Today in History

AP News
|
Posted: May 06, 2011 12:01 AM
Today in History

Today is Friday, May 6, the 126th day of 2011. There are 239 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On May 6, 1861, Confederate President Jefferson Davis approved an act passed by the Confederate Congress recognizing that a state of war existed with the United States of America. Arkansas and Tennessee passed Ordinances of Secession from the Union. (Arkansas' secession took effect immediately; Tennessee's was ratified in a popular vote the following month.)

On this date:

In 1889, the Paris Exposition formally opened, featuring the just-completed Eiffel Tower.

In 1910, Britain's Edwardian era came to an end upon the death of King Edward VII; he was succeeded by George V.

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order creating the Works Progress Administration.

In 1937, the hydrogen-filled German airship Hindenburg burned and crashed in Lakehurst, N.J., killing 35 of the 97 people on board and a Navy crewman on the ground.

In 1941, Josef Stalin assumed the Soviet premiership, replacing Vyacheslav M. Molotov.

In 1942, during World War II some 15,000 Americans and Filipinos on Corregidor surrendered to Japanese forces.

In 1954, medical student Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile during a track meet in Oxford, England, in 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds.

In 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Civil Rights Act of 1960. Britain's Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones, a commoner, at Westminster Abbey. (They divorced in 1978.)

In 1981, Yale architecture student Maya Ying Lin was named winner of a competition to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

In 1994, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and French President Francois Mitterrand (frahn-SWAH' mee-teh-RAHN') formally opened the Channel Tunnel between their countries.

Ten years ago: John Paul II, during his visit to Syria, became the first pope to enter a mosque as he called for brotherhood between Christians and Muslims. American businessman Dennis Tito ended the world's first paid space vacation as he returned to Earth aboard a Russian capsule.

Five years ago: A British military helicopter apparently hit by a missile crashed in Basra, Iraq, killing four crew members. Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby. Lillian Gertrud Asplund, the last American survivor of the sinking of the Titanic, died in Shrewsbury, Mass., at age 99.

One year ago: A computerized sell order triggered a "flash crash" on Wall Street, sending the Dow Jones industrials to a loss of nearly 1,000 points in less than half an hour. Conservatives captured the largest number of seats in Britain's national election but fell short of a majority. (Conservative leader David Cameron ended up heading a coalition government.) A court in India sentenced to death the only surviving Pakistani gunman in the bloody 2008 Mumbai attacks. (Mohammed Ajmal Kasab is appealing his sentence.)

Today's Birthdays: Baseball Hall-of-Famer Willie Mays is 80. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., is 77. Rock singer Bob Seger is 66. Singer Jimmie Dale Gilmore is 66. Gospel singer-comedian Lulu Roman is 65. Actor Alan Dale is 64. Actor Ben Masters is 64. Actor Gregg Henry is 59. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is 58. TV personality Tom Bergeron is 56. Actress Roma Downey is 51. Rock singer John Flansburgh (They Might Be Giants) is 51. Actor George Clooney is 50. Actor Clay O'Brien is 50. Rock singer-musician Tony Scalzo (Fastball) is 47. Actress Leslie Hope is 46. Rock musician Mark Bryan (Hootie and the Blowfish) is 44. Rock musician Chris Shiflett (Foo Fighters) is 40. Actress Adrianne Palicki is 28. Actress Gabourey Sidibe (GA'-bah-ray SIH'-duh-bay) is 28.

Thought for Today: "Form ever follows function." _ Louis Sullivan, American architect (1856-1924).

(Above Advance for Use Friday, May 6)

Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.