On this Day May 21

History Highlights

1881 – After being around wounded soldiers during the Civil War and, later, the Franco-Prussian War overseas, nurse and educator Clara Barton establishes the American Red Cross to provide humanitarian aid to victims of wars and natural disasters as well as to military personnel and their families.

1901 – Connecticut becomes the first state to impose a speed limit for motor vehicles (known then as “horseless carriages”). Motorists are required to keep it to 12 miles per hour in the city and 15 miles per hour on country roads. Speed limits were first enacted in Connecticut because horseless carriage manufacturers were springing up all across New England, and New Englanders were buying, and driving, their products.

1917 – The Great Atlanta Fire destroys much of that city’s Fourth Ward, including nearly 2,000 homes and businesses. Ten thousand people—nearly one tenth of the city’s population—are left homeless.

1979 – Gay rights activists riot outside San Francisco City Hall following the conviction of Dan White for the murders of Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk, an openly gay San Francisco supervisor. Protesters participating in the so-called White Night Riots contend that White’s sentence is too light.

1980 – A new installment to George Lucas’ “Star Wars” film saga opens in U.S. theaters: “The Empire Strikes Back.”

1999 – Ninetheenth time’s the charm! After 18 straight years of being nominated for a Best Actress Daytime Emmy Award and never winning, Susan Lucci finally captures the coveted honor for her portrayal of Erica Kane in the popular ABC soap opera “All My Children.”

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The Great Twenty-Eight

Chuck Berry

Let's Dance

David Bowie

The American Red Cross from Clara Barton to the New Deal

Marian Moser Jones

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, and directed by Irvin Kershner

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Starring Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Judge Reinhold, and directed by Amy Heckerling

Face/Off

Starring John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Joan Allen and Nick Cassavetes, and directed by John Woo