Happy May! Here is a list of some important historical dates for the month for teachers, students and administrators.
May 1, 1960 – An American U-2 spy plane was shot down over Sovietl Russia on the eve of a summit meeting between President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet Russia’s Premier Nikita Khrushchev. The sensational incident caused a cancellation of the meeting and heightened existing Cold War tensions.
May 2, 2011 – U.S. Special Operations Forces killed Osama bin Laden during a raid on his secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Osama bin Laden was behind the coordinated attacks in the United States on September 11,2001.
May 3, 1802 – Washington, D.C. was incorporated as a city.
May 4, 1970 – At Kent State University, four students were killed by National Guardsmen who opened fire on a crowd of students protesting President Richard Nixon’s decision to invade Cambodia.
May 5, 1961 – Alan Shepard became the first American in space. He piloted the spacecraft Freedom 7 during a 15-minute 28-second suborbital flight that reached an altitude of 116 miles above the earth.
May 6, 1937 – The German airship Hindenburg burst into flames at 7:20 p.m. as it neared the mooring mast at Lakehurst, New Jersey, following a trans-Atlantic voyage.
May 7, 1915 – The British passenger ship Lusitania was torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland;198 passengers died, including 114 Americans. The attack accelerated neutral America’s entry into World War I.
May 8, 1942 – During World War II in the Pacific, the Battle of the Coral Sea began in which Japan would suffer its first defeat of the war.
May 9, 1862 – During the American Civil War, General David Hunter, Union Commander of the Department of the South, issued orders freeing the slaves in South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia.
May 10, 1869 – The newly constructed tracks of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railways were first linked at Promontory Point, Utah with a golden spike.
May 11, 1888 – Songwriter Irving Berlin was born (as Israel Isidore Baline) in Tyumen, Russia. He became one of America’s greatest songwriters, best known for songs such as God Bless America, White Christmas, and There’s No Business Like Show Business.
May 12, 1820 – British nurse and public health activist Florence Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy. She contributed to the development of modern nursing procedures, and emphasized the dignity of nursing as a profession for women.
May 13, 1846 – At the request of President James K. Polk, Congress declared war on Mexico. The controversial struggle eventually cost the lives of 11,300 U.S. soldiers and resulted in the annexation of lands that became parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah, and Colorado.
May 14, 1804 – Meriwether Lewis and William Clark departed St. Louis on their expedition to explore the Northwest.
May 15, 1972 – George Wallace was shot while campaigning for the presidency in Laurel, Maryland. As a result, Wallace was permanently paralyzed from the waist down.
May 16, 2011 – NASA Space shuttle Endeavour launched for its final commission in space.
May 17, 1954 – In Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that segregation of public schools “solely on the basis of race” denied African American children “equal educational opportunity.”
May 18, 1804 – Napoleon Bonaparte became Emperor of France, snatching the crown from the hands of Pope Pius VII during the actual coronation ceremony, and then crowning himself.
May 19, 1925 – African American nationalist and civil rights activist Malcolm X was born in Omaha, Nebraska. While in prison, he adopted the Islamic religion and after his release in 1952, worked for the Nation of Islam.
May 20, 1932 – Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. She departed Newfoundland, Canada, and landed near Londonderry, Ireland, completing a 2,026-mile flight in about 13 hours.
May 21, 1881 – The American Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton. The organization today provides volunteer disaster relief in the U.S. and abroad.
May 22, 1972 – President Richard Nixon became the first American president to visit Moscow.
May 23, 1430 – Joan of Arc is captured at Compiegne and sold to the English.
May 24, 1844 – Telegraph inventor Samuel Morse sent the first official telegraph message, “What hath God wrought?” from the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. to Baltimore.
May 25, 1787 – The Constitutional Convention began in Philadelphia with delegates from seven states, forming a quorum.
May 26, 1878 – Interpretive dancer Isadora Duncan was born in San Francisco. She revolutionized the entire concept of dance by developing a free-form style and rebelled against tradition, performing barefoot in a loose fitting tunic.
May 27, 1937 – In San Francisco, 200,000 people celebrated the grand opening of the Golden Gate Bridge by strolling across it.
May 28, 1961 – Amnesty International was founded by London lawyer Peter Berenson. He read about the arrest of a group of students in Portugal, then launched a one-year campaign to free them called Appeal for Amnesty.
May 29, 1865 – Following the American Civil War, President Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation granting general amnesty to Confederates.
May 30, 1783 – The Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first daily newspaper published in America.
May 31, 1819 – American poet Walt Whitman was born in Long Island, New York. His poem Leaves of Grass is considered an American classic. His poetry celebrated modern life and took on subjects considered taboo at the time.