By The Associated Press
Today in History
Today is Wednesday, May 8, the 128th day of 2019. There are 237 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 8, 1996, South Africa took another step from apartheid to democracy by adopting a constitution that guaranteed equal rights for blacks and whites.
On this date:
In 1429, the Siege of Orleans (ohr-lay-AHN’) during the Hundred Years’ War ended as English troops withdrew after being defeated by French forces under Joan of Arc.
In 1541, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto reached the Mississippi River.
In 1794, Antoine Lavoisier (lah-vwahz-YAY’), the father of modern chemistry, was executed on the guillotine during France’s Reign of Terror.
In 1921, Sweden’s Parliament voted to abolish the death penalty.
In 1945, President Harry S. Truman announced on radio that Nazi Germany’s forces had surrendered, and that “the flags of freedom fly all over Europe.”
In 1958, Vice President Richard Nixon was shoved, stoned, booed and spat upon by anti-American protesters in Lima, Peru.
In 1970, anti-war protests took place across the United States and around the world; in New York, construction workers broke up a demonstration on Wall Street.
In 1973, militant American Indians who had held the South Dakota hamlet of Wounded Knee for 10 weeks surrendered.
In 1978, David R. Berkowitz pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn courtroom to murder, attempted murder and assault in connection with the “Son of Sam” shootings that claimed six lives and terrified New Yorkers. (Berkowitz was sentenced to six consecutive life prison terms.)
In 1984, the Soviet Union announced it would boycott the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
In 1987, Gary Hart, dogged by questions about his personal life, including his relationship with Miami model Donna Rice, withdrew from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
In 2003, the Senate unanimously endorsed adding to NATO seven former communist nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Ten years ago: White House aide Louis Caldera resigned for his role in a $328,835 photo-op flyover by an Air Force One jet above New York City that sparked panic and flashbacks to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.