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This Day in U.S. History: May 24


1607 – One hundred English settlers disembark in Jamestown, the first English colony in America.

1626 – Peter Minuit buys Manhattan.

1689 – The English Parliament passes the Act of Toleration protecting Protestants. Roman Catholics are intentionally excluded.

1738 – John Wesley is converted, essentially launching the Methodist movement; the day is celebrated annually by Methodists as Aldersgate Day and a church service is generally held on the preceding Sunday.

1830 – "Mary Had a Little Lamb" by Sarah Josepha Hale is published.

1830 – The first revenue trains in the United States begin service on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad between Baltimore, and Ellicott's Mills, Maryland.

1844 – Samuel Morse sends the message "What hath God wrought" (a biblical quotation, Numbers 23:23) from the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the United States Capitol to his assistant, Alfred Vail, in Baltimore, Maryland, to inaugurate the first telegraph line.

1856 – John Brown and his men kill five slavery supporters at Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas.

1861 – American Civil War: Union troops occupy Alexandria, Virginia.

1883 – The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City is opened to traffic after 14 years of construction.

1921 – The trial of Sacco and Vanzetti opens.

1935 – The first night game in Major League Baseball history is played in Cincinnati, Ohio, with the Cincinnati Reds beating the Philadelphia Phillies 2–1 at Crosley Field.

1941 – World War II: In the Battle of the Atlantic, the German Battleship Bismarck sinks then-pride of the Royal Navy, HMS Hood, killing all but three crewmen.

1943 – The Holocaust: Josef Mengele becomes chief medical officer of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

1961 – American civil rights movement: Freedom Riders are arrested in Jackson, Mississippi, for "disturbing the peace" after disembarking from their bus.

1962 – Project Mercury: American astronaut Scott Carpenter orbits the Earth three times in the Aurora 7 space capsule.

1976 – The London to Washington, D.C., Concorde service begins.

1994 – Four men convicted of bombing the World Trade Center in New York in 1993 are each sentenced to 240 years in prison.

2002 – Russia and the United States sign the Moscow Treaty.


1909 – Wilbur Mills, American banker and politician (d. 1992)

1925 – Carmine Infantino, American illustrator and educator (d. 2013)

1938 – Tommy Chong, Canadian-American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter

1938 – David Viscott, American psychiatrist and author (d. 1996)

1940 – Joseph Brodsky, Russian-American poet and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1996)

1941 – Bob Dylan, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (Traveling Wilburys)

1943 – Gary Burghoff, American actor and singer

1944 – Patti LaBelle, American singer-songwriter and actress (Labelle)

1945 – Priscilla Presley, American actress and businesswoman

1950 – Larry Seidlin, American lawyer and judge

1955 – Rosanne Cash, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

1956 – Richard B. Bernstein, American historian and academic

1963 – Michael Chabon, American author and screenwriter

1963 – Joe Dumars, American basketball player

1988 – Monica Lin Brown, American sergeant


1879 – William Lloyd Garrison, American journalist and activist (b. 1805)

1959 – John Foster Dulles, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 52nd United States Secretary of State (b. 1888)

1974 – Duke Ellington, American pianist and composer (b. 1899)

1984 – Vince McMahon, Sr., American wrestling promoter and businessman, founded WWE (b. 1914)

2002 – Wallace Markfield, American author (b. 1926)

2008 – Dick Martin, American actor and director (b. 1922)

2015 – Daniel Meltzer, American lawyer and academic (b. 1951)