Today in History

AP News
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Posted: May 15, 2016 12:05 AM

Today is Sunday, May 15, the 136th day of 2016. There are 230 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On May 15, 1776, Virginia authorized its delegation to the Continental Congress to support independence from Britain.

On this date:

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed an act establishing the Department of Agriculture.

In 1886, poet Emily Dickinson died in Amherst, Massachusetts, at age 55.

In 1911, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Standard Oil Co. was a monopoly in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and ordered its breakup.

In 1930, registered nurse Ellen Church, the first airline stewardess, went on duty aboard an Oakland-to-Chicago flight operated by Boeing Air Transport (a forerunner of United Airlines).

In 1940, DuPont began selling its nylon stockings nationally. The original McDonald's restaurant was opened in San Bernardino, California, by Richard and Maurice McDonald.

In 1955, the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain and France signed the Austrian State Treaty, which re-established Austria's independence.

In 1963, astronaut L. Gordon Cooper blasted off aboard Faith 7 on the final mission of the Project Mercury space program.

In 1970, just after midnight, Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green, two black students at Jackson State College in Mississippi, were killed as police opened fire during student protests.

In 1972, Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace was shot and left paralyzed by Arthur H. Bremer while campaigning for president in Laurel, Maryland. (Bremer served 35 years for attempted murder.)

In 1975, U.S. forces invaded the Cambodian island of Koh Tang and captured the American merchant ship Mayaguez, which had been seized by the Khmer Rouge. (All 39 crew members had already been released safely by Cambodia; some 40 U.S. servicemen were killed in connection with the operation.)

In 1988, the Soviet Union began the process of withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, more than eight years after Soviet forces entered the country.

In 1991, Edith Cresson was appointed by French President Francois Mitterrand (frahn-SWAH' mee-teh-RAHN') to be France's first female prime minister.

Ten years ago: In an Oval Office address, President George W. Bush said he would order as many as 6,000 National Guard troops to secure the U.S. border with Mexico, and urged Congress to give millions of immigrants in the U.S. illegally a chance at citizenship. A defiant Saddam Hussein refused to enter a plea at his trial, insisting he was still Iraq's president as a judge formally charged him with crimes against humanity. The Pentagon disclosed the names of everyone detained at the Guantanamo Bay prison since its opening four years earlier. The U.S. removed Libya from its list of terrorist states and said it would restore normal diplomatic relations.

Five years ago: Mobilized by calls on Facebook, thousands of Arab protesters marched on Israel's borders with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza in an unprecedented wave of demonstrations, sparking clashes that left at least 15 dead. Finland scored five late goals to beat Sweden 6-1 and claim its second title at the ice hockey world championship played in Bratislava, Slovakia.

One year ago: A jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR' tsahr-NEYE'-ehv) to death for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and left more than 250 wounded. Former NFL kicker Garo Yepremian, 70, died in Media, Pennsylvania. Elisabeth Bing, the Lamaze International co-founder who popularized what was known as natural childbirth and helped change how women and doctors approached the delivery room, died in New York at age 100.

Today's Birthdays: Playwright Sir Peter Shaffer is 90. Actress-singer Anna Maria Alberghetti is 80. Counterculture icon Wavy Gravy is 80. Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is 79. Singer Trini Lopez is 79. Singer Lenny Welch is 78. Actress-singer Lainie Kazan is 74. Actress Gunilla Hutton is 74. Country singer K.T. Oslin is 74. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is 68. Singer-songwriter Brian Eno is 68. Actor Nicholas Hammond (Film: "The Sound of Music") is 66. Actor Chazz Palminteri is 64. Baseball Hall-of-Famer George Brett is 63. Musician-composer Mike Oldfield is 63. Actor Lee Horsley is 61. TV personality Giselle Fernandez is 55. Actress Brenda Bakke is 53. Football Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith is 47. Singer-rapper Prince Be (PM Dawn) is 46. Actor Brad Rowe is 46. Actor David Charvet (shahr-VAY') is 44. Actor Russell Hornsby is 42. Rock musician Ahmet Zappa is 42. Olympic gold-medal gymnast Amy Chow is 38. Actor David Krumholtz is 38. Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler is 35. Actress Alexandra Breckenridge is 34. Rock musician Brad Shultz (Cage the Elephant) is 34. Rock musician Nick Perri is 32. Tennis player Andy Murray is 29.

Thought for Today: "Martyrdom has always been a proof of the intensity, never of the correctness of a belief." — Arthur Schnitzler, Austrian author-playwright (born this date in 1862, died 1931).