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Today in history: May 18

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Thursday, May 18, the 138th day of 2006. There are 227 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 18, 1896, the Supreme Court endorsed “separate but equal” racial segregation with its Plessy v. Ferguson decision, a ruling that was overturned 58 years later by Brown v. Board of Education.

On this date:
In 1642, the Canadian city of Montreal was founded.

In 1804, the French Senate proclaimed Napoleon Bonaparte emperor.

In 1920, Pope John Paul II was born Karol Wojtyla in Wadowice, Poland.

In 1926, evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson vanished while visiting a beach in Venice, Calif.; she reappeared a month later, claiming to have been kidnapped.

In 1933, the Tennessee Valley Authority was created.

In 1944, during World War II, Allied forces finally occupied Monte Cassino in Italy after a four-month struggle that claimed some 20,000 lives.

In 1953, Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier as she piloted a North American F-86 Canadair over Rogers Dry Lake, Calif.

In 1969, astronauts Eugene A. Cernan, Thomas P. Stafford and John W. Young blasted off aboard Apollo 10.

In 1980, the Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington state exploded, leaving 57 people dead or missing.

In 1980, in the South Korean city of Kwangju, townspeople and students began a nine-day uprising that was finally put down by troops.

Ten years ago: President Clinton, seeking to deflect Republican criticism that he was weak on welfare reform, endorsed Wisconsin’s welfare-to-work plan in his Saturday radio address. Louis Quatorze won the Preakness.

Five years ago: A Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up at a shopping mall in Netanya, killing five Israelis; Israel retaliated with air strikes against security targets in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that killed 10 Palestinians.

One year ago: President Bush offered his unqualified support for Egypt’s political reform process as he received Prime Minister Ahmed Nazief at the White House.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Bill Macy is 84. Sportscaster Jack Whitaker is 82. Actor Robert Morse is 75. Actor and television executive Dwayne Hickman is 72. Baseball Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson is 69. Bluegrass singer-musician Rodney Dillard (The Dillards) is 64. Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson is 60. Actress Candice Azzara is 59. Country singer Joe Bonsall (The Oak Ridge Boys) is 58. Rock musician Rick Wakeman (Yes) is 57. Actor James Stephens is 55. Country singer George Strait is 54. Rhythm-and-blues singer Butch Tavares (Tavares) is 53. Actor Chow Yun-Fat is 51. Rock singer-musician Page Hamilton is 46. Contemporary Christian musician Barry Graul (MercyMe) is 45. Singer-actress Martika is 37. Comedian-writer Tina Fey (“Saturday Night Live”) is 36. Rapper Special Ed is 32. Rock singer Jack Johnson is 31. Rhythm-and-blues singer Darryl Allen (Mista) is 26. Actor Matt Long is 26. Actor Spencer Breslin is 14.

Thought for Today: “People find life entirely too time-consuming.” — Stanislaw J. Lec, Polish writer (1909-1966).