Today in History

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Posted: May 24, 2011 12:00 AM
Today in History

Today is Tuesday, May 24, the 144th day of 2011. There are 221 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On May 24, 1844, Samuel F.B. Morse transmitted the message, "What hath God wrought" from Washington to Baltimore as he formally opened America's first telegraph line.

On this date:

In 1775, John Hancock was elected President of the Continental Congress, succeeding Peyton Randolph.

In 1819, Queen Victoria was born in London.

In 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge, linking Brooklyn and Manhattan, was dedicated by President Chester Alan Arthur and New York Gov. Grover Cleveland, and opened to traffic.

In 1935, the first major league baseball game to be played at night took place at Cincinnati's Crosley Field as the Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 2-1.

In 1941, the German battleship Bismarck sank the British dreadnought HMS Hood in the North Atlantic, killing all but three of the 1,418 men on board.

In 1959, former U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles died in Washington, D.C. at age 71.

In 1961, a group of Freedom Riders was arrested after arriving at a bus terminal in Jackson, Miss., charged with breaching the peace for entering white-designated areas. (They ended up serving 60 days in jail.)

In 1962, astronaut Scott Carpenter became the second American to orbit the Earth as he flew aboard Aurora 7.

In 1976, Britain and France opened trans-Atlantic Concorde supersonic transport service to Washington.

In 1980, Iran rejected a call by the World Court in The Hague to release the American hostages.

Ten years ago: Democrats gained control of the U.S. Senate for the first time since 1994 when Vermont Sen. James Jeffords abandoned the Republican Party and declared himself an independent. Twenty-three people were killed when the floor of a Jerusalem wedding hall collapsed beneath dancing guests, sending hundreds of people plunging several stories into the basement.

Five years ago: In rare, election-year harmony, House Republican and Democratic leaders jointly demanded the FBI return documents taken in a Capitol Hill raid as part of a bribery investigation of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-La. (President George W. Bush ordered the documents placed under temporary seal; Jefferson was later found guilty of bribery and is appealing his conviction.) Taylor Hicks was named the new "American Idol" over runner-up Katharine McPhee.

One year ago: Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen, the Obama administration's point man on the BP oil spill, rejected the idea of taking over the crisis, saying the government had neither BP's expertise nor its deep-sea equipment. The Supreme Court rejected the National Football League's request for broad antitrust law protection, saying that it must be considered 32 separate teams _ not one big business _ when selling branded items like jerseys and caps. Lukas Lacko of Slovakia beat American Michael Yani in a 71-game match that tied for the most games in a French Open singles match since tiebreakers were instituted in 1973. (Lacko won 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-7 (5), 12-10 in a first-round match that began on a Sunday and finished after midnight Monday.)

Today's Birthdays: Comedian Tommy Chong is 73. Singer Bob Dylan is 70. Actor Gary Burghoff is 68. Singer Patti LaBelle is 67. Actress Priscilla Presley is 66. Country singer Mike Reid is 64. Actor Jim Broadbent is 62. Actor Alfred Molina is 58. Singer Rosanne Cash is 56. Actress Kristin Scott Thomas is 51. Rock musician Jimmy Ashhurst (Buckcherry) is 48. Rock musician Vivian Trimble is 48. Actor John C. Reilly is 46. Actor Eric Close is 44. Rapper-recording executive Heavy D is 44. Rock musician Rich Robinson is 42. Actor Bryan Greenburg is 33. Actor Billy L. Sullivan is 31. Actor-rapper Jerod Mixon (aka Big Tyme) is 30. Rock musician Cody Hanson (Hinder) is 29. Country singer Billy Gilman is 23. Actor Cayden Boyd is 17.

Thought for Today: "If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin." _ Ivan Turgenev, Russian author (1818-1883).

(Above Advance for Use Tuesday, May 24)

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