Today in History – Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Today is Wednesday, May 18, the 139th day of 2016. There are 227 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 18, 1926, evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson vanished while visiting a beach in Venice, California. (McPherson reappeared more than a month later, saying she’d escaped after being kidnapped and held for ransom, an account that was received with skepticism.)

On this date:

In 1642, the Canadian city of Montreal was founded by French colonists.

In 1765, about one-fourth of Montreal was destroyed by a fire.

In 1896, the Supreme Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson, endorsed “separate but equal” racial segregation, a concept renounced 58 years later in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

In 1910, Halley’s Comet passed by earth, brushing it with its tail.

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure creating the Tennessee Valley Authority.

In 1934, Congress approved, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed, the so-called “Lindbergh Act,” providing for the death penalty in cases of interstate kidnapping.

In 1944, during World War II, Allied forces finally occupied Monte Cassino in Italy after a four-month struggle with Axis troops.

In 1953, Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier as she piloted a Canadair F-86 Sabre jet over Rogers Dry Lake, California.

In 1969, astronauts Eugene A. Cernan, Thomas P. Stafford and John W. Young blasted off aboard Apollo 10 on a mission to orbit the moon.

In 1973, Harvard law professor Archibald Cox was appointed Watergate special prosecutor by U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson.

In 1980, the Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington state exploded, leaving 57 people dead or missing.

In 1991, Helen Sharman became the first Briton to rocket into space as she flew aboard a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft with two cosmonauts on an eight-day mission to the Mir space station.

Ten years ago: Visiting one of the busiest crossing sectors between the U.S. and Mexico, President George W. Bush said in Yuma, Arizona, that it made sense to put up fencing along parts of the border but not to block off the entire 2,000-mile length to keep immigrants from entering the U.S. illegally. Prisoners with makeshift weapons battled guards trying to save a detainee pretending to commit suicide at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in what military officials said was a coordinated attack that left six prisoners injured.

Five years ago: Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, resigned, saying he wanted to devote all his energy to battling the sexual assault charges he faced in New York. (The charges were later dropped.) The United States slapped sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad and six others for human rights abuses over their brutal crackdown on anti-government protests, for the first time personally penalizing the Syrian leader for the actions of his security forces.

One year ago: President Barack Obama ended long-running federal transfers of some combat-style gear to local law enforcement in an attempt to ease tensions between police and minority communities, saying equipment made for the battlefield should not be a tool of American criminal justice. An 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said a three-member panel of the same court should not have forced YouTube to take down an anti-Muslim film that sparked violence in the Middle East and death threats to actors.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Bill Macy is 94. Actress Priscilla Pointer is 92. Hall-of-Fame sportscaster Jack Whitaker is 92. Actor Robert Morse is 85. Actor Dwayne Hickman is 82. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Brooks Robinson is 79. Actress Candice Azzara is 75. Bluegrass singer-musician Rodney Dillard (The Dillards) is 74. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Reggie Jackson is 70. Country singer Joe Bonsall (The Oak Ridge Boys) is 68. Rock musician Rick Wakeman (Yes) is 67. Rock singer Mark Mothersbaugh (Devo) is 66. Actor James Stephens is 65. Country singer George Strait is 64. Rhythm-and-blues singer Butch Tavares (Tavares) is 63. Actor Chow Yun-Fat is 61. Rock singer-musician Page Hamilton is 56. Contemporary Christian musician Barry Graul (MercyMe) is 55. Contemporary Christian singer Michael Tait is 50. Singer-actress Martika is 47. Comedian-writer Tina Fey is 46. Rapper Special Ed is 42. Rock singer Jack Johnson is 41. Country singer David Nail is 37. Rhythm-and-blues singer Darryl Allen (Mista) is 36. Actor Matt Long is 36. Actor Allen Leech is 35. Christian-rock musician Kevin Huguley (Rush of Fools) is 34. Christian singer Francesca Battistelli is 31. Actor Spencer Breslin is 24.

Thought for Today: “Never do anything you wouldn’t want to explain to the paramedics.” — Author unknown.

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