Today in History — May 21

/ Source: The Associated Press

BC-History-May 21,0562

Today in History

By The Associated Press

Today is Monday, May 21, the 141st day of 2007. There are 224 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 21, 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh landed his Spirit of St. Louis near Paris, completing the first solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

On this date:

In 1542, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto died while searching for gold along the Mississippi River.

In 1832, the first Democratic National Convention got under way in Baltimore.

In 1840, New Zealand was declared a British colony.

In 1861, the Confederate Congress, meeting in Montgomery, Ala., voted to move the capital of the Confederacy from Montgomery to Richmond, Va.

In 1881, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross.

In 1892, the opera “Pagliacci,” by Ruggero Leoncavallo, was first performed, in Milan, Italy.

In 1924, 14-year-old Bobby Franks was murdered in a “thrill killing” committed by Nathan Leopold Jr. and Richard Loeb, two students at the University of Chicago.

In 1956, the U.S. exploded the first airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.

In 1979, former San Francisco City Supervisor Dan White was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the slayings of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk.

In 1982, during the Falklands War, British amphibious forces landed on the beach at San Carlos Bay.

Ten years ago: Prosecutors at the Oklahoma City bombing trial of Timothy McVeigh rested their case. The space shuttle Atlantis undocked from the Russian Mir space station.

Five years ago: President Bush warned that al-Qaida terrorists still “want to hurt us,” while his Pentagon chief, Donald Rumsfeld, said terrorists inevitably will acquire weapons of mass destruction from countries like Iraq, Iran or North Korea.

One year ago: Iraq’s new prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, promised to use “maximum force” if necessary to end the brutal insurgent and sectarian violence racking his country. Anthony Bell of Baton Rouge, La., was arrested after allegedly shooting to death four in-laws at a church and his wife in another location. Katherine Dunham, a pioneering dancer, author and civil rights activist, died in New York at age 96. Grand Ole Opry legend Billy Walker died in a traffic accident along an Alabama interstate highway; he was 77.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Jeanne Bates (“Ben Casey”) is 89. Actor David Groh is 66. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ron Isley (The Isley Brothers) is 66. Actor Richard Hatch (“Battlestar Galactica”) is 62. Musician Bill Champlin (Chicago) is 60. Singer Leo Sayer is 59. Actress Carol Potter is 59. Comedian/radio talk show host Al Franken is 56. Actor Mr. T is 55. Music producer Stan Lynch is 52. Actor Judge Reinhold is 50. Actor-director Nick Cassavetes is 48. Actor Brent Briscoe is 46. Actress Lisa Edelstein is 39. Jazz musician Christian McBride is 35. Actress Fairuza Balk is 33. Rapper Havoc (Mobb Deep) is 33. Actress Ashlie Brillault is

20. Actor Scott Leavenworth is 17. Actress Sarah Ramos is 16.

Thought for Today: “Originality does not consist in saying what no one has ever said before, but in saying exactly what you think yourself.” — James Stephens, Irish poet and novelist (1882-1950).