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It Happened in May!

Read about some of the many history-making events occurred in the month of May:

  • U-2 Incident - May 1, 1960.  An American U-2 spy plane was shot down over Russia, causing an international incident and heightening Cold War tensions.
  • Mary "Mother" Jones born - May 1, 1830. The American labor was born in County Cork, Ireland.
  • Golda Meir born - May 3, 1898. The future prime minister of Israel (1969-74) was born in Kiev, Russia.
  • Haymarket Square Riot - May 4, 1886. Riot occurs at a labor demonstration in Chicago supporting the eight-hour work day when an unknown person threw a bomb.
  • Alan Shepard in Space - May 5, 1961. Shepard became the first American in space when the Freedom 7 was launched 116 miles above the earth.
  • Nellie Bly born - May 5, 1869. The journalist and social reformer was born in Pennsylvania.
  • Lusitania sunk - May 7, 1915. The British passenger ship was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine, resulting in 1,198 deaths.
  • Battle of the Coral Sea - May 8, 1945. Japan suffered its first defeat of the war.
  • Transcontinental Railroad completed - May 10, 1869. The Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads were united at Promontory Point, Utah.
  • Mandela inaugurated - May 10, 1994. Nelson Mandela inaugurated as president of South Africa.
  • Mexican War - May 13, 1846. Congress declared war on Mexico setting of the war that lasted until 1848.
  • Jamestown - May 14, 1607. The first permanent English settlement was established at Jamestown, Virginia.
  • Lewis & Clark - May 14, 1804. Meriwether Lewis & William Clark departed St. Louis on the first leg of their exploratory expedition.
  • Brown v. Board of Education - May 17, 1954. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that school desegregation based on race to be unconstitutional.
  • Napoleon - May 18, 1804. Napoleon Bonaparte crowned Emperor of France.
  • Amelia Earhart flies solo - May 20, 1932. Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
  • Samuel Morse - May 24, 1844. Samuel Morse sent the first official telegraph message.
  • Constitutional Convention - May 25, 1787. The U.S. Constitutional Convention began in Philadelphia.
  • Dunkirk Evacuation - May 26, 1940. The evacuation of Dunkirk began, saving the British Expeditionary Force which was trapped on the coast of France by the advancing German army.
  • Lincoln Memorial - May 30, 1922.  Located on the National Mall, this monument was dedicated after taking eight years to complete.
  • Johnstown Flood - May 31, 1899.  2,300 people were killed in Johnstown Pennsylvania when the South Fork Dam collapsed.