Highlights of this day in history: Mt. St. Helens erupts in Washington State; The U.S. Supreme Court upholds racial segregation; Pope John Paul II born in Poland; Movie director Frank Capra born; 'Les Miserables' ends its Broadway run. (May 18)
CAMILLE BOHANNON: May 18, 1980.
- It's erupting like it never has before, that's for sure. Because from where I'm standing, I can't see the top of the mountain, but I see the whole eruption coming from it. It's big.
CAMILLE BOHANNON: In Washington State, Mount St. Helens explodes, blasting away the top 1,300 feet from its volcanic peak. The eruption leaves 57 people dead or missing, flattening forests and spewing volcanic ash for hundreds of miles.
1896. The US Supreme Court endorses what it calls "separate but equal" racial segregation with its decision in Plessy versus Ferguson. That ruling remains the law of the land until the Court overturns it nearly 60 years later in Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka.
JOHN PAUL II: May Christ give you his grace and his peace.
CAMILLE BOHANNON: Pope John Paul II, the first non-Italian pontiff in more than 450 years, is born Karol Wojtyla in Wadowice, Poland.
1897. Movie director Frank Capra, whose films include "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," is born near Palermo, Italy.
[MUSIC - CLAUDE-MICHEL SCHONBERG, "BRING HIM HOME"]
- (SINGING) Bring him home. Bring him home.
CAMILLE BOHANNON: In New York, "Les Miserables," Broadway's third longest running show, closes after more than 16 years and 6,680 performances.
Today in history, May 18. Camille Bohannon, the Associated Press.