May 1, 1963
1ST AMERICAN REACHES EVEREST SUMMIT
James Whittaker of Redmond, Washington today became the 1st American to reach the top of the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest.
Jim Whittaker on Mt. Everest (1963)
Photo from HistoryLink.org
Washington State History Online
His accomplishment comes a decade after New Zealand’s Edmund Hillary became the 1st man in the world to reach the summit.
Mt. Everest is located in the Himalayas on the border of China & Nepal.
Whittaker was accompanied by Nawang Gombu.*
*JFK awarded Jim Whittaker the Hubbard Medal in July 1963.
Jim Whittaker Receives Medal
Photo from HistoryLink.org
In 1965, Whittaker led the 1st expedition to climb Mt. Kennedy in Alaska. Coming along on the climb was JFK’s surviving brother, Robert F. Kennedy. Whittaker & RFK became close friends.
May 1, 1961
CASTRO BANS ELECTIONS IN CUBA
Following his April 16th declaration saying that Cuba is a Socialist state, Fidel Castro went one step further today by declaring that elections will no longer be held on his island.
Castro also placed severe restrictions on the Catholic church in Cuba.*
*Reaction from the State Department is that now there is no doubt Castro’s Cuba is under the control of the communists.
Fidel Castro in Washington, D.C.
May 1, 1960
US SPY PLANE SHOT DOWN OVER SOVIET UNION
A U-2 reconnaissance aircraft piloted by Francis Gary Powers was shot down over Soviet air space today.
President Eisenhower, claiming that it was a weather plane that strayed accidentally over the Soviet Union, was forced to admit it was a spy plane when Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev produced not only the wreckage of the U-2 but also the captured pilot.*
*The U-2 incident spoiled chances for success of a coming summit meeting. Ike later called it the “stupid U-2 mess”. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of his Presidency.
Francis Gary Powers & U-2 Model
May 1, 1958
IKE PROCLAIMS “LAW DAY”
The American Bar Association, fearing “May Day” is being associated by American citizens with the communist celebration of May 1st, called for a special day to honor American law.
In response, President Eisenhower declared May 1st to be “Law Day” in the United States.
The “Law Day” declaration identifies its purpose:
“A national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law. Law Day underscores how law & the legal process have contributed to the freedoms that all Americans share.”*
*In a 2007 editorial, the New York Times wrote that Law Day “is perilously close to becoming a celebration of lawyers.”
May 1, 1931
HOOVER DEDICATES EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
Pushing a button at the White House, President Herbert Hoover symbolically turned on the lights of the world’s tallest building, the newly completed Empire State Building in New York City.
The 102 story, 1,250 foot skyscraper was designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon Associates & cost over $40 million to build.
Ironically, the skyscraper was completed during the worst economic depression in our nation’s history.
As many as 3400 employees worked on the project in a single day.
Empire State Building At Dusk
Photo by Michael Slonecker
May 1, 1915
WOMEN’S PEACE CONFERENCE ADOPTS RESOLUTIONS
Today in The Hague, Netherlands, the International Congress of Women adopted resolutions on peace & women’s suffrage.
1200 delegates from 12 countries including Britain, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Poland, Belgium & the US were meeting as a result of the invitation of a Dutch women’s suffrage organization to women’s rights activists around the world.*
*Leading the American delegation was Jane Addams of Hull House in Chicago. She met with President Woodrow Wilson upon her return to the US.
Women’s Peace Party Delegates
Library of Congress Photo
National Women’s History Museum