2012. May 4. Friday. Here’s what we have for today:
1776 – Rhode Island becomes the first American colony to renounce allegiance to King George III.
1855 – American adventurer William Walker departs from San Francisco with about 60 men to conquer Nicaragua.
1863 – American Civil War: The Battle of Chancellorsville ends with a Union retreat.
1871 – The National Association, the first professional baseball league, opens its first season in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
1886 – Haymarket Square Riot: A bomb is thrown at policemen trying to break up a labor rally in Chicago, Illinois, United States, killing eight and wounding 60. The police fire into the crowd.
1904 – The United States begins construction of the Panama Canal.
1932 – In Atlanta, Georgia, mobster Al Capone begins serving an eleven-year prison sentence for tax evasion.
1942 – World War II: The Battle of the Coral Sea begins with an attack by aircraft from the United States aircraft carrier USS Yorktown on Japanese naval forces at Tulagi Island in the Solomon Islands. The Japanese forces had invaded Tulagi the day before.
1945 – World War II: Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg is liberated by the British Army.
1946 – In San Francisco Bay, U.S. Marines from the nearby Treasure Island Naval Base stop a two-day riot at Alcatraz federal prison. Five people are killed in the riot.
1953 – Ernest Hemingway wins the Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man and the Sea.
1959 – The 1st Grammy Awards are held.
1970 – Vietnam War: Kent State shootings: the Ohio National Guard, sent to Kent State University after disturbances in the city of Kent the weekend before, opens fire killing four unarmed students and wounding nine others. The students were protesting the United States’ invasion of Cambodia.
1989 – Iran-Contra Affair: Former White House aide Oliver North is convicted of three crimes and acquitted of nine other charges. The convictions, however, are later overturned on appeal.
1998 – A federal judge in Sacramento, California, gives “Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski four life sentences plus 30 years after Kaczynski accepts a plea agreement sparing him from the death penalty.
2007 – Greensburg, Kansas is almost completely destroyed by a 1.7 mi wide EF-5 tornado.
1929 – Audrey Hepburn, Anglo-Dutch actress (d. 1993)
1937 – Dick Dale, American guitarist
1939 – Paul Gleason, American actor (d. 2006)
1941 – George Will, American writer
1959 – Randy Travis, American singer-songwriter, musician, and actor
2009 – Dom DeLuise, American actor and comedian (b. 1933)
2012 – Adam Yauch, American rapper, songwriter, musician, and director (Beastie Boys) (b. 1964)