Today in History
Today is Thursday, May 31, the 151st day of 2018. There are 214 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 31, 1921, a race riot erupted in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as white mobs began looting and leveling the affluent black district of Greenwood over reports a black man had assaulted a white woman in an elevator; hundreds are believed to have died.
On this date:
In 1578, the Christian catacombs of ancient Rome were accidentally discovered by workers digging in a vineyard along the Via Salaria.
In 1669, English diarist Samuel Pepys (peeps) wrote the final entry of his journal, blaming his failing eyesight for his inability to continue.
In 1790, President George Washington signed into law the first U.S. copyright act.
In 1889, some 2,200 people in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, perished when the South Fork Dam collapsed, sending 20 million tons of water rushing through the town.
In 1916, during World War I, British and German fleets fought the naval Battle of Jutland off Denmark; there was no clear-cut victor, although the British suffered heavier losses.
In 1935, movie studio 20th Century Fox was created through a merger of the Fox Film Corp. and Twentieth Century Pictures.
In 1949, former State Department official and accused spy Alger Hiss went on trial in New York, charged with perjury (the jury deadlocked, but Hiss was convicted in a second trial).
In 1962, former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel a few minutes before midnight for his role in the Holocaust.
In 1977, the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline, three years in the making despite objections from environmentalists and Alaska Natives, was completed. (The first oil began flowing through the pipeline 20 days later.)
In 1985, 88 people were killed, more than 1,000 injured, when 41 tornadoes swept through parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and Ontario, Canada, during an 8-hour period.
In 1994, the United States announced it was no longer aiming long-range nuclear missiles at targets in the former Soviet Union.
In 2005, breaking a silence of 30 years, former FBI official W. Mark Felt stepped forward as “Deep Throat,” the secret Washington Post source during the Watergate scandal.
Ten years ago: Space shuttle Discovery and a crew of seven blasted into orbit, carrying a giant Japanese lab addition to the international space station.
Five years ago: A tornado in the Oklahoma City metro area claimed eight lives, including those of storm chasers Tim Samaras, his son, Paul, and Carl Young; 13 people died in flash flooding. Four firefighters searching for people in a blazing Houston motel and restaurant were killed when part of the structure collapsed. Actress Jean Stapleton, who played Archie Bunker’s far better half, the sweetly naive Edith, in TV’s groundbreaking 1970s comedy “All in the Family,” died in New York at age 90.
One year ago: President Donald Trump welcomed Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (nuh-WEE’-ihn SOO’-an FOOK) to the White House for talks focusing on the American trade deficit. A suicide attacker struck the fortified heart of the Afghan capital Kabul with a massive truck bomb that killed more than 150 people. CBS announced that Scott Pelley was being removed as anchor of “The CBS Evening News” after six years.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor-director Clint Eastwood is 88. Singer Peter Yarrow is 80. Humanitarian Terry Waite is 79. Singer-musician Augie Meyers is 78. Actress Sharon Gless is 75. Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath is 75. Broadcast journalist/commentator Bernard Goldberg is 73. Actor Tom Berenger is 68. Actor Gregory Harrison is 68. Actor Kyle Secor is 61. Actress Roma Maffia (ma-FEE’-uh) is 60. Comedian Chris Elliott is 58. Actress Lea Thompson is 57. Singer Corey Hart is 56. Actor Hugh Dillon is 55. Rapper DMC is 54. Actress Brooke Shields is 53. Country musician Ed Adkins (The Derailers) is 51. TV host Phil Keoghan is 51. Jazz musician Christian McBride is 46. Actress Archie Panjabi is 46. Actress Merle Dandridge (TV: “Greenleaf”) is 43. Actor Colin Farrell is 42. Rock musician Scott Klopfenstein (Reel Big Fish) is 41. Actor Eric Christian Olsen is 41. Rock musician Andy Hurley (Fall Out Boy) is 38. Country singer Casey James (TV: “American Idol”) is 36. Actor Jonathan Tucker is 36. Rapper Waka Flocka Flame is 32. Actor Curtis Williams Jr. is 31. Pop singer Normani Hamilton (Fifth Harmony) is 22.
Thought for Today: “The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges, or churches, or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors, but always most in the common people.” — Walt Whitman, American poet and essayist (born this date in 1819, died in 1892).