Today in History

Associated Press

Today is Friday, May 20, the 140th day of 2011. There are 225 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On May 20, 1861, during the Civil War, the Confederate Congress resolved to move the capital of the Confederacy from Montgomery, Ala., to Richmond, Va. North Carolina voted to secede from the Union. Kentucky declared its neutrality.

On this date:

In 1506, explorer Christopher Columbus died in Spain.

In 1902, the United States ended a three-year military presence in Cuba as the Republic of Cuba was established under its first elected president, Tomas Estrada Palma.

In 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, N.Y., 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 1939, regular trans-Atlantic mail service began as a Pan American Airways plane, the Yankee Clipper, took off from Port Washington, N.Y., bound for Marseille, France.

In 1959, nearly 5,000 Japanese-Americans had their citizenship restored after renouncing it during World War II.

In 1961, a white mob attacked a busload of Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Ala., 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 1970, some 100,000 people demonstrated in New York's Wall Street district in support of U.S. policy in Vietnam and Cambodia.

In 1985, the FBI arrested John A. Walker Jr., who was later convicted of heading a spy ring for the Soviet Union.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush, in an address to graduating Notre Dame students, urged a new generation of American voters to "revive the spirit of citizenship" and carry on the work of two Democratic presidents: Lyndon Johnson's war on poverty and welfare reforms under Bill Clinton. The Italian film "The Son's Room" won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Five years ago: Iraq's new unity government took office, five months after elections. Federal agents searched the Capitol Hill office of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., as part of a bribery investigation. (Jefferson was later convicted of taking bribes; his case is being appealed.) New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin (NAY'-gin) was re-elected. An explosion killed five miners in an eastern Kentucky coal mine. Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro broke down at the start of the Preakness; Bernardini won the race. Barry Bonds tied Babe Ruth for second place on the career list with his 714th home run.

One year ago: Under pressure following security lapses, retired Navy Adm. Dennis Blair resigned as national intelligence director. Mexican President Felipe Calderon (fay-LEE'-pay kahl-duh-ROHN') took his opposition to a new Arizona immigration law to the U.S. Congress, telling lawmakers it ignored "a reality that cannot be erased by decree." A masked intruder stole a Picasso, a Matisse and three other masterpieces from a Paris museum. Floyd Landis admitted for the first time that he was guilty of doping for several years before being stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title.

Today's Birthdays: Actor-author James McEachin is 81. Actor Anthony Zerbe is 75. Actor David Proval is 69. Singer Joe Cocker is 67. Singer-actress Cher is 65. Actor-comedian Dave Thomas is 62. Rock musician Warren Cann is 59. Former New York Gov. David Paterson is 57. Actor Dean Butler is 55. TV-radio personality Ron Reagan is 53. Rock musician Jane Wiedlin (The Go-Go's) is 53. Actor Bronson Pinchot is 52. Singer Susan Cowsill is 52. Actor John Billingsley is 51. Actor Tony Goldwyn is 51. Singer Nick Heyward is 50. TV personality Ted Allen is 46. Actress Mindy Cohn is 45. Rock musician Tom Gorman (Belly) is 45. Actress Gina Ravera is 45. Actor Timothy Olyphant is 43. Rapper Busta Rhymes is 39. Rock musician Ryan Martinie is 36. Actor Matt Czuchry is 34. Actress Angela Goethals is 34. Actress-singer Naturi Naughton is 27.

Thought for Today: "Things are not to be judged good or bad merely because the public think so." — Tacitus, Roman senator and historian (c. A.D. 56-c. A.D. 115)

(Above Advance for Use Friday, May 20)

Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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