May 20, 1961
Another bus load of “Freedom Riders” came under attack today by segregationists in the state of Alabama.
Attorney General Robert Kennedy had convinced Greyhound Bus Company officials to transport this group of Freedom Riders to the Alabama state capital at Montgomery.
When their bus arrived at the terminal, 300 segregationists were waiting for them with clubs & metal pipes.
Among the badly injured are Jim Zwerg & John Lewis.
An aide to the Attorney General, John Siegenthaler, was knocked unconscious.
Nashville Public Library
Teachers History Institute
Photograph by John White (2008)
President Kennedy has called upon Alabama Governor John Patterson to exercise his authority to prevent further outbreaks of violence.
Greyhound Bus Terminal
Photo by Drmies (2009)
May 20, 1956
US B-29 DROPS HYDROGEN BOMB ON NAMU
Today an American B-29 released a test hydrogen bomb 50,000 feet over the island of Namu in the Pacific.
The bomb, rated at 15 megatons, exploded at an altitude of 15,000 feet.
The test has been ruled a success.
May 20, 1927
LINDBERGH IS ON HIS WAY TO PARIS
American aviator Charles A. Lindbergh successfully took off today from Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York.
Lindbergh, at the controls of “The Spirit of St. Louis”, barely cleared the telephone lines at the end of the runway because he was so weighted down with fuel.
“Lindy” is attempting to make the world’s 1st solo flight across the Atlantic as well as the 1st non-stop flight from New York to Paris.
Charles Lindbergh & Spirit of St. Louis
May 20, 1873
LEVI STRAUSS & JACOB DAVIS RECEIVE PATENT FOR WORK PANTS
The US Patent Office today awarded Levi Strauss of San Francisco, California & Jacob Davis of Reno, Nevada, a patent to for work pants with reinforced metal rivets.*
*Strauss & Davis set up their factory in San Francisco where they will manufacture the 1st “waist overalls”. By the 1880s, Strauss opens his own factory to produce his “XX” jeans which become known as “501” by the 1890s.
May 20, 1862
LINCOLN SIGNS HOMESTEAD ACT
President Abraham Lincoln signed today a law giving the head of a family 160 acres to farm for 5 years.
The person must be 21 years old & is required by the act to build a house on the property.
If, after 5 years, the homestead is deemed successful, the “homesteader” will pay an $18 fee & receive a deed to the land.
The President is hopeful this act will encourage more Americans to settle the West.
May 20, 1498
VASCO DA GAMA REACHES INDIA BY OCEAN
Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama has become today the 1st European to reach India by way of the Atlantic Ocean.
Da Gama arrived at Calicut having sailed from Lisbon, Portugal in July 1497. He successfully rounded the Cape of Good Hope.
Da Gama Lands at Calicut
by Luis de Camoes (1880)
May 20, 1995
PRESIDENT CLINTON CLOSES AVENUE IN FRONT OF THE WHITE HOUSE
Having been so advised by the US Secret Service, President Bill Clinton ordered the 2 block stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue directly in front of the White House permanently closed to all but pedestrian traffic.
The decision comes out of concerns that a car or truck driving down an open Pennsylvania Avenue could contain a bomb.
The President said:
“It is a responsible security step necessary to preserve our freedom.”
North Portico of the White House
Photo by John White (2003)