On this Day May 31

Click each item below to learn more!

History Highlights
History Highlights

1790 – The first U.S. copyright law is enacted to protect books, maps and other original materials.

1889 – Heavy rains cause the South Fork Dam to collapse, sending 20 million tons of water into Johnstown, Pennsylvania and claiming the lives of more than 2,200 people.

1911 – An estimated 100,000 people gather in Belfast, Ireland for the launch of the RMS Titanic into the River Lagan. The ill-fated passenger liner, still missing its distinctive smokestacks, is towed to a berth where its engines, stacks and superstructure are installed and the interior is fitted out. Less than a year later, in one of the world’s greatest disasters, the ship sinks on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic. More than 1,500 passengers are crew are killed.

1921 – In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a White mob begins a horrific two-day attack on Black residents of the city’s thriving Greenwood district, burning homes and businesses to the ground and killing at least 300 Black Americans. Long misrepresented as a race riot rather than mass murder, the Tulsa Race Massacre becomes one of the bloodiest incidents of racial violence in American history.

1962 – The architect of the Holocaust is executed in Israel. Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi SS officer who organized Adolf Hitler’s “final solution of the Jewish question,” hangs for his crimes against humanity.

1977 – The Trans-Alaska Pipeline is completed. Built after the 1973 oil crisis caused a sharp rise in oil prices in the United States, it is one of the largest pipeline systems in the world.

1996 – Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres is narrowly defeated in national elections by Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu. 

On this Day May 30

Click each item below to learn more!

History Highlights
History Highlights

1431 –  Joan of Arc, the peasant girl who became the savior of France, is burned at the stake for heresy.

1783 – The Pennsylvania Evening Post becomes the first daily newspaper published in the United States.

1911 – The Indianapolis 500 is run for the first time and the winner is Ray Harroun, travelling at an average speed of 74.6 miles per hour in his single-seater Marmon Wasp.

1922 – Supreme Court Chief Justice and former President William Howard Taft dedicates the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Memorial was designed to heal national divisions caused by the Civil War. Yet for many, Lincoln’s promise of freedom remained incomplete. Over the next half century, the looming figure of Abraham Lincoln witnessed a number of events and demonstrations that reinforced the memorial’s importance as a symbolic space for civil rights movements.

1927 – The Kentucky River peaks during a massive flood caused by torrential rains. The disaster kills 89 people and leaves thousands homeless.

1971 – The unmanned spacecraft Mariner 9 launches on a mission to gather scientific information from Mars. It circles the Red Planet twice each day for almost a year, photographing the surface and analyzing the atmosphere with infrared and ultraviolet instruments.

1990 – With the Soviet economy on the brink of collapse, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev arrives in Washington, D.C., for three days of talks with President George H. W. Bush. The summit centers on the issue of Germany and its place in a changing Europe.