On This Date In 1626 Dutch colonist Peter Minuit, hired by the Dutch West India Company to oversee its trading and colonizing activities in the Hudson River region, arrived on the wooded island of Manhattan in present-day New York, and became famous for purchasing Manhattan from resident Algonquin Indians for the equivalent of $24. The transaction was a mere formality, however, as the Dutch had already established the town of New Amsterdam at the southern end of the island. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/may04.html
On This Date In 1776 Rhode Island, the colony founded by the most radical religious dissenters from the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay Colony, became the first North American colony to renounce its allegiance to King George III. Ironically, Rhode Island would be the last state to ratify the new American Constitution more than 14 years later on May 29, 1790.
On This Date In 1864 The Overland Campaign, also known as Grant's Overland Campaign and the Wilderness Campaign, was a series of battles fought in Virginia May 4 – June 24, 1864, in the American Civil War. Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, general-in-chief of all Union armies, directed the actions of the Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, and other forces against Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Although Grant suffered severe losses during the campaign, it was a strategic Union victory. It inflicted proportionately higher losses on Lee's army and maneuvered it into a siege at Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia, in just over eight weeks.
On This Date In 1865 Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination on April 14, 1865, and his death while in a coma on April 15, was laid to rest in his hometown of Springfield, Illinois. His funeral train had traveled through 180 cities and seven states before reaching Springfield. At each stop, mourners paid their respects to Lincoln. Lincoln's son Willie, who died at age 11 from typhoid fever in 1862 and had originally been buried in Washington while Lincoln was serving as president, was interred next to his father in the family plot that same day.
On This Date In 1886 What began as a peaceful labor protest in Haymarket Square in Chicago, Illinois, turned into a riot, leaving more than 100 wounded and 8 police officers dead. After Chicago authorities arrested and detained nearly every anarchist and socialist in town, eight men, who were either speakers in or organizers of the protest, were charged with murder.
On This Date In 1894 Bird Day was first observed at the initiative of Charles Almanzo Babcock, superintendent of schools in Oil City, Pennsylvania. By 1910, Bird Day, the first holiday in the United States dedicated to the celebration of birds, was widely celebrated, often in conjunction with Arbor Day. Statewide observances of the two holidays inculcated conservation training and awareness in a broad spectrum of the public, especially school children.
On This Date In 1914 “Caught in the Rain,” an American comedy silent film made by Keystone Studios and starring Charlie Chaplin, was released. This 16 minute film produced by Mack Sennett was the first of many movies that Charlie Chaplin both directed and starred.
On This Date In 1924 The 1924 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the VIII Olympiad, was celebrated in Paris, France. The home city of Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern games, was selected over bids of Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, and Rome, though Paris had also hosted the 1900 Games. The cost of the Games of the VIII Olympiad was estimated to be 10,000,000₣. With total receipts at 5,496,610₣, the Olympics resulted in a hefty loss despite crowds that reached 60,000 people at a time.
On This Date In 1929 Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston (May 4, 1929 – January 20, 1993), British actress and humanitarian, who would one day be better known to legions of film fans as Audrey Hepburn, is born near Brussels, Belgium.
On This Date In 1935 John Robinson (May 4, 1935 - April 6, 2007), British sculptor and co-founder of the Bradshaw Foundation, was born in London, England. Accounts of his work may be seen at the Robinson estate website, the website of the Centre for the Popularisation of Mathematics and the June and July, 2007, issues of Hyperseeing. Among other distinctions, he was the Official Sculptor for the British Olympic Committee in 1988, and a University of Wales Honorary Fellow, 1992.
On This Date In 1942 The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought during May 4–8, 1942, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied naval and air forces from the United States and Australia. The battle was the first fleet action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other. It was also the first naval battle in history in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon the other. Although a tactical victory for the Japanese in terms of ships sunk, the battle would prove to be a strategic victory for the Allies in their ability to turn back Japanese expansion, and in keeping two Japanese carriers from participating in the following month in the Battle of Midway, another Allied victory. The succeeding Guadalcanal and New Guinea Campaigns took advantage of these vulnerabilities, eventually breaking Japanese defenses in the South Pacific and contributing significantly to Japan's ultimate defeat in World War II.
On This Date In 1944 “Gaslight,” a mystery-thriller film adapted from Patrick Hamilton's play, Gas Light, performed as Angel Street on Broadway in 1941, was released. It was the second version to be filmed; the first, released in the United Kingdom, had been made a mere four years earlier. This 1944 version of the story was directed by George Cukor and starred Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotten, and 18-year-old Angela Lansbury in her screen debut. It had a larger scale and budget and lends a different feel to the material than the earlier film.
On This Date In 1945 Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov informed U.S. Secretary of State Stettinius that the Red Army has arrested 16 Polish peace negotiators who had met with a Soviet army colonel near Warsaw back in March. When British Prime Minister Winston Churchill learned of the Soviet double-cross, he reacted in alarm, stating, “There is no doubt that the publication in detail of this event...would produce a primary change in the entire structure of world forces.” Churchill, fearing that the Russian forces were already beginning to exact retribution for losses suffered during the war (the Polish negotiators had been charged with “causing the death of 200 Red Army officers”), sent a telegram to President Harry Truman to express his concern that Russian demands of reparations from Germany, and the possibility of ongoing Russian occupation of Central and Eastern Europe, “constitutes an event in the history of Europe to which there has been no parallel.” Churchill clearly foresaw the “Iron Curtain” beginning to drop. Consequently, he sent a “holding force” to Denmark to cut off any farther westward advance by Soviet troops.
On This Date In 1948 “The Naked and the Dead,” the first novel by Norman Mailer, and based on his experiences with the 112th Cavalry Regiment during the Philippines Campaign (1944 – 45) in World War II, was published. It was later adapted into a film of the same name in 1958. The book is critically acclaimed and widely considered one of the best novels to come out of World War II.
On This Date In 1948 “Hamlet,” a British film adaptation of William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, adapted and directed by and starring Sir Laurence Olivier, was released. Hamlet was Olivier's second film as director, and also the second of the three Shakespeare films that he directed (the 1936 As You Like It had starred Olivier, but had been directed by Paul Czinner). Hamlet is the only one of Olivier's directorial efforts to be filmed in black and white, and was the first British film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. It is also the first sound film of the play in English. A 1935 sound film adaptation, Khoon Ka Khoon, had been made in India and filmed in the Urdu language.
On This Date In 1949 The Superga air disaster took place when a plane carrying almost the entire Torino A.C. football squad, popularly known as Il Grande Torino, crashed into the hill of Superga near Turin killing all 31 aboard including 18 players, club officials, journalists accompanying the team, and the plane's crew. The team was returning from a farewell match for Xico Ferreira against Benfica in Lisbon.
On This Date In 1954 “Prisoner of War,” an American war drama film directed by Andrew Marton and starring Ronald Reagan, Steve Forrest, Dewey Martin and Oskar Homolka, was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Capt. Robert H. Wise, who lost 90 lbs in a North Korean POW camp, served as the film's technical advisor and attested that all the torture scenes in the movie were based on actual incidents.
On This Date In 1959 “The 400 Blows,” a French film directed by François Truffaut, was released. One of the defining films of the French New Wave, it displays many of the characteristic traits of the movement. The film had a total of 3,642,981 admissions in France, making it Truffaut's most successful film to date in his home country.
On This Date In 1960 At a press conference, Secretary of State Dean Rusk reported that Viet Cong forces had grown to 12,000 men and that they had killed or kidnapped more than 3,000 persons in 1960. While declaring that the United States would supply South Vietnam with any possible help, he refused to say whether the United States would intervene militarily. At a press conference the next day, President John F. Kennedy said that consideration was being given to the use of United States forces. Kennedy's successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, did eventually commit more than 500,000 American troops to the war.
On This Date In 1961 Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern United States in 1961 and following years to test the United States Supreme Court decisions Boynton v. Virginia (1960) and Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia (1946). The first Freedom Ride left Washington, D.C., on May 4, 1961, and was scheduled to arrive in New Orleans on May 17. The Freedom Rides followed dramatic sit-ins against segregated lunch counters, conducted by students and youth throughout the South, and boycotts of retail establishments that maintained segregated facilities, beginning in 1960.
On This Date In 1965 San Francisco Giants outfielder Willie Mays hit his 512th career home run to break Mel Ott’s National League record for home runs. Mays would finish his career with 660 home runs, good for third on the all-time list at the time of his retirement.
On This Date In 1966 “Uptight (Everything's Alright),” the breakthrough album for artist Stevie Wonder, was released on Motown Records' Tamla label. The album features the U.S. Top 5 single “Uptight (Everything's Alright)”, which Wonder co-wrote with Sylvia Moy and Henry Cosby. The tracks on Uptight (Everything's Alright) were the beginning of Wonder's development into a mature recording artist, independent of his earlier “Little Stevie Wonder” moniker and his image as a young Ray Charles imitator. The album reached No.33 on the Billboard Pop Album charts and No.2 on the R&B Albums charts.
On This Date In 1969 The 1969 Stanley Cup Final was a best-of-seven series played from April 27 to May 4, 1969, between the defending champions Montreal Canadiens and the St. Louis Blues, the same finalists as in 1968. The Canadiens would win the series in four-straight games.
On This Date In 1970 The Kent State shootings occurred at Kent State University in the U.S. city of Kent, Ohio, and involved the shooting of unarmed college students by the Ohio National Guard. The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis. Some of the students who were shot had been protesting against the American invasion of Cambodia, which President Richard Nixon announced in a television address on April 30. Other students who were shot had been walking nearby or observing the protest from a distance.
On This Date In 1975 “Seven Beauties,” an Italian language film written and directed by Lina Wertmüller and starring Giancarlo Giannini, Fernando Rey, and Shirley Stoler, was released. The film received four Academy Award nominations, including for Best Foreign Language Film, and one Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Foreign Film.
On This Date In 1979 Margaret Thatcher, leader of the Conservative Party, was sworn in as Britain's first female prime minister. The Oxford-educated chemist and lawyer was sworn in the day after the Conservatives won a 44-seat majority in the general parliamentary elections.
On This Date In 1979 “Orchestral Favorites,” an album by Frank Zappa, was first released on his own DiscReet Records label. The album is instrumental and features music performed by the 37-piece Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra.
On This Date In 1982 “Stevie Wonder's Original Musiquarium I,” a compilation album by R&B/soul musician Stevie Wonder, was released as Tamla 6002. It collects eleven Top 40 hit singles, and one album track, taken from Wonder's “classic period” running from 1972 to 1980. It peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200, at #1 on the Top R&B Albums chart in the US, and went to #8 in the UK. It has been certified gold by the RIAA.
On This Date In 1984 “Sixteen Candles,” an American film starring Molly Ringwald, Michael Schoeffling and Anthony Michael Hall, was released through Universal Pictures. It was written and directed by John Hughes, and was a moderate success at the box office, grossing $23,686,027. In December 1984, Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall both won Young Artist Awards as “Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture” and “Best Young Actor in a Motion Picture” for their roles in the film respectively, becoming the first and only juvenile performers in the history of the Young Artist Awards to win the Best Leading Actress and Best Leading Actor awards for the same film (a distinction the film still holds as of 2012).
On This Date In 1984 Bruce Springsteen released “Pink Cadillac,” the B-side of his other single, “Dancing in the Dark”, which would become the first and biggest hit single off “Born in the U.S.A.,” the best-selling album of his career. The song received moderate airplay on album-oriented rock radio, appearing on the Billboard Top Tracks chart for 14 weeks, peaking at number 27. The song was also a prominent concert number during Springsteen's 1984-85 Born in the U.S.A. Tour.
On This Date In 1994 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat reached agreement in Cairo, Egypt on the first stage of Palestinian self-rule. The agreement was made in accordance with the Oslo Accords, signed in Washington, D.C. on September 13, 1993. This was the first direct, face-to-face agreement between Israel and the Palestinians and it acknowledged Israel's right to exist. It was also designed as a framework for future relations between the two parties.
On This Date In 2002 EAS Airlines Flight 4226 crashed into the town of Kano, Nigeria, killing 148 people. The Nigerian BAC 1-11-500 aircraft exploded in a densely populated section of the northern Nigerian city. With 69 passengers and 8 crew members on board, the plane burst into flames upon impact, resulting in the deaths of 64 passengers and 7 crew, in addition to at least 74 civilians on the ground.
On This Date In 2010 “Diamond Eyes,” the sixth album by American alternative metal band Deftones, was released worldwide through Warner Bros. and Reprise Records. Diamond Eyes was a critical and commercial success; obtaining a normalized score of 78 on review aggregator Metacritic, while achieving top 20 chartings on the Billboard 200, German Albums Chart and many other European charts. Debuting at Number 6, it was the band's highest charting album on the Billboard 200 since their album Deftones.
Happy Birthday Katherine Jackson (1930), George Will (1941), Cannonball Butler (1943), John Force (1949), Jackie Jackson (1951), Randy Travis (1959), Mary Elizabeth McDonough (1961), Ana Gasteyer (1967), Will Arnett (1970), Emily Perkins (1977), and Troy Murphy (1980).
RIP Horace Mann (1796 – 1859), Julia Gardiner Tyler (1820 – 1889), Thomas Henry Huxley (1825 – 1895), Esmond Knight (1906 – 1987), Maynard Ferguson (1928 – 2006), and Audrey Hepburn (1929 – 1993).
The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential...these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence. Confucius
The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius
In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of. Confucius
I offer neither pay, nor quarters, nor provisions; I offer hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles and death. Let him who loves his country in his heart and not with his lips only, follow me. Giuseppe Garibaldi
Let it be borne on the flag under which we rally in every exigency, that we have one country, one constitution, one destiny. Daniel Webster
Fort Hood is hosting a welcome home ceremony for Vietnam veterans May 21 at 10 a.m. Veterans will be paraded onto the III Corps Parade Field alongside active-duty Soldiers as the crowd welcomes them home. After the ceremony, veterans are invited to view the traveling Vietnam Wall, static military displays and more. Veterans who would like to participate in the ceremony should register at www.hood.army.mil/pww To date, more than 400 Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine veterans from across the nation have registered to participate. Video by Christie Vanovert, Fort Hood Public Affairs Office
God grant, that not only the Love of Liberty, but a thorough Knowledge of the Rights of Man, may pervade all the Nations of the Earth, so that a Philosopher may set his foot anywhere on its Surface, and say, “This is my Country.”. Benjamin Franklin
Remember to look up at the stars and not down to your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don't just give up. Professor Stephen Hawking on his 70th birthday