Today in History

Published 12:01 am Friday, May 18, 2018

Today is Friday, May 18, the 138th day of 2018. There are 227 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 18, 1953, Jacqueline Cochran, 47, became the first woman to break the sound barrier as she piloted a Canadair F-86 Sabre jet over Rogers Dry Lake, California.

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On this date:

In 1152, Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, married Henry, Duke of Normandy (the future King Henry II), two months after her marriage to King Louis VII of France was annulled.

In 1642, the Canadian city of Montreal was founded by French colonists. (On this date in 1765, one-quarter of Montreal was destroyed by a fire.)

In 1652, Rhode Island became the first American colony to pass a law abolishing African slavery; however, the law was apparently never enforced.

In 1781, Peruvian revolutionary Tupac Amaru II, 43, was forced to witness the execution of his relatives by the Spanish in the main plaza of Cuzco before being beheaded.

In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson, endorsed “separate but equal” racial segregation, a concept renounced 58 years later by Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

In 1926, evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson vanished while visiting a beach in Venice, California. (McPherson reappeared more than a month later, saying she’d escaped after being kidnapped and held for ransom, an account greeted with skepticism.)

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure creating the Tennessee Valley Authority.

In 1944, during World War II, Allied forces occupied Monte Cassino in Italy after a four-month struggle with Axis troops.

In 1967, Tennessee Gov. Buford Ellington signed a measure repealing the law against teaching evolution that was used to prosecute John T. Scopes in 1925.

In 1973, Harvard law professor Archibald Cox was appointed Watergate special prosecutor by U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson.

In 1980, the Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington state exploded, leaving 57 people dead or missing.

In 1998, the U.S. government filed an antitrust case against Microsoft, saying the powerful software company had a “choke hold” on competitors that was denying consumers important choices about how they bought and used computers. (The Justice Department and Microsoft reached a settlement in 2001.)

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush lectured the Arab world about everything from political repression to the denial of women’s rights in a speech at the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheik. Kenny Chesney was named entertainer of the year by the Academy of Country Music for the fourth straight time. Russia won its first title at the world hockey championships since 1993 with a 5-4 win over Canada.

Five years ago: A car driven by an 87-year-old man plowed into dozens of hikers during a parade in Damascus, Virginia, injuring about 50 people. (The driver, who suffered from a medical condition, was not charged.) French President Francois Hollande (frahn-SWAH’ oh-LAWND’) signed a law authorizing same-sex marriages and adoption by gay couples. Oxbow, ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, led from start to finish to win the Preakness; Kentucky Derby winner Orb came in fourth.

One year ago: President Donald Trump denounced the appointment of a special counsel to investigate his campaign’s potential ties with Russia, repeatedly calling it an unprecedented “witch hunt” that “hurts our country terribly.” A driver who told police he was high on drugs plowed through a pedestrian-packed sidewalk in New York’s Times Square; a Michigan teen was killed, and 22 other people were injured. Roger Ailes, who created and ruled Fox News Channel for two decades before being ousted for alleged sexual harassment, died in Palm Beach, Florida, at age 77.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Bill Macy is 96. Actress Priscilla Pointer is 94. Hall of Fame sportscaster Jack Whitaker is 94. Actor Robert Morse is 87. Actor Dwayne Hickman is 84. Baseball Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson is 81. Actress Candice Azzara is 77. Bluegrass singer-musician Rodney Dillard (The Dillards) is 76. Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson is 72. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is 70. Country singer Joe Bonsall (The Oak Ridge Boys) is 70. Rock musician Rick Wakeman (Yes) is 69. Rock singer Mark Mothersbaugh (Devo) is 68. Actor James Stephens is 67. Country singer George Strait is 66. Actor Chow Yun-Fat is 63. International Tennis Hall of Famer Yannick Noah is 58. Rock singer-musician Page Hamilton is 58. Contemporary Christian musician Barry Graul (MercyMe) is 57. Contemporary Christian singer Michael Tait is 52. Singer-actress Martika is 49. Comedian-writer Tina Fey is 48. Rapper Special Ed is 44. Rock singer Jack Johnson is 43. Country singer David Nail is 39. Rhythm-and-blues singer Darryl Allen (Mista) is 38. Actor Matt Long is 38. Actor Allen Leech is 37. Christian-rock musician Kevin Huguley (Rush of Fools) is 36. Christian singer Francesca Battistelli is 33. Actor Spencer Breslin is 26. Actress Hala Finley is nine.