Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 10, 1869, a golden spike was driven in Promontory, Utah, marking the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States.
On this date:
In 1774, Louis XVI acceded to the throne of France.
In 1775, Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys, along with Col. Benedict Arnold, captured the British-held fortress at Ticonderoga, New York.
In 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured by Union forces in Irwinville, Georgia.
In 1924, J. Edgar Hoover was named acting director of the Bureau of Investigation (later known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI).
In 1933, the Nazis staged massive public book burnings in Germany.
In 1940, during World War II, German forces began invading the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and France. The same day, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned, and Winston Churchill formed a new government.
In 1941, Adolf Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess, parachuted into Scotland on what he claimed was a peace mission. (Hess ended up serving a life sentence at Spandau Prison until 1987, when he apparently committed suicide at age 93.)
In 1977, Academy Award-winning film star Joan Crawford died in New York.
In 1994, Nelson Mandela took the oath of office in Pretoria to become South Africa’s first Black president. The state of Illinois executed serial killer John Wayne Gacy, 52, for the murders of 33 young men and boys.
In 1995, former President George H.W. Bush’s office released his letter of resignation from the National Rifle Association in which Bush expressed outrage over an NRA fund-raising letter’s reference to federal agents as “jack-booted thugs.” (NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre apologized a week later.)
In 2002, A tense 39-day-old standoff between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem ended with 13 suspected militants flown into European exile and 26 released into the Gaza Strip.
In 2010, President Barack Obama introduced Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, billing her as a unifying force for a fractured court.
Ten years ago: The bulging Mississippi River rolled into the Mississippi Delta after cresting before daybreak at Memphis, Tennessee, causing widespread damage. In a one-two punch against Moammar Gadhafi’s forces, NATO warplanes struck a command center in Tripoli and pounded targets around the besieged port of Misrata.
Five years ago: With his White House dreams fading, Bernie Sanders added another state to his tally against Hillary Clinton with a win in West Virginia; Republican Donald Trump also won there and in Nebraska, a week after he cleared the field of his remaining rivals. Stephen Curry became the first unanimous NBA MVP, earning the award for the second straight season after leading the defending champion Warriors to a record-setting season.
One year ago: Vice President Mike Pence was said to be self-isolating at home, two days after his press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive for the coronavirus. American families celebrated Mother’s Day amid the social distancing restrictions caused by the coronavirus.
Today’s Birthdays: Author Barbara Taylor Bradford is 88. R&B singer Henry Fambrough (The Spinners) is 83. Actor David Clennon is 78. Writer-producer-director Jim Abrahams is 77. Singer Donovan is 75.
Singer-songwriter Graham Gouldman (10cc) is 75. Singer Dave Mason is 75. Actor Mike Hagerty is 67. Sports anchor Chris Berman is 66. Actor Bruce Penhall is 64. Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., is 63. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., is 62. Actor Victoria Rowell is 62. Rock singer Bono (U2) is 61. Former Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., is 61. Rock musician Danny Carey (Tool) is 60. Actor Darryl M. Bell is 58. Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks is 58. Model Linda Evangelista is 56. Rapper Young MC is 54. Actor Erik Palladino is 53. Rock singer Richard Patrick (Filter) is 53. Actor Lenny Venito is 52. Actor Dallas Roberts is 51. Actor Leslie Stefanson is 50. Actor-singer Todd Lowe is 49. Actor Andrea Anders is 46. Race car driver Helio Castroneves is 46. Rock musician Jesse Vest is 44. Actor Kenan Thompson is 43. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jason Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) is 41. Actor Odette Annable is 36. Actor Lindsey Shaw is 32. Actor Lauren Potter is 31. Olympic gold medal swimmer Missy Franklin is 26.