Today in History

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Today is Wednesday, May 9, the 129th day of 2018. There are 236 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 9, 1958, “Vertigo,” Alfred Hitchcock’s eerie thriller starring James Stewart and Kim Novak, premiered in San Francisco, the movie’s setting.

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On this date:

In 1754, a political cartoon in Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette depicted a snake cut into eight pieces, each section representing a part of the American colonies; the caption read, “JOIN, or DIE.”

In 1814, the Jane Austen novel “Mansfield Park” was first published in London.

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson, acting on a joint congressional resolution, signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

In 1918, CBS newsman Mike Wallace was born Myron Leon Wallace in Brookline, Massachusetts.

In 1926, Americans Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett supposedly became the first men to fly over the North Pole. (However, U.S. scholars announced in 1996 that their examination of Byrd’s flight diary suggested he had turned back 150 miles short of his goal.)

In 1936, Italy annexed Ethiopia.

In 1945, with World War II in Europe at an end, Soviet forces liberated Czechoslovakia from Nazi occupation. U.S. officials announced that a midnight entertainment curfew was being lifted immediately.

In 1961, in a speech to the National Association of Broadcasters, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton N. Minow decried the majority of television programming as a “vast wasteland.”

In 1978, the bullet-riddled body of former Italian prime minister Aldo Moro, who had been abducted by the Red Brigades, was found in an automobile in the center of Rome.

In 1980, 35 people were killed when a freighter rammed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay in Florida, causing a 1,400-foot section of the southbound span to collapse.

In 1994, South Africa’s newly elected parliament chose Nelson Mandela to be the country’s first black president.

In 2012, President Barack Obama declared his unequivocal support for same-sex marriage in a historic announcement that came three days after Vice President Joe Biden spoke in favor of such unions on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Ten years ago: Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama picked up the backing of nine superdelegates, all but erasing Hillary Rodham Clinton’s once-imposing lead. Jury selection began in the Chicago trial of R&B superstar R. Kelly, accused of videotaping himself having sex with a girl as young as 13. (Kelly was later acquitted on all counts.) Journalist-feminist Nuala O’Faolain, who gained international fame with her outspoken memoir “Are You Somebody?” in 1966, died in Dublin, Ireland, at age 68.

Five years ago: Afghan President Hamid Karzai (HAH’-mihd KAHR’-zeye), who had irked Washington with his frequent criticism of U.S. military operations in his country, said his government was ready to let the U.S. have nine bases across Afghanistan after the withdrawal of most foreign forces in 2014. A 72-foot-long, high-tech catamaran sailboat capsized in San Francisco Bay while practicing for the America’s Cup races, killing English Olympic gold medalist Andrew “Bart” Simpson. Malcolm Shabazz, 28, grandson of civil rights activist Malcolm X, died in Mexico City of blunt trauma injuries sustained in a bar dispute.

One year ago: President Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey, ousting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the midst of an FBI investigation into whether Trump’s campaign had ties to Russia’s meddling in the election that sent him to the White House. The Senate confirmed Dr. Scott Gottlieb as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, 57-42. Moon Jae-in declared victory in South Korea’s presidential election after his two main rivals conceded. Actor Michael Parks (“Then Came Bronson”) died in Los Angeles at age 77.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor-writer Alan Bennett is 84. Actor Albert Finney is 82. Actress-turned-politician Glenda Jackson is 82. Producer-director James L. Brooks is 81. Musician Sonny Curtis (Buddy Holly and the Crickets) is 81. Singer Tommy Roe is 76. Singer-musician Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield and Poco) is 74. Actress Candice Bergen is 72. Pop singer Clint Holmes is 72. Actor Anthony Higgins is 71. Singer Billy Joel is 69. Blues singer-musician Bob Margolin is 69. Rock singer-musician Tom Petersson (Cheap Trick) is 68. Actress Alley Mills is 67. Actress Amy Hill is 65. Actress Wendy Crewson is 62. Actor John Corbett is 57. Singer Dave Gahan (GAHN) (Depeche Mode) is 56. Actress Sonja Sohn is 54. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is 50. Rapper Ghostface Killah is 48. Country musician Mike Myerson (Heartland) is 47. Actor Chris Diamantopoulos (dy-uh-MAN’-toh-POO’-lehs) is 43. Rhythm-and-blues singer Tamia (tuh-MEE’-ah) is 43. Rock musician Dan Regan (Reel Big Fish) is 41. Actor Daniel Franzese is 40. Rock singer Pierre Bouvier (Simple Plan) is 39. Actress Rosario Dawson is 39. Rock singer Andrew W.K. is 39. Figure skater Angela Nikodinov is 38. Actress Rachel Boston is 36. TV personality Audrina Patridge is 33. Actress Grace Gummer is 32.