Today is Wednesday, May 4, the 124th day of 2011. There are 241 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On May 4, 1961, the first group of "Freedom Riders" left Washington, D.C., to challenge racial segregation on interstate buses and in bus terminals. (The Freedom Riders were repeatedly attacked by violent mobs, mostly in Alabama.)
On this date:
In 1626, Dutch explorer Peter Minuit landed on present-day Manhattan Island.
In 1776, Rhode Island declared its freedom from England, two months before the Declaration of Independence was adopted.
In 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago, a labor demonstration for an 8-hour work day turned into a deadly riot when a bomb exploded.
In 1904, the United States took over construction of the Panama Canal.
In 1916, responding to a demand from President Woodrow Wilson, Germany agreed to limit its submarine warfare. (However, Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare the following year.)
In 1932, mobster Al Capone, convicted of income-tax evasion, entered the federal penitentiary in Atlanta. (Capone was later transferred to Alcatraz Island.)
In 1942, the Battle of the Coral Sea, the first naval clash fought entirely with carrier aircraft, began during World War II. (The outcome of the battle was considered a tactical victory for Japan, but a strategic one for the Allies.)
In 1959, the first Grammy Awards ceremony was held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Domenico Modugno won Record of the Year and Song of the Year for "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)"; Henry Mancini won Album of the Year for "The Music from Peter Gunn."
In 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire during an anti-war protest at Kent State University, killing four students and wounding nine others.
In 1980, Marshal Josip Broz Tito, president of Yugoslavia, died three days before his 88th birthday.
Ten years ago: Pope John Paul II began a visit to Greece, where he issued a sweeping apology for the "sins of action and omission" by Roman Catholics against Orthodox Christians. Bonny Lee Bakley, wife of actor Robert Blake, was shot to death as she sat in a car near a restaurant in Los Angeles. (Blake, accused of Bakley's murder, was acquitted in a criminal trial but found liable by a civil jury and ordered to pay damages.)
Five years ago: A federal judge sentenced Zacarias Moussaoui (zak-uh-REE'-uhs moo-SOW'-ee) to life in prison for his role in the 9/11 attacks, telling the convicted terrorist, "You will die with a whimper." The U.S. military released unflattering video footage of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (AH'-boo MOO'-sahb ahl-zahr-KOW'-ee) in which the al-Qaida leader was seen wearing American tennis shoes and fumbling with his automatic rifle.
One year ago: A Pakistani-born U.S. citizen was charged with terrorism and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction in the botched Times Square bombing. Faisal Shahzad (FY'-sul shah-ZAHD') later pleaded guilty to plotting to set off the propane-and-gasoline bomb in an SUV and was sentenced to life in prison.
Today's Birthdays: The former president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, is 83. Opera singer Roberta Peters is 81. Jazz musician Ron Carter is 74. Rock musician Dick Dale is 74. Singer-songwriter Nick Ashford is 69. Pop singer Peggy Santiglia (The Angels) is 67. Actor Richard Jenkins is 64. Country singer Stella Parton is 62. Actor-turned-clergyman Hilly Hicks is 61. Irish musician Darryl Hunt (The Pogues) is 61. Singer Jackie Jackson (The Jacksons) is 60. Rhythm-and-blues singer Oleta Adams is 58. Rhythm-and-blues singer Sharon Jones is 55. Country singer Randy Travis is 52. Actress Mary McDonough is 50. Comedian Ana Gasteyer is 44. Actor Will Arnett is 41. Rock musician Mike Dirnt (Green Day) is 39. Contemporary Christian singer Chris Tomlin is 39. TV personality and fashion designer Kimora Lee Simmons is 36. Rock musician Jose Castellanos is 34. Singer Lance Bass ('N Sync) is 32. Actor Alexander Gould is 17.
Thought for Today: "Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage." -- Maya Angelou, American author and poet.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)