Today in History


Today in History

Today is Tuesday, May 2, the 122nd day of 2017. There are 243 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 2, 1927, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Buck v. Bell, upheld 8-1 a Virginia law allowing the forced sterilization of people to promote the “health of the patient and the welfare of society.” (On this date in 2002, Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner apologized for the state’s thousands of forced sterilizations from 1924 to 1979, calling the practice “a shameful effort.”)

On this date:

In 1863, during the Civil War, Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was accidentally wounded by his own men at Chancellorsville, Virginia; he died eight days later.

In 1890, the Oklahoma Territory was organized.

In 1908, the original version of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” with music by Albert Von Tilzer and lyrics by Jack Norworth, was published by Von Tilzer’s York Music Co.

In 1936, “Peter and the Wolf,” a symphonic tale for children by Sergei Prokofiev, had its world premiere in Moscow.

In 1946, violence erupted during a foiled escape attempt at the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in San Francisco Bay; the “Battle of Alcatraz” claimed the lives of three inmates and two correctional officers before it was put down two days later.

In 1952, commercial jet service began as a BOAC de Havilland Comet carrying 36 passengers and seven crew members took off from London on a flight to Johannesburg with five stopovers along the way.

In 1957, crime boss Frank Costello narrowly survived an attempt on his life in New York; the alleged gunman, Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, was acquitted at trial after Costello refused to identify him as the shooter. Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., died at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.

In 1965, Intelsat 1, also known as the Early Bird satellite, was first used to transmit television pictures across the Atlantic.

In 1970, jockey Diane Crump became the first woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby; she finished in 15th place aboard Fathom. (The winning horse was Dust Commander.)

In 1982, the Weather Channel made its debut.

In 1997, a new national memorial honoring President Franklin D. Roosevelt was officially opened in Washington, D.C. Tony Blair, whose new Labour Party crushed John Major’s long-reigning Conservatives in a national election, became at age 43 Britain’s youngest prime minister in 185 years.

In 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed by elite American forces at his Pakistan compound, then quickly buried at sea after a decade on the run. Because of the time difference, bin Laden’s death came May 1, U.S. time.

Ten years ago: In a defeat for anti-war Democrats, Congress failed to override President George W. Bush’s veto of legislation requiring the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. In a speech to construction contractors in Washington, President Bush declared al-Qaida “public enemy no. 1 in Iraq.”

Five years ago: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich formally exited the Republican presidential contest. Taliban insurgents attacked a compound housing foreigners in the Afghan capital, killing seven people, hours after President Barack Obama made a surprise visit. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (ahng sahn soo chee) was sworn in to Myanmar’s military-backed parliament. Former NFL star Junior Seau (SAY’-ow) was found shot to death at his home in Oceanside, California, a suicide. Jered Weaver pitched the second no-hitter in the majors in less than two weeks, completely overmatching Minnesota and leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 9-0 win over the Twins.

One year ago: The first U.S. cruise ship in nearly 40 years pulled into Havana Harbor, restarting commercial travel on waters that had served as a stage for a half-century of Cold War hostility. Ashlynne Mike, an 11-year-old Navajo girl, was abducted on the Navajo Nation; she was found dead the next day in the desert south of Shiprock, New Mexico. (A suspect has pleaded not guilty to murder, sexual abuse and other charges.) Afeni Shakur, the former Black Panther who inspired the work of her son, rap icon Tupac Shakur, died in Sausalito, California, at age 69.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer Engelbert Humperdinck is 81. Former International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge is 75. Actress-activist Bianca Jagger is 72. Country singer R.C. Bannon is 72. Actor David Suchet (SOO’-shay) is 71. Singer-songwriter Larry Gatlin is 69. Rock singer Lou Gramm (Foreigner) is 67. Actress Christine Baranski is 65. Singer Angela Bofill is 63. Fashion designer Donatella Versace is 62. Actor Brian Tochi is 58. Movie director Stephen Daldry is 57. Actress Elizabeth Berridge is 55. Country singer Ty Herndon is 55. Actress Mitzi Kapture is 55. Broadcast journalist Mika Brzezinski is 50. Rock musician Todd Sucherman (Styx) is 48. Wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson (AKA The Rock) is 45. Soccer player David Beckham is 42. Actress Jenna Von Oy is 40. Actress Ellie Kemper is 37. Actor Robert Buckley is 36. Actor Gaius (GY’-ehs) Charles is 34. Pop singer Lily Rose Cooper is 32. Olympic gold medal figure skater Sarah Hughes is 32. Rock musician Jim Almgren (Carolina Liar) is 31. Actor Thomas McDonell is 31. Actress Kay Panabaker is 27. Princess Charlotte of Cambridge is two.

Thought for Today: “We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.” — Henry Ward Beecher, American clergyman (1813-1887).