Today in History
Today is Wednesday, May 18, the 138th day of 2022. There are 227 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 18, 1980, the Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington state exploded, leaving 57 people dead or missing.
On this date:
In 1652, Rhode Island became the first American colony to pass a law abolishing African slavery; however, the law was apparently never enforced.
In 1863, the Siege of Vicksburg began during the Civil War, ending July 4 with a Union victory.
In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson, endorsed “separate but equal” racial segregation, a concept renounced 58 years later by Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.
In 1910, Halley’s Comet passed by earth, brushing it with its tail.
In 1927, in America’s deadliest school attack, part of a schoolhouse in Bath Township, Michigan, was blown up with explosives planted by local farmer Andrew Kehoe, who then set off a bomb in his truck; the attacks killed 38 children and six adults, including Kehoe, who’d earlier killed his wife. (Authorities said Kehoe, who suffered financial difficulties, was seeking revenge for losing a township clerk election.)
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 1973, Harvard law professor Archibald Cox was appointed Watergate special prosecutor by U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson.
In 1981, the New York Native, a gay newspaper, carried a story concerning rumors of “an exotic new disease” among homosexuals; it was the first published report about what came to be known as AIDS.
In 1998, the U.S. government filed an antitrust case against Microsoft, saying the powerful software company had a “choke hold” on competitors that was denying consumers important choices about how they bought and used computers. (The Justice Department and Microsoft reached a settlement in 2001.)
In 2015, 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.
In 2020, President Donald Trump said he’d been taking a malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, and a zinc supplement to protect against the coronavirus despite warnings from his own government that the drug should be administered only in a hospital or research setting. Moderna announced that an experimental vaccine against the coronavirus showed encouraging results in early testing.
Ten years ago: Social network Facebook made its trading debut with one of the most highly anticipated IPOs in Wall Street history; however, by day’s end, Facebook stock closed up only 23 cents from its initial pricing of $38. In his first meeting with President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande (frahn-SWAH’ oh-LAWND’) declared he would withdraw all French combat troops from Afghanistan by year’s end.
Five years ago: President Donald Trump denounced the appointment of a special counsel to investigate his campaign’s potential ties with Russia, repeatedly calling it an unprecedented “witch hunt” that “hurts our country terribly.” Roger Ailes, who created and ruled Fox News Channel for two decades before being ousted for alleged sexual harassment, died in Palm Beach, Florida, at age 77.
One year ago: Palestinians across Israel and the occupied territories went on strike in a rare collective protest of Israel’s policies; the action came as Israeli missiles toppled a six-story building in Gaza and militants in the Hamas-ruled territory fired dozens of rockets that killed two people. The New York attorney general’s office said it was conducting a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s business empire, expanding what had previously been a civil probe. Actor and writer Charles Grodin, whose films included “Midnight Run” and “The Heartbreak Kid,” died in Connecticut of bone marrow cancer at 86.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Priscilla Pointer is 98. Baseball Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson is 84. Actor Candice Azzara is 81. Bluegrass singer-musician Rodney Dillard (The Dillards) is 80. Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson is 76. Former Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is 74. Country singer Joe Bonsall (The Oak Ridge Boys) is 74. Rock musician Rick Wakeman (Yes) is 73. Rock singer Mark Mothersbaugh (Devo) is 72. Actor James Stephens is 71. Country singer George Strait is 70. Actor Chow Yun-Fat is 67. International Tennis Hall of Famer Yannick Noah is 62. Rock singer-musician Page Hamilton is 62. Contemporary Christian musician Barry Graul (MercyMe) is 61. Contemporary Christian singer Michael Tait is 56. Singer-actor Martika is 53. Comedian-writer Tina Fey is 52. Rock singer Jack Johnson is 47. Country singer David Nail is 43. Actor Matt Long is 42. Actor Allen Leech is 41. Christian singer Francesca Battistelli is 37. Actor Spencer Breslin is 30. Actor Violett Beane is 26. Actor Hala Finley is 13.