Today in history
In 1924: Taking the place of Professor Russell Watson of the Forestry department of the University of Michigan who was not able to be present, Miss Lida Rogers of the biology department of the high school gave an address at the high school Friday on the occasion of the Arbor Day exercises there. Her theme was “The meaning of Arbor Day.” She declared that it should mean more to each of us individually, that it should mean the planting of trees and shrubs and that it should make for the conservation of all wild life.
On this day
In 1802, Washington, D.C. was incorporated as a city.
In 1913, Clorox had its beginnings as five entrepreneurs agreed to set up a liquid bleach factory in Oakland, Calif.
In 1916, Irish nationalists Padraic Pearse, Thomas Clarke and Thomas MacDonagh were executed by a British firing squad; they were among 16 people put to death for their roles in the Easter Rising.
In 1937, Margaret Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, "Gone with the Wind."
In 1948, the Supreme Court, in Shelley v. Kraemer, ruled that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to blacks or members of other racial groups were legally unenforceable.
In 1978, spam email was born as Gary Thuerk (thurk), a marketing executive for the Digital Equipment Corp. of Maynard, Massachusetts, transmitted an unsolicited sales pitch for a new line of computers to 400 prospective customers on ARPANET, a precursor to the internet; the stunt generated some business, as well as complaints. "Sun Day" took place on a Wednesday as thousands of people extolling the virtues of solar energy held events across the country.
In 1979, Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher was chosen to become Britain's first female prime minister as the Tories ousted the incumbent Labour government in parliamentary elections.
In 1984, Michael Dell founded Dell Computer Corp. while a student at the University of Texas in Austin.
In 1987, The Miami Herald said its reporters had observed a young woman spending "Friday night and most of Saturday" at a Washington townhouse belonging to Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart. (The woman was later identified as Donna Rice; the resulting controversy torpedoed Hart's presidential bid.)
In 1999, some 70 tornadoes roared across Oklahoma and Kansas, killing 46 people and injuring hundreds.
In 2006, a federal jury in Alexandria, Virginia, rejected the death penalty for al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, deciding he should spend life in prison for his role in 9/11; as he was led from the courtroom, Moussaoui taunted, "America, you lost."
In 2007, British girl Madeleine McCann vanished during a family vacation in Portugal nine days before her fourth birthday; her disappearance remains unsolved.
In 2009, Mexican President Felipe Calderon told state television that a nationwide shutdown and an aggressive informational campaign appeared to have helped curtail an outbreak of swine flu in Mexico.
Cheryl Burke is 36.
Frankie Valli is 86.
Greg Gumbel is 74.
Willie Geist is 45.