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This Day in U.S. History: May 6


1536 – The Siege of Cuzco commences, in which Incan forces attempt to retake the city of Cuzco from the Spanish..

1835 – James Gordon Bennett, Sr. publishes the first issue of the New York Herald.

1861 – American Civil War: Arkansas secedes from the Union.

1863 – American Civil War: The Battle of Chancellorsville ends with the defeat of the Army of the Potomac by Confederate troops.

1877 – Chief Crazy Horse of the Oglala Lakota surrenders to United States troops in Nebraska.

1882 – The United States Congress passes the Chinese Exclusion Act.

1915 – Babe Ruth, then a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, hits his first major league home run.

1935 – New Deal: Executive Order 7034 creates the Works Progress Administration.

1935 – The first flight of the Curtiss P-36 Hawk.

1937 – Hindenburg disaster: The German zeppelin Hindenburg catches fire and is destroyed within a minute while attempting to dock at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Thirty-six people are killed.

1940 – John Steinbeck is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Grapes of Wrath.

1941 – At California's March Field, Bob Hope performs his first USO show.

1941 – The first flight of the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt.

1942 – World War II: On Corregidor, the last American forces in the Philippines surrender to the Japanese.

1945 – World War II: Axis Sally delivers her last propaganda broadcast to Allied troops.

1954 – Roger Bannister becomes the first person to run the mile in under four minutes.

1981 – A jury of architects and sculptors unanimously selects Maya Ying Lin's design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial from 1,421 other entries.

1989 – Cedar Point opens Magnum XL-200, the first roller coaster to break the 200 ft height barrier, therefore spawning what is known as the "coaster wars".

1994 – Former Arkansas state worker Paula Jones files a lawsuit against United States President Bill Clinton, alleging that he had sexually harassed her in 1991.

1996 – The body of former CIA director William Colby is found washed up on a riverbank in southern Maryland, eight days after he disappeared.

1998 – Kerry Wood strikes out 20 Houston Astros to tie the major league record held by Roger Clemens. He threw a one-hitter and did not walk a batter in his fifth career start.

2004 – The series finale of the television sitcom Friends is aired on NBC. The finale attracts 52.46 million viewers, making it the sixth most watched television series finale in U.S. history.

2013 – Three women missing for more than a decade are found alive in the U.S. city of Cleveland, Ohio. Their captor, Ariel Castro, is taken into custody.


1856 – Robert Peary, American admiral and explorer (d. 1920)

1907 – Weeb Ewbank, American football player and coach (d. 1998)

1913 – Carmen Cavallaro, American pianist (d. 1989)

1915 – Orson Welles, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1985)

1915 – Theodore H. White, American historian, journalist, and author (d. 1986)

1920 – Marguerite Piazza, American soprano and actress (d. 2012)

1924 – Patricia Kennedy Lawford, American socialite, activist, and author (d. 2006)

1931 – Willie Mays, American baseball player and coach

1937 – Rubin Carter, American-Canadian boxer (d. 2014)

1945 – Bob Seger, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

1955 – Tom Bergeron, American television host

1961 – George Clooney, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter

1985 – Chris Paul, American basketball player


1862 – Henry David Thoreau, American author and philosopher (b. 1817)

1919 – L. Frank Baum, American novelist (b. 1856)

1959 – Ragnar Nurkse, Estonian-American economist and academic (b. 1907)

1987 – William J. Casey, American politician, 13th Director of Central Intelligence (b. 1913)

2006 – Lillian Asplund, American survivor of the Sinking of the RMS Titanic (b. 1906)

2015 – Jim Wright, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 56th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives (b. 1922)