Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Friday, May 20, the 141st day of 2016. There are 225 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 20, 1916, the Saturday Evening Post published its first Norman Rockwell cover; the illustration shows a scowling boy dressed in his Sunday best, dutifully pushing a baby carriage past a couple of young baseball players, one of whom mockingly doffs his cap.

On this date:

In 1712, the original version of Alexander Pope’s satirical mock-heroic poem “The Rape of the Lock” was published anonymously in Lintot’s Miscellany.

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, which was intended to encourage settlements west of the Mississippi River by making federal land available for farming.

In 1902, the United States ended a three-year military presence in Cuba as the Republic of Cuba was established under its first elected president, Tomas Estrada Palma.

In 1925, the newly built headquarters of the United States Chamber of Commerce was formally dedicated in Washington, D.C.

In 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, New York, aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on his historic solo flight to France.

In 1932, Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. (Because of weather and equipment problems, Earhart set down in Northern Ireland instead of her intended destination, France.)

In 1942, during World War II, the Office of Civilian Defense was established.

In 1956, the United States exploded the first airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.

In 1961, a white mob attacked a busload of Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Alabama, prompting the federal government to send in U.S. marshals to restore order.

In 1970, some 100,000 people demonstrated in New York’s Wall Street district in support of U.S. policy in Vietnam and Cambodia.

In 1988, Laurie Dann, 30, walked into a Winnetka, Illinois, elementary school classroom, where she shot to death 8-year-old Nicholas Corwin and wounded several other children. After wounding a young man at his home, Dann took her own life.

In 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Romer v. Evans, struck down, 6-3, a Colorado measure banning laws that protected homosexuals from discrimination.

Ten years ago: Iraq’s new unity government took office, five months after elections. Federal agents searched the Capitol Hill office of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., as part of a bribery investigation. (Jefferson was convicted in 2009 of taking bribes; he received a 13-year federal prison sentence.) New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was re-elected. An explosion killed five miners in an eastern Kentucky coal mine. Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro broke three bones in his right hind leg at the start of the Preakness; Bernardini won the race. Barry Bonds tied Babe Ruth for second place on the career list with his 714th home run.

Five years ago: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the idea of using his country’s 1967 boundaries as the basis for a neighboring Palestinian state, declaring his objections during a face-to-face meeting with President Barack Obama, who had raised the idea in an effort to revive stalled Mideast peace talks. The former head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was released from a New York City jail after spending nearly a week incarcerated on charges of trying to rape a hotel chambermaid. (The charges were later dropped.) Randy “Macho Man” Savage, 58, a larger-than-life personality from professional wrestling’s 1980s heyday, died in Pinellas County, Florida.

One year ago: Four of the world’s biggest banks – JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup’s banking unit Citicorp, Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland – agreed to pay more than $5 billion in penalties and plead guilty to rigging the currency markets. Islamic State extremists captured the ancient desert city of Palmyra in central Syria, a stunning triumph for the group only days after it had captured the strategic city of Ramadi in Iraq. Mary Ellen Trainor, 62, a character actress and philanthropist who’d appeared in “The Goonies” and “Lethal Weapon” films, died in Montecito, California.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor-author James McEachin is 86. Actor Anthony Zerbe is 80. Actor David Proval is 74. Singer-actress Cher is 70. Actor-comedian Dave Thomas is 68. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, is 65. Rock musician Warren Cann is 64. Former New York Gov. David Paterson is 62. Actor Dean Butler is 60. TV-radio personality Ron Reagan is 58. Rock musician Jane Wiedlin (The Go-Go’s) is 58. Actor Bronson Pinchot is 57. Singer Susan Cowsill is 57. Actor John Billingsley is 56. Actor Tony Goldwyn is 56. Singer Nick Heyward is 55. TV personality Ted Allen is 51. Actress Mindy Cohn is 50. Rock musician Tom Gorman (Belly) is 50. Actress Gina Ravera is 50. Actor Timothy Olyphant is 48. Race car driver Tony Stewart is 45. Rapper Busta Rhymes is 44. Actress Daya Vaidya is 43. Rock musician Ryan Martinie is 41. Actor Matt Czuchry is 39. Actress Angela Goethals is 39. Actress-singer Naturi Naughton is 32.

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