Today In History...
In 1840 The first adhesive postage stamps, "Penny Blacks" from England, are issued.
In 1860 The first school for the deaf is founded.
In 1869 Folies-Bergere opens in Paris, France.
In 1873 The first penny postcards in America are issued.
In 1884 Construction begins on the first skyscraper, a 10-story structure in Chicago, IL, built by the Home Insurance Company of New York.
In 1893 The World's Columbian Exposition is officially opened in Chicago by President Cleveland.
In 1898 Commodore George Dewey gives the famous command, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley," as American naval forces destroy the Spanish Fleet in Manila Bay.
In 1931 New York's 102-story Empire State Building is dedicated.
In 1941 The Orson Welles film "Citizen Kane" opens at Radio City Music Hall.
In 1941 The cereal Cheerios is introduced by General Mills.
In 1945 A day after Adolf Hitler committed suicide, it is announced that Admiral Karl Doenitz had succeeded Hitler as leader of the Third Reich.
In 1947 Radar for commercial and private planes is first demonstrated.
In 1948 People's Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) is proclaimed.
In 1952 Mr. Potato Head, a put-together plastic toy, goes on sale.
In 1960 The Soviet Union shoots down an American U-2 reconnaissance plane near Sverdlovsk and captured its pilot, Francis Gary Powers.
In 1961 The first U.S. plane is hijacked to Cuba.
In 1961 Fidel Castro announces there will be no more elections in Cuba.
In 1963 James Whittaker of Redmond, Washington, becomes the first American to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
In 1967 Anastasio Somoza Debayle becomes president of Nicaragua.
In 1971 Amtrak, which combined and streamlined the operations of 18 intercity passenger railroads, begins service for the first time.
In 1972 "The Tonight Show" moves from New York City to Burbank, CA.
In 1978 Ernest Morial becomes the first black mayor of New Orleans, LA.
In 1981 Senator Harrison A. Williams Jr. (D-NJ) is convicted in New York of charges related to the FBI's "ABSCAM" investigation.
In 1983 President Reagan visits the Vietnam Veterans Memorial for the first time, placing a bouquet of yellow and pink flowers in front of the black granite walls.
In 1984 President Reagan ends his six-day visit to China, boarding Air Force One in Shanghai, then flying to Fairbanks, Alaska.
In 1985 Arriving in West Germany, President Reagan begins a four-nation European visit by clamping a trade embargo on Nicaragua.
In 1987 During a visit to West Germany, Pope Paul II beatified Editih Stein, a Jewish-born Carmelite Nun gassed in a Nazi death camp.
In 1988 Newsweek reports that, according to a memoir by former White House chief of staff Donald Reagan, astrology had influenced the planning of President Reagan's schedule.
In 1989 Exxon proposes to let about half of Alaska's oily beaches clean themselves naturally, but the plan is rejected.
In 1989 The U.S. Supreme Court rules that an employer has the legal burden of proving that its refusal to hire or promote someone is based on legitimate and not discriminatory reasons.
In 1990 Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and other Kremlin leaders are jeered by thousands of people during the annual May Day parade in Red Square.
In 1991 Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers throws his 7th no-hitter, shutting out the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-0. On the same day, Rickey Henderson of the Oakland A's set a major league record by stealing his 939th base during a game against the New York Yankees.
In 1992 On the third day of the Los Angeles riots, beaten motorist Rodney King appears in public to appeal for calm, asking, "Can we all get along?"
In 1993 The president of Sri Lanka (Ranasinghe Premadasa) is assassinated by a suicide bomber.
In 1994 Thirteen Rwandan Red Cross workers are killed along with 21 orphans in Butare, Rwanda.
In 1994 Israeli and PLO delegates open a final round of talks in Cairo, Egypt, on Palestinian autonomy prior to the signing of an agreement on self-rule.
In 1995 Charges that Qubilah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X, plotted to murder Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan are dropped.
In 1996 PLO leader Yasser Arafat receives a statesman's welcome at the White House, where he met with President Clinton, then lashed out at Israel for keeping its borders closed to Palestinian workers.
In 1997 The Swiss government appoints Elie Wiesel as honorary chairman of a multi-million dollar fund for Holocaust victims.
In 1998 Eldridge Cleaver, the fiery Black Panther leader who later renounced his past and became a Republican, dies at age 62.
In 1999 The "Liberty Bell 7," the Mercury space capsule flown by Gus Grissom, is found in the Atlantic 300 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral, 38 years after it sank.
In 1999 An amphibious boat sank at Hot Springs, AR, killing 13.
In 2000 About 3.5 million Time Warner cable subscribers temporarily lose seven ABC stations over quarrel about transmission rights.
In 2000 Actor Steve Reeves ("Hercules") dies at age 74.
In 2001 President Bush commits the U.S. to building a shield against ballistic missile attack.
In 2001 Thomas Blanton Jr. becomes the second ex-Ku Klux Klansman to be convicted in the 1963 bombing of a church in Birmingham that killed four black girls.
In 2004 Smarty Jones wins the Kentucky Derby, the first unbeaten Derby winner since Seattle Slew in 1977.
In 2011 56.5 million watched President Obama's speech announcing the death of Public Eneny #1 Osama bin Laden.
In 2020 May Day