Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 5, 1961, astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. became America’s first space traveler as he made a 15-minute suborbital flight aboard Mercury capsule Freedom 7.
On this date:
In 1494, during his second voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus landed in Jamaica.
In 1821, Napoleon Bonaparte, 51, died in exile on the island of St. Helena.
In 1925, schoolteacher John T. Scopes was charged in Tennessee with violating a state law that prohibited teaching the theory of evolution. (Scopes was found guilty, but his conviction was later set aside.)
In 1942, wartime sugar rationing began in the United States.
In 1945, in the only fatal attack of its kind during World War II, a Japanese balloon bomb exploded on Gearhart Mountain in Oregon, killing the pregnant wife of a minister and five children. Denmark and the Netherlands were liberated as a German surrender went into effect.
In 1973, Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby, the first of his Triple Crown victories.
In 1981, Irish Republican Army hunger-striker Bobby Sands died at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland on his 66th day without food.
In 1994, Singapore caned American teenager Michael Fay for vandalism, a day after the sentence was reduced from six lashes to four in response to an appeal by President Bill Clinton.
In 2009, Texas health officials confirmed the first death of a U.S. resident with swine flu.
In 2014, a narrowly divided Supreme Court upheld Christian prayers at the start of local council meetings.
In 2016, former Los Angeles trash collector Lonnie Franklin Jr. was convicted of 10 counts of murder in the “Grim Sleeper” serial killings that targeted poor, young Black women over two decades.
In 2020, Tyson Foods said it would resume limited operation of its huge pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, with enhanced safety measures, more than two weeks after closing the facility because of a coronavirus outbreak among workers. Facebook said it had removed several accounts and pages linked to QAnon, taking action for the first time against the far-right conspiracy theory circulated among Trump supporters.
Ten years ago: Five Guantanamo Bay prisoners, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (HAH’-leed shayk moh-HAH’-mehd), the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, were arraigned in a proceeding that dragged on for 13 hours due to stalling tactics by the defendants.
Five years ago: President Donald Trump signed his first piece of major legislation, a $1 trillion spending bill to keep the government operating through September. The Labor Department reported a burst of hiring in April 2017 as employers added 211,000 jobs, more than double the weak showing in March.
One year ago: A federal judge in Washington ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exceeded its authority when it imposed a national eviction moratorium. (The moratorium would remain in place during a Justice Department appeal; it was allowed to expire at the end of July.) The Biden administration joined calls for lifting patent protections on COVID-19 vaccines to help poor parts of the world get more doses. Four months after Facebook suspended the accounts of former President Donald Trump, the company’s quasi-independent oversight board upheld the bans, but told Facebook to specify how long they would last. Peloton recalled about 125,000 treadmills; the Tread+ treadmills had been linked to the death of one child and injuries to 29 others. A government report said the U.S. birth rate had fallen by 4% in 2021, the largest single-year decrease in nearly 50 years.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Pat Carroll is 95. Country singer-musician Roni Stoneman is 84. Actor Michael Murphy is 84. Actor Lance Henriksen is 82. Comedian-actor Michael Palin is 79. Actor John Rhys-Davies is 78. Rock correspondent Kurt Loder is 77. Rock musician Bill Ward (Black Sabbath) is 74. Actor Melinda Culea is 67. Actor Lisa Eilbacher is 65. Actor Richard E. Grant is 65. Former broadcast journalist John Miller is 64. Rock singer Ian McCulloch (Echo and the Bunnymen) is 63. Broadcast journalist Brian Williams is 63. Rock musician Shawn Drover (Megadeth) is 56. TV personality Kyan (KY’-ihn) Douglas is 52. Actor Tina Yothers is 49. R&B singer Raheem DeVaughn is 47. Actor Santiago Cabrera is 44. Actor Vincent Kartheiser is 43. Singer Craig David is 41. Actor Danielle Fishel is 41. Actor Henry Cavill is 39. Actor Clark Duke is 37.
Soul singer Adele is 34. Rock singer Skye Sweetnam is 34. R&B singer Chris Brown is 33. Figure skater Nathan Chen is 23.