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Today in History — May 3

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

Today is Thursday, May 3, the 123rd day of 2007. There are 242 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 3, 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.

On this date:
In 1802, Washington, D.C., was incorporated as a city.

In 1907, show business columnist Earl Wilson was born in Rockford, Ohio.

In 1916, Irish nationalist Padraic Pearse and two others were executed by the British for their roles in the Easter Rising.

In 1933, Nellie T. Ross became the first female director of the U.S. Mint.

In 1944, U.S. wartime rationing of most grades of meats ended.

In 1945, during World War II, Allied forces captured Rangoon, Burma, from the Japanese.

In 1947, Japan’s postwar constitution took effect.

In 1978, “Sun Day” fell on a Wednesday as thousands of people extolling the virtues of solar energy held events across the country.

In 1986, in NASA’s first post-Challenger launch, an unmanned Delta rocket lost power in its main engine shortly after liftoff, forcing safety officers to destroy it by remote control.

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 scandal torpedoed Hart’s presidential bid.)

Ten years ago: A group of Texas separatists ended a weeklong standoff with authorities; however, two armed followers fled into the woods (one was killed, the other eventually captured). World chess champion Garry Kasparov won the first game of his much-anticipated rematch with IBM’s Deep Blue computer (however, Kasparov ended up losing the six-game match). Silver Charm won the 123rd Kentucky Derby.

Five years ago: The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston backed out of a settlement agreement with 86 people who had accused defrocked priest John Geoghan of child molestation, saying the deal was becoming too expensive. (The archdiocese later agreed to a $10 million settlement.) Eight inmates died in a fire at the Mitchell County, N.C., jail. Pipe bombs exploded in six mailboxes in rural parts of Illinois and Iowa, injuring six people. (A suspect, Luke Helder, was later found incompetent to stand trial.)

One year ago: A federal jury in Alexandria, Va., 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. ... I won.” An Armenian passenger plane crashed off Russia’s Black Sea coast, killing all 113 people on board. Earl Woods, father of golfer Tiger Woods, died in Cypress, Calif., at age 74.

Today’s Birthdays: Folk singer Pete Seeger is 88. Actress Ann B. Davis is 81. Singer Frankie Valli is 73. Sports announcer Greg Gumbel is 61. Pop singer Mary Hopkin is 57. Singer Christopher Cross is 56. Country musician Cactus Moser (Highway 101) is 50. Rock musician David Ball (Soft Cell) is 48. Country singer Shane Minor is 39. Actor Bobby Cannavale is 37. Music and film producer-actor Damon Dash is 36. Country singer Brad Martin is 34. Actor Dule Hill is 32. Country singer Eric Church is 30. Actress Jill Berard is 17.

Thought for Today: “Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes.” — Anonymous.