Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 1, 2011, President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden during a U.S. commando operation. (Because of the time difference, it was early May 2 in Pakistan, where the al-Qaida leader met his end.)
On this date:
In 1707, the Kingdom of Great Britain was created as a treaty merging England and Scotland took effect.
In 1866, three days of race-related rioting erupted in Memphis, Tennessee, as white mobs targeted Blacks, 46 of whom were killed, along with two whites. (The violence spurred passage of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining American citizenship and equal protection under the law.)
In 1960, the Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance plane over Sverdlovsk and captured its pilot, Francis Gary Powers.
In 1963, James W. Whittaker became the first American to conquer Mount Everest as he and Sherpa guide Nawang Gombu reached the summit.
In 1964, the computer programming language BASIC (Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) was created by Dartmouth College professors John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz.
In 1971, the intercity passenger rail service Amtrak went into operation.
In 1989, Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios) Florida theme park opened to the public.
In 1991, Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers threw his seventh no-hitter at age 44, shutting out the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0.
In 1992, on the third day of the Los Angeles riots, a visibly shaken Rodney King appeared in public to appeal for calm, pleading, “Can we all get along?”
In 2009, Supreme Court Justice David Souter announced his retirement effective at the end of the court’s term in late June. (President Barack Obama chose federal judge Sonia Sotomayor to succeed him.)
In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI beatified Pope John Paul II, moving his predecessor a step closer to sainthood in a Vatican Mass attended by some 1.5 million pilgrims.
In 2015, Baltimore’s top prosecutor charged six police officers with felonies ranging from assault to murder in the death of Freddie Gray, a Black man who’d suffered a spinal injury while riding in a police van. (None of the officers would be convicted.)
In 2020, U.S. regulators allowed emergency use of remdesivir, the first drug that appeared to help some COVID-19 patients recover faster.
Ten years ago: In a swift and secretive trip to the Afghan war zone, President Barack Obama signed an agreement vowing long-term ties with Afghanistan after America’s combat forces returned home.
Five years ago: Erasing the threat of a disruptive government shutdown, the White House and top lawmakers endorsed a $1.1 trillion spending bill to carry the nation through September 2017. Ryan Seacrest made his debut as the new co-host of the morning chat show “Live” with Kelly Ripa.
One year ago: The final phase of ending the U.S. military role in Afghanistan formally began; President Joe Biden had set May 1 as the official start of the withdrawal of the remaining U.S. and NATO troops. Utah Republicans narrowly rejected an effort to censure Sen. Mitt Romney for his votes against President Donald Trump at his impeachment trials. Olympia Dukakis, a veteran stage and screen actor who won an Oscar as Cher’s mother in the romantic comedy “Moonstruck,” died at her New York home at 89. Medina Spirit, trained by Bob Baffert, won the Kentucky Derby by a half-length over Mandaloun. (A post-race drug test was positive for a banned steroid, which would lead to the horse’s disqualification and Baffert’s suspension. Medina Spirit collapsed and died in December 2021 after a workout.)
Today’s Birthdays: Singer Judy Collins is 83. Actor Stephen Macht is 80. Singer Rita Coolidge is 77. Pop singer Nick Fortuna (The Buckinghams) is 76. Actor-director Douglas Barr is 73. Actor Dann Florek is 71.
Singer-songwriter Ray Parker Jr. is 68. Actor Byron Stewart is 66. Hall of Fame jockey Steve Cauthen is 62. Actor Maia Morgenstern is 60. Actor Scott Coffey is 58. Country singer Wayne Hancock is 57. Actor Charlie Schlatter is 56. Country singer Tim McGraw is 55. Rock musician Johnny Colt is 54. Rock musician D’Arcy Wretzky is 54. Movie director Wes Anderson is 53. Actor Julie Benz is 50. Actor Bailey Chase is 50. Country singer Cory Morrow is 50. Gospel/R&B singer Tina Campbell (Mary Mary) is 48. Actor Darius McCrary is 46. Actor Jamie Dornan is 40. Actor Kerry Bishe is 38. TV personality Abby Huntsman is 36. Actor Lizzy Greene is 19.