 45 days in the Los Angeles County jail for violating probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case by driving with a suspended license. (Hilton ended up serving three weeks.)

Five years ago: The U.S. and China outlined a tentative deal to send Chen Guangcheng (chehn gwahng-chung), a blind legal activist, to America for study and potentially bring a face-saving end to a delicate diplomatic crisis. (Chen left China on May 19, 2012.) Adam Yauch, 47, the gravelly-voiced rapper who helped make The Beastie Boys one of the seminal groups in hip-hop, died in New York. Game show producer Bob Stewart, 91, died in Los Angeles.

One year ago: Sipping filtered city water to show it was again drinkable, President Barack Obama promised to ride herd on leaders at all levels of government until every drop of water flowing into homes in Flint, Michigan, was safe to use. The last man standing in Donald Trump’s path to the Republican nomination, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sihk), ended his campaign, making Trump the party’s presumptive nominee. Former U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, a lawmaker who shied from the spotlight but earned a reputation as someone who knew how to get things done in Washington, died in Arlington, Virginia, at age 82.

Today’s Birthdays: The former president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, is 89. Katherine Jackson, matriarch of the Jackson musical family, is 87. Jazz musician Ron Carter is 80. Rock musician Dick Dale is 80. Pulitzer Prize-winning political commentator George Will is 76. Pop singer Peggy Santiglia Davison (The Angels) is 73. Actor Richard Jenkins is 70. Country singer Stella Parton is 68. Actor-turned-clergyman Hilly Hicks is 67. Irish musician Darryl Hunt (The Pogues) is 67. Singer Jackie Jackson (The Jacksons) is 66. Singer-actress Pia Zadora is 65. Rhythm-and-blues singer Oleta Adams is 64. Violinist Soozie Tyrell (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band) is 60. Country singer Randy Travis is 58. Actress Mary McDonough is 56. Comedian Ana Gasteyer is 50. Actor Will Arnett is 47. Rock musician Mike Dirnt (Green Day) is 45. Contemporary Christian singer Chris Tomlin is 45. TV personality and fashion designer Kimora Lee Simmons is 42. Rock musician Jose Castellanos is 40. Sports reporter Erin Andrews is 39. Singer Lance Bass (‘N Sync) is 38. Actress Ruth Negga is 36. Rapper/singer Jidenna is 32. Actor Alexander Gould is 23. Country singer RaeLynn is 23. Actress Amara (uh-MAH’-ruh) Miller is 17.

Thought for Today: “When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.” — Henry J. Kaiser, American industrialist (1882-1967).