Today in History

Today in History

Today is Sunday, May 24, the 145th day of 2020. There are 221 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On May 24, 1844, Samuel F.B. Morse transmitted the message "What hath God wrought" from Washington to Baltimore as he formally opened America's first telegraph line.

On this date:

In 1775, John Hancock was unanimously elected President of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, succeeding Peyton Randolph.

In 1935, the first major league baseball game to be played at night took place at Cincinnati's Crosley Field as the Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 2-1.

In 1941, the German battleship Bismarck sank the British battle cruiser HMS Hood in the North Atlantic, killing all but three of the 1,418 men on board.

In 1961, a group of Freedom Riders was arrested after arriving at a bus terminal in Jackson, Miss., charged with breaching the peace for entering white-designated areas. (They ended up serving 60 days in jail.)

In 1962, astronaut Scott Carpenter became the second American to orbit the Earth as he flew aboard Aurora 7.

In 1974, American jazz composer and bandleader Duke Ellington, 75, died in New York.

In 1976, Britain and France opened trans-Atlantic Concorde supersonic transport service to Washington.

In 1991, the feminist film drama "Thelma & Louise," starring Susan Sarandon (as Louise) and Geena Davis (as Thelma), was released by MGM.

In 1994, four Islamic fundamentalists convicted of bombing New York's World Trade Center in 1993 were each sentenced to 240 years in prison.

In 1995, former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson died in London at age 79.

In 2001, 23 people were killed when the floor of a Jerusalem wedding hall collapsed beneath dancing guests, sending them plunging several stories into the basement.

In 2018, a gunman was shot and killed by two bystanders after opening fire at an Oklahoma City restaurant and wounding three patrons.

Ten years ago: Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen, the Obama administration's point man on the BP oil spill, rejected the idea of taking over the crisis, saying the government had neither BP's expertise nor its deep-sea equipment. The Supreme Court rejected the NFL’s request for broad antitrust law protection, saying that it had to be considered 32 separate teams — not one big business — when selling branded items like jerseys and caps. Lukas Lacko of Slovakia beat American Michael Yani in a 71-game match that tied for the most games in a French Open singles match since tiebreakers were instituted in 1973. (Lacko won 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-7 (5), 12-10 in a first-round match that began on a Sunday and finished after midnight.)

Five years ago: Conservative challenger Andrzej Duda (AHN'-zhray DOO'-dah) won Poland's presidential election, ousting the incumbent, Bronislaw Komorowski (kah-mah-RAWF'-skee), in a runoff vote. Juan Pablo Montoya sliced his way from the back to the front twice to win his second Indianapolis 500.

One year ago: A Wisconsin man, Jake Patterson, was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping 13-year-old Jayme Closs and killing her parents; the sentencing came after the girl told the judge that she wanted him “locked up forever.” (Patterson, who had held the girl under a bed in his remote cabin for 88 days before she made a daring escape, had pleaded guilty to intentional homicide and kidnapping.) Theresa May ended her failed three-year quest to lead Britain out of the European Union, announcing that she would step down as Conservative Party leader. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed a bill banning abortions on or beyond the eighth week of pregnancy without exceptions for cases of rape or incest, making it among the most restrictive abortion policies in the nation. (The law was blocked from taking effect after a court challenge.) Amanda Eller, a Hawaii woman, was found injured but alive in a forest on Maui after being missing for more than two weeks.

Today's Birthdays: Actor-comedian-impressionist Stanley Baxter is 94. Jazz musician Archie Shepp is 83. Comedian Tommy Chong is 82. Singer Bob Dylan is 79. Actor Gary Burghoff is 77. Singer Patti LaBelle is 76. Actress Priscilla Presley is 75. Country singer Mike Reid is 73. Actor Jim Broadbent is 71. Actor Alfred Molina is 67. Singer Rosanne Cash is 65. Actor Cliff Parisi is 60. Actress Kristin Scott Thomas is 60. Rock musician Jimmy Ashhurst (Buckcherry) is 57. Rock musician Vivian Trimble is 57. Actor John C. Reilly is 55. Actor Dana Ashbrook is 53. Actor Eric Close is 53. Actor Carl Payne is 51. Rock musician Rich Robinson is 51. Former MLB pitcher Bartolo Colon is 47. Actor Dash Mihok is 46. Actor Bryan Greenburg is 42. Actor Owen Benjamin is 40. Actor Billy L. Sullivan is 40. Actor-rapper Jerod Mixon (aka Big Tyme) is 39. Rock musician Cody Hanson (Hinder) is 38. Dancer-choreographer-singer Mark Ballas is 34. Country singer Billy Gilman is 32. Rapper/producer G-Eazy is 31. Actress Brianne Howey is 31. Actor Cayden Boyd is 26.

Thought for Today: "Responsibility educates." — Wendell Phillips, American abolitionist (1811-1884).

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