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This Day in U.S. History: May 11


1502 – Christopher Columbus departs Cádiz on his fourth and final voyage to the Americas.

1647 – Peter Stuyvesant arrives in New Amsterdam to replace Willem Kieft as Director-General of New Netherland, the Dutch colonial settlement in present-day New York City.

1846 – President James K. Polk asked for and received a Declaration of War against Mexico, starting the Mexican–American War

1858 – Minnesota is admitted as the 32nd U.S. State.

1862 – American Civil War: The ironclad CSS Virginia is scuttled in the James River northwest of Norfolk, Virginia.

1894 – Pullman Strike: Four thousand Pullman Palace Car Company workers go on a wildcat strike in Illinois.

1907 – Thirty-two Shriners are killed when their chartered train derails at a switch near Surf Depot in Lompoc, California.

1910 – An act of the U.S. Congress establishes Glacier National Park in Montana.

1927 – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is founded.

1942 – William Faulkner's collections of short stories, Go Down, Moses, is published.

1943 – World War II: American troops invade Attu Island in the Aleutian Islands in an attempt to expel occupying Japanese forces.

1944 – World War II: The Allies begin a major offensive against the Axis powers on the Gustav Line.

1945 – World War II: Off the coast of Okinawa, the aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill is hit by two kamikazes, killing 346 of its crew. Although badly damaged, the ship is able to return to the U.S. under its own power.

1953 – The 1953 Waco tornado outbreak: An F5 tornado hits downtown Waco, Texas, killing 114.

who is living under the alias of Ricardo Klement.

1963 – Racist bombings in Birmingham, Alabama disrupt nonviolence in the Birmingham campaign and precipitate a crisis involving federal troops.

1970 – The Lubbock tornado, a F5 tornado, hits Lubbock, Texas, killing 26 and causing $250 million in damage.

1972 – The United States performs a nuclear test at Nevada Test Site, which was part of the series Operation Grommet and Operation Toggle.

1973 – Citing government misconduct, Daniel Ellsberg has charges for his involvement in releasing the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times dismissed.

1987 – In Baltimore, the first "domino" heart–lung transplant takes place. The surgery is performed by Dr. Bruce Reitz of the Stanford University School of Medicine.

1996 – After the aircraft's departure from Miami, a fire started by improperly handled chemical oxygen generators in the cargo hold of Atlanta-bound ValuJet Flight 592 causes the Douglas DC-9 to crash in the Florida Everglades killing all 110 on board.

1997 – Deep Blue, a chess-playing supercomputer, defeats Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player in a classic match format.


1811 – Chang and Eng Bunker, Thai-American conjoined twins (d. 1874)

1852 – Charles W. Fairbanks, American journalist and politician, 26th United States Vice President (d. 1918)

1888 – Irving Berlin, Belarusian-American pianist and composer (d. 1989)

1894 – Martha Graham, American dancer and choreographer (d. 1991)

1903 – Charlie Gehringer, American baseball player and manager (d. 1993)

1907 – Rip Sewell, American baseball player and coach (d. 1989)

1911 – Phil Silvers, American actor and comedian (d. 1985)

1912 – Foster Brooks, American actor and comedian (d. 2001)

1918 – Richard Feynman, American physicist and engineer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1988)

1920 – Denver Pyle, American actor and director (d. 1997)

1927 – Bernard Fox, British actor

1927 – Mort Sahl, Canadian-American comedian and actor

1930 – Stanley Elkin, American novelist, short story writer, and essayist (d. 1995)

1933 – Louis Farrakhan, American religious leader

1946 – Robert Jarvik, American cardiologist, developed the Artificial heart

1953 – David Gest, American concert promoter (d. 2016)

1959 – Martha Quinn, American radio and television host

1989 – Cam Newton, American football player


1920 – William Dean Howells, American novelist, literary critic, and playwright (b. 1837)

1960 – John D. Rockefeller Jr., American businessman and philanthropist (b. 1874)

1979 – Lester Flatt, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (Foggy Mountain Boys and Nashville Grass) (b. 1914)

1981 – Bob Marley, Jamaican singer-songwriter and guitarist (Bob Marley and the Wailers) (b. 1945)

1985 – Chester Gould, American cartoonist, created Dick Tracy (b. 1900)

2002 – Joseph Bonanno, Italian-American mob boss (b. 1905)

2006 – Floyd Patterson, American boxer and actor (b. 1935)