IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Today in history: May 20

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

Today is Friday, May 20, the 140th day of 2005. There are 225 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 20, 1861, the capital of the Confederacy was moved from Montgomery, Ala., to Richmond, Va.

On this date:
In 1506, Christopher Columbus died in poverty in Spain.

In 1861, North Carolina voted to secede from the Union.

In 1902, the United States ended a three-year military presence in Cuba as the Republic of Cuba was established under its first elected president, Tomas Estrada Palma.

In 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, N.Y., aboard the “Spirit of St. Louis” on his historic solo flight to France.

In 1932, Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland for Ireland to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

In 1939, regular transatlantic air service began as a Pan American Airways plane, the Yankee Clipper, took off from Port Washington, N.Y., bound for Europe.

In 1961, a white mob attacked a busload of Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Ala., prompting the federal government to send in U.S. marshals to restore order.

In 1969, U.S. and South Vietnamese forces captured Apbia Mountain, referred to as “Hamburger Hill” by the Americans, following one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War.

In 1985, the FBI arrested John A. Walker Jr., who was later convicted of spying for the Soviet Union.

In 1989, comedian Gilda Radner died in Los Angeles at age 42.

Ten years ago: President Clinton announced that the two-block stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House would be permanently closed to motor vehicles as a security measure. “Timber Country” won the Preakness at Pimlico.

Five years ago: The five nuclear powers on the U.N. Security Council agreed to eventually eliminate their nuclear arsenals, as part of a new disarmament agenda approved by 187 countries. “Red Bullet” won the Preakness Stakes, outpacing Kentucky Derby winner “Fusaichi Pegasus.” Flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal died in Paris at age 78.

One year ago: President Bush made a rare visit to Capitol Hill, where he sought to ease Republican lawmakers’ concerns over the Iraq campaign. Iraqi police backed by American soldiers raided the home and offices of Ahmad Chalabi, a prominent Iraqi politician once groomed as a possible replacement for Saddam Hussein.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor James McEachin is 75. Actor Anthony Zerbe is 69. Actor David Proval is 63. Singer Joe Cocker is 61. Singer-actress Cher is 59. Actor-comedian Dave Thomas is 56. Musician Warren Cann is 53. Actor Dean Butler is 49. Ron Reagan is 47. Rock musician Jane Wiedlin (The Go-Go’s) is 47. Actor Bronson Pinchot is 46. Singer Susan Cowsill is 46. Actor John Billingsley is 45. Actor Tony Goldwyn is 45. Singer Nick Heyward is 44. Actress Mindy Cohn is 39. Rock musician Tom Gorman (Belly) is 39. Rapper Busta Rhymes is 33. Actress Angela Goethals is 28. R&B singer Naturi Naughton is 21.

Thought for Today: “We must have ... a place where children can have a whole group of adults they can trust.” — Margaret Mead, American anthropologist (1901-1978).