Today’s Highlight in History
On May 20, 1956: The United States exploded the first airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.
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In 1862: President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, which was intended to encourage settlements west of the Mississippi River by making federal land available for farming.
In 1916: The Saturday Evening Post published its first Norman Rockwell cover; the illustration shows a scowling boy dressed in his Sunday best, dutifully pushing a baby carriage past a couple of boys wearing baseball uniforms.
In 1927: Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York, aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on his historic solo flight to France.
In 1932: Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. (Because of weather and equipment problems, Earhart set down in Northern Ireland instead of her intended destination, France.)
In 1948: Chiang Kai-shek was inaugurated as the first president of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
In 1959: Nearly 5,000 Japanese-Americans had their U.S. citizenships restored after choosing to renounce them during World War II.
In 1961: A white mob attacked a busload of Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Alabama, prompting the federal government to send in U.S. marshals to restore order.
In 1969: U.S. and South Vietnamese forces captured Ap Bia Mountain, referred to as “Hamburger Hill” by the Americans, following one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War.
In 1985: Radio Marti, operated by the U.S. government, began broadcasting; Cuba responded by attempting to jam its signal.
In 2009: In a rare, bipartisan defeat for President Barack Obama, the Senate voted overwhelmingly, 90-6, to keep the prison at Guantanamo Bay open for the foreseeable future and forbid the transfer of any detainees to facilities in the United States.
In 2015: Four of the world’s biggest banks — JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup’s banking unit Citicorp, Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland — agreed to pay more than $5 billion in penalties and plead guilty to rigging the currency markets.
In 2020: President Donald Trump threatened to hold up federal funds for two election battleground states (Michigan and Nevada) that were making it easier to vote by mail during the pandemic. Police ticketed seven people for cutting hair during a protest against coronavirus restrictions outside the Michigan Capitol, where about a dozen barbers and hair stylists defied stay-at-home orders to give free haircuts.
Ten years ago: A two-day NATO summit hosted by President Barack Obama opened in Chicago. Thousands of protesters marched through downtown Chicago, airing grievances about war, climate change and a wide range of other complaints. Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, 60, the only man convicted in connection with the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, died in Tripoli, Libya. Robin Gibb, 62, who along with his brothers Maurice and Barry, defined the disco era as part of the Bee Gees, died in London.
Five years ago: President Donald Trump opened a five-stop overseas tour, his first since taking office, receiving a lavish royal welcome in Saudi Arabia.
One year ago: Israel and Hamas announced a cease-fire, ending a bruising 11-day war that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip and brought life in much of Israel to a standstill. CNN said it was inappropriate for news anchor Chris Cuomo to have been involved in phone calls with the staff of his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as the governor decided how to respond to sexual harassment allegations. (CNN would fire Chris Cuomo in December 2021 over his role in helping his older brother.