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This Day in U.S. History: May 2


1670 – King Charles II of England grants a permanent charter to the Hudson's Bay Company to open up the fur trade in North America.

1863 – American Civil War: Stonewall Jackson is wounded by friendly fire while returning to camp after reconnoitering during the Battle of Chancellorsville. He succumbs to pneumonia eight days later.

1885 – Good Housekeeping magazine goes on sale for the first time.

1918 – General Motors acquires the Chevrolet Motor Company of Delaware.

1920 – The first game of the Negro National League baseball is played in Indianapolis.

1932 – Comedian Jack Benny's radio show airs for the first time.

1933 – Gleichschaltung: Adolf Hitler bans trade unions.

1945 – World War II: Fall of Berlin: The Soviet Union announces the capture of Berlin and Soviet soldiers hoist their red flag over the Reichstag building.

1945 – World War II: Italian Campaign: General Heinrich von Vietinghoff signs the official instrument of surrender of all Wehrmacht forces in Italy.

1945 – World War II: The US 82nd Airborne Division liberates Wöbbelin concentration camp finding 1000 dead prisoners, most of whom starved to death.

1955 – Tennessee Williams wins the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

1964 – Vietnam War: An explosion sinks the USS Card while it is docked at Saigon. Viet Cong forces are suspected of placing a bomb on the ship. She is raised and returned to service less than seven months later.

2000 – President Bill Clinton announces that accurate GPS access would no longer be restricted to the United States military.

2011 – Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind the September 11 attacks and the FBI's most wanted man, is killed by the United States special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

2012 – A pastel version of The Scream, by Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, sells for $120 million in a New York City auction, setting a new world record for a work of art at auction.


1740 – Elias Boudinot, American lawyer and politician, 10th President of the Continental Congress (d. 1821)

1885 – Hedda Hopper, American actress and gossip columnist (d. 1966)

1895 – Lorenz Hart, American playwright and lyricist (d. 1943)

1903 – Benjamin Spock, American rower, pediatrician, and author (d. 1998)

1924 – Theodore Bikel, Austrian-American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor (d. 2015)

1931 – Martha Grimes, American author and poet

1946 – Peter L. Benson, American psychologist and academic (d. 2011)

1971 – Musashimaru Kōyō, Samoan-American sumo wrestler, the 67th Yokozuna

1972 – Pandora Boxx, American drag queen performer and singer

1972 – Dwayne Johnson, American-Canadian wrestler, actor, and producer

1985 – Kyle Busch, American race car driver

1985 – Sarah Hughes, American figure skater


1880 – Eberhard Anheuser, German-American businessman, co-founded Anheuser-Busch (b. 1805)

1957 – Joseph McCarthy, American captain, lawyer, judge, and politician (b. 1908)

1964 – Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor, American-English politician (b. 1879)

1972 – J. Edgar Hoover, American 1st director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (b. 1895)

1984 – Bob Clampett, American animator, director, and producer (b. 1913)

1992 – Wilbur Mills, American lawyer and politician (b. 1909)

1994 – Dorothy Marie Donnelly, American poet and author (b. 1903)

2006 – Louis Rukeyser, American journalist and author (b. 1933)

2009 – Marilyn French, American author and academic (b. 1929)

2009 – Jack Kemp,  American football player and politician, 9th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (b. 1935)

2011 – Osama bin Laden, Saudi Arabian terrorist, founder of Al-Qaeda (b. 1957)

2012 – Junior Seau, American football player (b. 1969)

2013 – Charles Banks Wilson, American painter and illustrator (b. 1918)

2014 – Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., American actor (b. 1918)

2016 – Afeni Shakur, American music businesswoman, activist, and Black Panther (b. 1947)