On May 31, 1921, a race riot erupted in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as white mobs began looting and leveling the affluent Black district of Greenwood over reports a Black man had assaulted a white woman in an elevator; hundreds are believed to have died.
In 1935, movie studio 20th Century Fox was created through a merger of the Fox Film Corp. and Twentieth Century Pictures.
In 1970, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake in Peru claimed an estimated 67,000 lives.
In 2019, a longtime city employee opened fire in a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Virginia, killing 12 people on three floors before police shot and killed him; officials said DeWayne Craddock had resigned by email hours before the shooting.
On May 30, 1431, Joan of Arc, condemned as a heretic, was burned at the stake in Rouen, France.
In 1883, 12 people were trampled to death in a stampede sparked by a rumor that the recently opened Brooklyn Bridge was in danger of collapsing.
In 1922, the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., was dedicated in a ceremony attended by President Warren G. Harding, Chief Justice William Howard Taft and Robert Todd Lincoln.
In 1937, ten people were killed when police fired on steelworkers demonstrating near the Republic Steel plant in South Chicago.
In 1943, during World War II, American troops secured the Aleutian island of Attu from Japanese forces.
In 1971, the American space probe Mariner 9 blasted off from Cape Kennedy on a journey to Mars.
On May 29, 1790, Rhode Island became the 13th original colony to ratify the United States Constitution.
In 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tensing Norgay of Nepal became the first climbers to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.
In 1973, Tom Bradley was elected the first Black mayor of Los Angeles.
In 1977, Janet Guthrie became the first woman in the Indianapolis 500.
In 2014, Starbucks closed thousands of stores to hold training sessions for employees on bias, in response to the arrests of two Black men at a store.
In 2015, the Obama administration formally removed Cuba from the U.S. terrorism blacklist.
In 2020, fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested in the death of George Floyd.
On May 28, 1918, American troops fought their first major battle during World War I.
In 1929, the first all-color talking picture, “On with the Show!” produced by Warner Bros., opened in New York.
In 1934, the Dionne quintuplets — Annette, Cecile, Emilie, Marie and Yvonne — were born to Elzire Dionne at the family farm in Ontario, Canada.
In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt pushed a button in Washington signaling vehicular traffic could begin crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in California.
In 1959, the U.S. Army launched Able, a rhesus monkey, and Baker, a squirrel monkey, aboard a Jupiter missile for a suborbital flight which both primates survived.
On May 27, 1931, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed an “unlimited national emergency” during a radio address from the White House.
In 1933, the Chicago World’s Fair, celebrating “A Century of Progress,” officially opened. Also: Walt Disney’s Academy Award-winning animated short “The Three Little Pigs” was first released.
In 1942, Doris “Dorie” Miller, a cook aboard the USS West Virginia, became the first African American to receive the Navy Cross for displaying “extraordinary courage and disregard for his own personal safety” during Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.
In 1994, Nobel Prize- winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia to the emotional cheers of thousands after spending two decades in exile.
On May 25, 1787, four years after the United States won its independence from England, 55 state delegates, including George Washington, James Madison and Benjamin Franklin, convene in Philadelphia to compose a new U.S. constitution.
In 1935, Babe Ruth hit his last three career home runs.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy told Congress: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”
In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Griffin v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, ordered the Virginia county to reopen its public schools, which officials had closed in an attempt to circumvent the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education desegregation ruling.
In 2020, George Floyd, a Black man, died when a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for about 9 1/2 minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and pleading that he couldn’t breathe; Floyd’s death, captured on video by a bystander, would lead to worldwide protests.
On May 24, 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was dedicated by President Chester Alan Arthur and New York Gov. Grover Cleveland.
In 1935, the first major league baseball game to be played at night took place at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field as the Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 2-1.
In 1961, Freedom Riders arriving at a bus terminal in Jackson, Mississippi, were charged with breaching the peace by entering white-designated areas.
In 1962, astronaut Scott Carpenter became the second American to orbit the Earth as he flew aboard Aurora 7.
In 1974, American jazz composer and bandleader Duke Ellington, 75, died in New York.
In 1976, Britain and France opened trans-Atlantic Concorde transport service to Washington.
On May 23, 1430, Joan of Arc was captured.
In 1533, the marriage of England’s King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon was declared void by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer.
In 1967, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping; war broke between Israel and its Arab neighbors the next month.
In 1984, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop issued a report saying there was “very solid” evidence linking cigarette smoke to lung disease in non-smokers. Also: “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” starring Harrison Ford, was released by Paramount Pictures.
In 1994, funeral services were held for former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.