Today in History

Today is Saturday, May 29, the 149th day of 2021. There are 216 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 29, 2020, fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. (He would be convicted in April 2021 on those charges as well as second-degree unintentional murder.)

On this date:

In 1790, Rhode Island became the 13th original colony to ratify the United States Constitution.

In 1914, the Canadian ocean liner RMS Empress of Ireland sank in the St. Lawrence River in eastern Quebec after colliding with the Norwegian cargo ship SS Storstad; of the 1,477 people on board the Empress of Ireland, 1,012 died. (The Storstad sustained only minor damage.)

In 1953, Mount Everest was conquered as Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tensing Norgay of Nepal became the first climbers to reach the summit.

In 1973, Tom Bradley was elected the first Black mayor of Los Angeles, defeating incumbent Sam Yorty.

In 1977, Janet Guthrie became the first woman to race in the Indianapolis 500, finishing in 29th place (the winner was A.J. Foyt).

In 1985, 39 people were killed at the European Cup Final in Brussels, Belgium, when rioting broke out and a wall separating British and Italian soccer fans collapsed.

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev opened their historic summit in Moscow.

In 1998, Republican elder statesman Barry Goldwater died in Paradise Valley, Arizona, at age 89.

In 2009, a judge in Los Angeles sentenced music producer Phil Spector to 19 years to life in prison for the murder of actor Lana Clarkson. (Spector remained in prison until his death in January 2021.)

In 2014, Starbucks closed thousands of stores for part of the day to hold training sessions for employees on unconscious bias, in response to the arrests of two Black men in Philadelphia at one of its stores.

In 2015, the Obama administration formally removed Cuba from the U.S. terrorism blacklist.

In 2019, in his first public remarks on the Russia investigation, special counsel Robert Mueller said charging President Donald Trump with a crime was “not an option” because of federal rules, but he emphasized that the investigation did not exonerate the president.

Ten years ago: A week after Joplin, Missouri, was nearly leveled by the deadliest tornado to strike the U.S. in decades, President Barack Obama visited the city to offer hope to survivors and promises of help. JR Hildebrand was one turn away from winning the Indianapolis 500 when he skidded high into the wall on the final turn and Dan Wheldon drove past to claim the win.

Five years ago: An Army veteran of two Afghanistan tours killed one person and wounded several others during a shooting rampage in west Houston before being gunned down by a SWAT officer. Alexander Rossi won the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

One year ago: Thousands of protesters in Minneapolis angered by the death of George Floyd ignored a curfew as unrest again overwhelmed authorities; fires burned unchecked in cars and businesses. In a tweet, President Donald Trump called protesters in Minneapolis “thugs” and added that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” (The tweet was flagged by Twitter for “glorifying violence.”) Protests over Floyd’s death spread to dozens of cities. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the White House, some throwing rocks and tugging at barricades; officials later said Secret Service agents rushed Trump to an underground bunker. A federal law enforcement officer, David Underwood, was killed and his partner wounded by gunfire from a vehicle as they provided security at the U.S. courthouse in Oakland, California, during a protest. (An Air Force sergeant, Steven Carillo, is accused in that killing and the shooting death of a sheriff’s deputy days later; he has pleaded not guilty.) Trump announced that the U.S. would end support for the World Health Organization, saying it didn’t respond adequately to the pandemic. Missouri officials said they were trying to notify “mass numbers” of people after someone who attended crowded pool parties Memorial Day weekend at Lake of the Ozarks tested positive for COVID-19. New Zealand said it had all but eradicated the coronavirus, with just one person in the nation of 5 million known to be infected.

Today’s Birthdays: Former Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent is 83. Motorsports Hall of Famer Al Unser is 82. Actor Helmut Berger is 77. Rock singer Gary Brooker (Procol Harum) is 76. Actor Anthony Geary is 74. Actor Cotter Smith is 72. Singer Rebbie (ree-bee) Jackson is 71. Movie composer Danny Elfman is 68. Singer LaToya Jackson is 65. Actor Ted Levine is 64. Actor Annette Bening is 63. Actor Rupert Everett is 62. Actor Adrian Paul is 62. Singer Melissa Etheridge is 60. Actor Lisa Whelchel is 58. Actor Tracey Bregman is 58. Rock musician Noel Gallagher is 54. Actor Anthony Azizi is 52. Rock musician Chan Kinchla (Blues Traveler) is 52. Actor Laverne Cox is 49. Rock musician Mark Lee (Third Day) is 48. Cartoonist Aaron McGruder (“The Boondocks”) is 47. Singer Melanie Brown (Spice Girls) is 46. Latin singer Fonseca is 42. Actor Justin Chon (TV: “Deception”; “Dr. Ken”) is 40. NBA player Carmelo Anthony is 37. Actor Billy Flynn is 36. Actor Blake Foster is 36. Actor Riley Keough is 32. Actor Brandon Mychal Smith is 32. Actor Kristen Alderson is 30. Actor Lorelei Linklater is 28.