75 Years Ago
May 1, 1931 The Empire State Building, which will remain the world’s tallest for 40 years, is dedicated in New York City.
150 Years Ago
May 21, 1856 Pro-slavery guerrillas attack the antislavery town of Lawrence, Kansas, looting property and killing one man. On May 24 and 25 a small group led by John Brown, who will later mount an attack on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry, retaliates by killing five pro-slavery settlers on Pottawatomie Creek.
May 22, 1856 Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina severely beats Sen. Charles Sumner with a cane on the floor of the Senate. The assault occurs two days after Sumner concluded a fire-breathing antislavery speech in which he insulted Sen. Andrew P. Butler, Brooks’s uncle. Sumner is so badly injured that except for a few brief visits, he will not be able to return to the Senate for more than three years.
200 Years Ago
May 30, 1806 In Tennessee, Andrew Jackson, a future President, kills Charles Dickinson in a duel stemming from a personal insult.
250 Years Ago
May 15, 1756 The military struggle between North America’s British and French colonists goes global as Britain declares war on France.
400 Years Ago
March 15, 1781 April 10, 1606 Virginia, the first English colony in America, receives a charter from King James I.
500 Years Ago
May 20, 1506 Christopher Columbus dies in Spain, still believing that his explorations reached China.