Today in History

The Associated Press
·4-min read

Today in History

Today is Saturday, May 1, the 121st day of 2021. There are 244 days left in the year.

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 1915, the RMS Lusitania set sail from New York, headed for Liverpool, England (it was torpedoed and sunk by Germany off the coast of Ireland six days later).

In 1941, the Orson Welles motion picture “Citizen Kane” premiered in New York.

In 1945, a day after Adolf Hitler took his own life, Admiral Karl Doenitz effectively became sole leader of the Third Reich with the suicide of Hitler’s propaganda minister, Josef Goebbels.

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 1971, the intercity passenger rail service Amtrak went into operation.

In 1975, Hank Aaron of the Milwaukee Brewers broke baseball’s all-time RBI record previously held by Babe Ruth during a game against the Detroit Tigers (Milwaukee won, 17-3).

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 1998, Eldridge Cleaver, the fiery Black Panther leader who later renounced his past and became a Republican, died in Pomona, California, at age 62.

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 2015, Baltimore’s top prosecutor charged six police officers with felonies ranging from assault to murder in the death of Freddie Gray, who’d suffered a spinal injury while riding in a police van.

Ten years ago: 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.

Five years ago: A wildfire broke out near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada; in the days that followed, the blaze destroyed 2,400 homes and other buildings and forced more than 80,000 people to evacuate. After a half-century of waiting, Cuban-born passengers set sail from Miami on a historic cruise to Havana, the first such trip from the U.S. since recent policy changes. Elephants performed for the last time at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Providence, Rhode Island.

One year ago: A security guard at a Family Dollar store in Flint, Michigan, was shot and killed after a confrontation with the family of a woman he had told to leave the store because she wasn’t wearing a face mask. (Three people, including the woman’s mother, were charged with first-degree murder.) Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the state’s stay-at-home order would remain in place for two more weeks; her statement came on the same day that President Donald Trump tweeted that she should “make a deal” with protesters who gathered at the state Capitol a day earlier, some carrying assault weapons. U.S. regulators allowed emergency use of remdesivir, the first drug that appeared to help some COVID-19 patients recover faster. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden emphatically denied allegations from a former Senate staffer that he sexually assaulted her in the early 1990s, declaring flatly that “this never happened.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a ban on the sale and use of assault-style weapons in Canada, two weeks after a gunman killed 22 people in Nova Scotia.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer Judy Collins is 82. Actor Stephen Macht is 79. Singer Rita Coolidge is 76. Pop singer Nick Fortuna (The Buckinghams) is 75. Actor-director Douglas Barr is 72. Actor Dann Florek is 70. Singer-songwriter Ray Parker Jr. is 67. Actor Byron Stewart is 65. Hall of Fame jockey Steve Cauthen is 61. Actor Maia Morgenstern is 59. Actor Scott Coffey is 57. Country singer Wayne Hancock is 56. Actor Charlie Schlatter is 55. Country singer Tim McGraw is 54. Rock musician Johnny Colt is 53. Rock musician D’Arcy Wretzky is 53. Movie director Wes Anderson is 52. Actor Julie Benz is 49. Actor Bailey Chase is 49. Country singer Cory Morrow is 49. Gospel/rhythm-and-blues singer Tina Campbell (Mary Mary) is 47. Actor Darius McCrary is 45. Actor Jamie Dornan is 39. Actor Kerry Bishe is 37. TV personality Abby Huntsman is 35. Actor Lizzy Greene is 18.