May 03 2011

On This Day In History May 3

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

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May 3 is the 123rd day of the year (124th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 242 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1919, Pete Seeger, folk singer, activist, environmentalist was born in NYC.

On July 26, 1956, the House of Representatives voted 373 to 9 to cite Pete Seeger and seven others (including playwright Arthur Miller) for contempt, as they failed to cooperate with House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in their attempts to investigate alleged subversives and communists. Pete Seeger testified before the HUAC in 1955.

In one of Pete’s darkest moments, when his personal freedom, his career, and his safety were in jeopardy, a flash of inspiration ignited this song. The song was stirred by a passage from Mikhail Sholokhov’s novel “And Quie Flows the Don”. Around the world the song traveled and in 1962 at a UNICEF concert in Germany, Marlene Dietrich, Academy Award-nominated German-born American actress, first performed the song in French, as “Qui peut dire ou vont les fleurs?” Shortly after she sang it in German. The song’s impact in Germany just after WWII was shattering. It’s universal message, “let there be peace in the world” did not get lost in its translation. To the contrary, the combination of the language, the setting, and the great lyrics has had a profound effect on people all around the world. May it have the same effect today and bring renewed awareness to all that hear it.

 1715 – “Edmund Halley’s” total solar eclipse (the last one visible in London, United Kingdom for almost 900 years).

1791 – The Constitution of May 3 (the first modern constitution in Europe) is proclaimed by the Sejm of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

1802 – Washington, D.C. is incorporated as a city.

1815 – Neapolitan War: Joachim Murat, King of Naples is defeated by the Austrians at the Battle of Tolentino, the decisive engagement of the war.

1830 – The Canterbury and Whitstable Railway is opened. It is the first steam hauled passenger railway to issue season tickets and include a tunnel.

1837 – The University of Athens is founded.

1849 – The May Uprising in Dresden begins – the last of the German revolutions of 1848.

1860 – Charles XV of Sweden-Norway is crowned king of Sweden.

1867 – The Hudson’s Bay Company gives up all claims to Vancouver Island.

1877 – Labatt Park, the oldest continually operating baseball grounds in the world has its first game.

1913 – Raja Harishchandra the first full-length Indian feature film is released, marking the beginning of the Indian film industry.

1915 – The poem In Flanders Fields is written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.

1916 – The leaders of the Easter Rising are executed in Dublin.

1920 – A Bolshevik coup fails in the Democratic Republic of Georgia.

1921 – West Virginia imposes the first state sales tax.

1924 – Aleph Zadik Aleph is formed in Omaha, Nebraska

1928 – Japanese atrocities in Jinan, China.

1933 – Nellie Tayloe Ross becomes the first woman to head the United States Mint.

1937 – Gone with the Wind, a novel by Margaret Mitchell, wins the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

1942 – World War II: Japanese naval troops invade Tulagi Island in the Solomon Islands during the first part of Operation Mo that results in the Battle of the Coral Sea between Japanese forces and forces from the United States and Australia.

1945 – World War II: Sinking of the prison ships Cap Arcona, Thielbek and Deutschland by the Royal Air Force in L├╝beck Bay.

1947 – New post-war Japanese constitution goes into effect.

1948 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to blacks and other minorities are legally unenforceable.

1951 – London’s Royal Festival Hall opens with the Festival of Britain

1951 – The United States Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees begin their closed door hearings into the dismissal of General Douglas MacArthur by U.S. President Harry Truman.

1951 – The Kentucky Derby is televised for the first time.

1952 – Lieutenant Colonels Joseph O. Fletcher and William P. Benedict of the United States land a plane at the North Pole.

1957 – Walter O’Malley, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, agrees to move the team from Brooklyn, New York, to Los Angeles, California.

1960 – The Off-Broadway musical comedy, The Fantasticks, opens in New York City’s Greenwich Village, eventually becoming the longest-running musical of all time.

1960 – The Anne Frank House opens in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

1963 – The police force in Birmingham, Alabama switches tactics and responds with violent force to stop the “Birmingham campaign” protesters. Images of the violent suppression are transmitted worldwide, bringing newfound attention to the African-American Civil Rights Movement.

1973 – The Sears Tower in Chicago is topped out as the world’s tallest building.

1978 – The first unsolicited bulk commercial e-mail (which would later become known as “spam”) is sent by a Digital Equipment Corporation marketing representative to every ARPANET address on the west coast of the United States.

1986 – Twenty-one people are killed and forty-one are injured after a bomb explodes in an airliner (Flight UL512) at Colombo airport in Sri Lanka.

1987 – A crash by Bobby Allison at the Talladega Superspeedway, Alabama fencing at the start-finish line would lead NASCAR to develop restrictor plate racing the following season both at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega.

1999 – The southwestern portion of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is devastated by an F5 tornado killing forty-five people, injuring 665, and causing $1 billion in damage. The tornado is one of 66 from the 1999 Oklahoma tornado outbreak. This is the strongest tornado ever recorded with wind speeds of up to 318 mph.

2000 – The sport of geocaching begins, with the first cache placed and the coordinates from a GPS posted on Usenet.

2001 – The United States loses its seat on the U.N. Human Rights Commission for the first time since the commission was formed in 1947.

2002 – A military MiG-21 aircraft crashes into the Bank of Rajasthan in India, killing eight.

2003 – New Hampshire’s famous Old Man of the Mountain collapses.

2006 – Armavia Flight 967 crashes into the Black Sea, killing 113 people on board, with no survivors.

2006 – Zacarias Moussaoui is sentenced to life in prison in Alexandria, Virginia.

Holidays and observances

   * Christian Feast Day:

       Abhai (Syriac Orthodox Church)

       Antonia and Alexander

       Juvenal of Narni

       Philip and James the Less

       Pope Alexander I

       Sarah the Martyr (Coptic Church)

       Moura (Coptic Church)

       Theodosius of Kiev (Eastern Orthodox Church)

       May 3 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)

   * Constitution Memorial Day (Japan)

   * Constitution Day (Poland)

   * Earliest day on which Teacher’s Day can fall, while May 9 is the latest; celebrated on the Tuesday of the first full week of May. (United States)

   * Roodmas, or Feast of the Finding of the Holy Cross (Gallican Rite of the Catholic Church)

   * World Press Freedom Day (International)