Today in History: Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, May 8, the 129th day of 2024. There are 237 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 8, 1996, South Africa took another step from apartheid to democracy by adopting a constitution that guaranteed equal rights for Blacks and whites.
On this date:
In 1541, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto reached the Mississippi River.
In 1846, the first major battle of the Mexican-American War was fought at Palo Alto, Texas; U.S. forces led by Gen. Zachary Taylor were able to beat back Mexican forces.
In 1915, Regret became the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby.
In 1945, President Harry S. Truman announced on radio that Nazi Germany’s forces had surrendered, and that “the flags of freedom fly all over Europe.”
In 1972, President Richard Nixon announced that he had ordered the mining of Haiphong Harbor during the Vietnam War.
In 1973, militant American Indians who had held the South Dakota hamlet of Wounded Knee for 10 weeks surrendered.
In 1978, David R. Berkowitz pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn courtroom to murder, attempted murder and assault in connection with the “Son of Sam” shootings that claimed six lives and terrified New Yorkers. (Berkowitz was sentenced to six consecutive life prison terms.)
In 1984, the Soviet Union announced it would boycott the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
In 1993, the Muslim-led government of Bosnia-Herzegovina and rebel Bosnian Serbs signed an agreement for a nationwide cease-fire.
In 2003, the Senate unanimously endorsed adding to NATO seven former communist nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
In 2012, Maurice Sendak, author of “Where the Wild Things Are” and other beloved children’s books, died in Danbury, Connecticut at age 83.
In 2013, a jury in Phoenix convicted Jodi Arias of first-degree murder in the 2008 death of her one-time boyfriend, Travis Alexander (Arias was later sentenced to life in prison).
In 2018, President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear accord with Iran and restored harsh sanctions; Trump had been a severe critic of the deal negotiated by the Obama administration in which Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program.
In 2020, the unemployment level surged to 14.7%, a level last seen when the country was in the throes of the Great Depression; the government reported that 20 million Americans had lost their jobs in April amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2022, the summer movie season got off to a blockbuster start thanks to “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.” The superhero extravaganza grossed an estimated $185 million in ticket sales in its first weekend in U.S. and Canadian theaters.
In 2023, The Associated Press won two Pulitzer Prizes in journalism for its coverage of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, in the categories of public service and breaking news photography.
Today’s Birthdays: Naturalist Sir David Attenborough is 98. Singer Toni Tennille is 84. Actor James Mitchum is 83. Country singer Jack Blanchard is 82. Jazz musician Keith Jarrett is 79. Actor Mark Blankfield is 76. Singer Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 73. Rock musician Chris Frantz (Talking Heads) is 73. Rockabilly singer Billy Burnette is 71. Rock musician Alex Van Halen is 71. Actor David Keith is 70. Actor Raoul Max Trujillo is 69. Sports commentator/former NFL coach Bill Cowher is 67. Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is 63. Actor Melissa Gilbert is 60. Rock musician Dave Rowntree (Blur) is 60. Rock singer Darren Hayes is 52. Singer Enrique Iglesias is 49. Blues singer-musician Joe Bonamassa is 47. Actor Matt Davis is 46. Actor Elyes Gabel is 41. Actor Domhnall Gleeson is 41. Actor Julia Whelan (WAY’-lan) is 40. Actor Nora Anezeder is 35.