Today in History – Friday, May 13, 2016
On May 13, 1916, one of Yiddish literature’s most famous authors, Sholem Aleichem, died in New York at age 57.
On this date:
In 1607, English colonists arrived by ship at the site of what became the Jamestown settlement in Virginia (the colonists went ashore the next day).
In 1846, the United States declared that a state of war already existed with Mexico.
In 1918, the first U.S. airmail stamps, featuring a picture of a Curtiss JN-4 biplane, were issued to the public. (On a few of the stamps, the biplane was inadvertently printed upside-down, making them collector’s items.)
In 1935, T.E. Lawrence was critically injured in a motorcycle accident in Dorset, England; he died six days later.
In 1940, in his first speech as British prime minister, Winston Churchill told Parliament, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”
In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Act. The musical play “The Pajama Game” opened on Broadway.
In 1958, Vice President Richard Nixon and his wife, Pat, were spat upon and their limousine battered by rocks thrown by anti-U.S. demonstrators in Caracas, Venezuela.
In 1968, a one-day general strike took place in France in support of student protesters.
In 1973, in tennis’ first so-called “Battle of the Sexes,” Bobby Riggs defeated Margaret Court 6-2, 6-1 in Ramona, California. (Billie Jean King soundly defeated Riggs at the Houston Astrodome in September.)
In 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot and seriously wounded in St. Peter’s Square by Turkish assailant Mehmet Ali Agca (MEH’-met AH’-lee AH’-juh).
In 1985, a confrontation between Philadelphia authorities and the radical group MOVE ended as police dropped a bomb onto the group’s row house; 11 people died in the resulting fire that destroyed 61 homes.
In 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court, in 44 Liquormart v. Rhode Island, unanimously struck down Rhode Island’s ban on ads that listed or referred to liquor prices, saying the law violated free-speech rights.
Ten years ago: Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton helped Tulane University in New Orleans celebrate its “miracle” commencement, nine months after Hurricane Katrina put two-thirds of the campus under water and scattered students to more than 600 schools nationwide.
Five years ago: Two suicide bombers attacked paramilitary police recruits heading home after months of training in northwest Pakistan, killing 87 people in what the Pakistan Taliban called revenge for the U.S. slaying of Osama bin Laden. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi taunted NATO in an audio broadcast, saying he was alive despite a series of airstrikes and “in a place where you can’t get to and kill me.” Sen. George Mitchell announced his resignation as the Obama administration’s special envoy to the Mideast.
One year ago: The House voted 338-88 to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records and replace it with a system to search the data held by telephone companies on a case-by-case basis. (The measure was passed by the Senate, and signed into law by President Barack Obama.) Prosecutors and defense attorneys made their final appeals to the jury that would decide the fate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR’ tsahr-NEYE’-ehv) as jurors began deliberating whether the Boston Marathon bomber should get life in prison or the death penalty. (The jury voted unanimously for death.)
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Buck Taylor is 78. Actor Harvey Keitel is 77. Author Charles Baxter is 69. Actress Zoe Wanamaker is 68. Actor Franklyn Ajaye is 67.
Singer Stevie Wonder is 66. Actress Leslie Winston is 60. Producer-writer Alan Ball is 59. Basketball Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman is 55. “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert (kohl-BEHR’) is 52. Rock musician John Richardson (The Gin Blossoms) is 52. Actor Tom Verica is 52. Country singer Lari White is 51. Singer Darius Rucker (Hootie and the Blowfish) is 50. Actress Susan Floyd is 48. Contemporary Christian musician Andy Williams (Casting Crowns) is 44. Actress Samantha Morton is 39. Rock musician Mickey Madden (Maroon 5) is 37. Actor Iwan Rheon is 31. Actress-writer-director Lena Dunham is 30. Actor Robert Pattinson is 30. Actress Candice Accola King is 29. Actor Hunter Parrish is 29. Folk-rock musician Wylie Gelber (Dawes) is 28. Actress Debby Ryan is 23.
Thought for Today: “To want to be the cleverest of all is the biggest folly.” — Sholem Aleichem (1859-1916).
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