Today in History: Nelson Mandela claims victory in first democratic South Africa elections

Today is Thursday, May 2, the 123rd day of 2024. There are 243 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 2, 1994, Nelson Mandela claimed victory in the wake of South Africa’s first democratic elections; President F.W. de Klerk acknowledged defeat.

On this date:

In 1863, during the Civil War, Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was accidentally wounded by his own men at Chancellorsville, Virginia; he died eight days later.

In 1890, the Oklahoma Territory was organized.

In 1927, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Buck v. Bell, upheld 8-1 a Virginia law allowing the forced sterilization of people to promote the “health of the patient and the welfare of society.”

In 1932, Jack Benny’s first radio show, sponsored by Canada Dry, made its debut on the NBC Blue Network.

In 1941, General Mills began shipping its new cereal, “Cheerioats,” to six test markets. (The cereal was later renamed “Cheerios.”)

In 1970, jockey Diane Crump became the first woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby; she finished in 15th place aboard Fathom.

In 1972, a fire at the Sunshine silver mine in Kellogg, Idaho, claimed the lives of 91 workers who succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning. Longtime FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover died in Washington at age 77.

In 1997, Tony Blair, whose new Labour Party crushed John Major’s long-reigning Conservatives in a national election, became at age 43 Britain’s youngest prime minister in 185 years.

In 2005, Pfc. Lynndie England, the young woman pictured in some of the most notorious Abu Ghraib photos, pleaded guilty at Fort Hood, Texas, to mistreating prisoners. (A judge later threw out the plea agreement; England was then convicted in a court-martial and received a three-year sentence, of which she served half.)

In 2010, record rains and flash floods in Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee caused more than 30 deaths and submerged the Grand Ole Opry House stage.

In 2011, al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, who’d been killed hours earlier in a raid by elite American forces at his Pakistan compound, was buried at sea.

In 2012, former NFL star Junior Seau was found shot to death at his home in Oceanside, California, a suicide.

In 2013, Jeff Hanneman, a founding member of heavy metal bank Slayer, died in Hemet, California at age 49.

In 2017, Michael Slager, a white former police officer whose killing of Walter Scott, an unarmed Black man running from a traffic stop, was captured on cellphone video, pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges in Charleston, South Carolina. (Slager was sentenced to 20 years in prison.)

In 2018, attorney Rudy Giuliani said President Donald Trump had reimbursed his personal lawyer for $130,000 in hush money paid to a porn actress days before the 2016 presidential election, comments that appeared to contradict Trump’s past claims that he didn’t know the source of the money.

In 2022, a draft was leaked of a Supreme Court ruling throwing out the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling that had stood for a half century. The court cautioned that the draft was not final. (The decision would be released in essentially the same form on June 24.)

In 2023, the Biden administration said it would send 1,500 active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border ahead of an expected migrant surge following the end of coronavirus pandemic-era restrictions.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer Engelbert Humperdinck is 88. Actor-activist Bianca Jagger is 79. Country singer R.C. Bannon is 79. Actor David Suchet is 78. Singer-songwriter Larry Gatlin is 76. Rock singer Lou Gramm (Foreigner) is 74. Actor Christine Baranski is 72. Singer Angela Bofill is 70. Fashion designer Donatella Versace is 69. Actor Brian Tochi is 65. Movie director Stephen Daldry is 64. Actor Elizabeth Berridge is 62. Country singer Ty Herndon is 62. Actor Mitzi Kapture is 62. Commentator Mika Brzezinski is 57. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is 56. Rock musician Todd Sucherman (Styx) is 55. Wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson (AKA The Rock) is 52. Former soccer player David Beckham is 49. Rock singer Jeff Gutt (Stone Temple Pilots) is 48. Actor Jenna Von Oy is 47. Actor Kumail Nanjiani is 46. Actor Ellie Kemper is 44. Actor Robert Buckley is 43. Actor Gaius Charles is 41. Pop singer Lily Allen is 39. Olympic gold medal figure skater Sarah Hughes is 39. Actor Thomas McDonell is 38. Actor Kay Panabaker is 34. NBA All-Star Paul George is 34. Princess Charlotte of Cambridge is 9.

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