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Notable Historic Events

May 1st

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Empire State Building

1931...As part of the dedication of the Empire State Building, President Herbert Hoover flips a switch from the White House and all the lights in the building turn on. The Empire State Building is a staggering 1,250 feet high. The construction, which only takes one year, is a boon to thousands of men needing work during the depression. The building brings a sense of pride to the state of New York, and will go on to become one of its most iconic symbols. The building continues to be the largest building in the world until 1972, when the World Trade Towers are built. Today the height of the building is behind 23 other buildings. The Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai, which is 2,717 feet tall, is now the tallest building in the world.

1960...Gary Powers'  U-2 spy plane is shot down over the Soviet Union.

1963...James Whittaker becomes the first American to summit Mt. Everest. He is from Washington State.

May 2nd

Lou Gehrig

Lou Gehrig

1939...Lou Gehrig ends his streak of consecutive baseball games played over thirteen years. He has played 2,130 games.

1997...Tony Blair becomes prime minister of Great Britain.

2011...Osama bin Laden is killed by US Navy Seals.

May 3rd

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher

1979...Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female Prime Minister of Great Britain.

1951...Congressional hearings are held to discuss the dismissal of General Douglas MacArthur. President Truman and General MacArthur disagree on how to handle the Cold War. MacArthur thinks that President Truman is weak on communism. President Truman believes that following MacArthur's ideas would lead to World War III with Russia. MacArthur begins talking against the President's policies and President Truman has no choice but to relieve the general of his command in Korea. This does not sit well with the public, as General MacArthur gained fame and prestige during WWII. Congress investigates the dismissal, but in the end the Congress lets it go, unable to make any conclusions.  During MacArthur's long testimony the public comes to realize that the general's views are indeed extreme.

May 4th

Kent State University Riot

Kent State University Riot

1776...Rhode Island becomes the first American colony to renounce its allegiance to King George III.

1886...The Haymarket riot starts as a labor protest near Haymarket Square in Chicago, Illinois. Working conditions are terrible in the late 1880s. There are many more people who want and need to work than there are jobs. Employers are taking advantage of the situation with poor working conditions and low wages. Unions are forming and workers are beginning to strike. The labor protest at Haymarket Square was meant to be peaceful. On this occasion the workers were demanding an 8-hour work day. When someone threw a bomb at the police gunfire broke out, and seven policemen and several people in the crowd were killed. Dozens were injured. The immediate result of this incident was a temporary setback for the labor unions, although many people viewed the labor leaders as martyrs. Labor Unions will continue to rise, and many years later the site of this incident will become a National Historic Landmark.

May 5th

Alan Shepard Jr.

Alan Shepard

1821...Napoleon Bonaparte dies in exile on the Island of St. Helena in the southern Atlantic Ocean.

1961...Alan Shepard becomes the first American to travel into space.

1904...Cy Young, pitching for the Boston Red Sox,  pitches a perfect game.

May 6th

The Hindenburg

The Hindenburg

1937...The Hindenburg, a German dirigible, bursts into flames while landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey.  Thirty-six passengers and crew members are killed while spectators on the ground watch in horror.

1954...Roger Bannister breaks the four-minute mile on a track in Oxford, England.

1994...The tunnel under the English Channel opens.

May 7

The Lusitania

The Lusitania

1915...The Lusitania is torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland. Almost 1,200 people drown, including 128 Americans.

1969...Brezhnev becomes president of the USSR.

May 8th

Beatles Album " Let It Be"

The Beatles

1945...The United States and Britain celebrate V-E Day.  The Germans have surrendered unconditionally, and the 6-year war in Europe is over.

1970...The last album by the Beatles, Let It Be, is released shortly after their breakup.

May 9th

Buffalo Bill

1887...Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show opens in London, England.

1914...President Woodrow Wilson issues a presidential proclamation to establish Mother's Day. It is to be celebrated each year on the second Sunday of May.

1950...Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health is publish by L Ron Hubbard.  This leads to the birth of scientology.

1955...West Germany joins NATO.

May 10th

Winstron Churchill

Winston Churchill

1869...The Transcontinental Railroad is completed. The Union Pacific and Central Pacific lines meet in Promontory, Utah

1940...Winston Churchill becomes prime minister of Britain.

1994...Nelson Mandela is sworn in as President of South Africa.

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