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Moments in Time

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Ÿ On May 20, 1506, the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus died in Valladolid, Spain. The first European to explore the Americas since 10th-century Vikings set up colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland, he traveled the West Indies, South America and Central America, but died feeling he had been mistreated by his patron, King Ferdinand of Spain.

Ÿ On May 21, 2000, the bones of President James Garfield’s spinal column, showing where one of two assassin’s bullets had passed through it in 1881, were displayed for a final day at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, D.C., in an exhibit featuring medical oddities from the museum’s archives.

Ÿ On May 22, 1856, South Carolina Representative Preston Brooks, wielding a cane he used after suffering injuries in a duel fueled by a political debate years before, savagely beat Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumber during a meeting of Congress when tensions escalated over the expansion of slavery.

Ÿ On May 23, 1900, Army sergeant William Harvey Carney became the first Black American serviceman to receive the Medal of Honor, for heroically protecting the American flag during the Civil War.

Ÿ On May 24, 1797, Thomas Jefferson wrote to his friend Angelica Church with a casual inquiry about their mutual friend, Maria Cosway, a woman who’d once captured his heart and inspired a romantically themed essay. Her marriage, his desire to maintain integrity and their physical distance had helped cool his hopeless passion for her some years before.

Ÿ On May 25, 1977, China’s communist government lifted its decade-old ban on the writings of William Shakespeare, providing additional evidence that the Cultural Revolution initiated by Mao Zedong in 1966 had ended. Officials also announced that a Chinese-language edition of the Bard’s works would soon be available.

Ÿ On May 26, 1962, clarinetist Bernard Stanley “Acker” Bilk’s instrumental single “Stranger On the Shore” provided an initial, but false, hint of the British Invasion to come when it went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Despite its popularity, it was Bilk’s only significant hit.

© 2024 King Features Synd., Inc.