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Today in History: White mob attacks busload of Freedom Riders in 1961

By The Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, May 20, the 141st day of 2020. There are 225 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 20, 1961, a white mob attacked a busload of Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Alabama, prompting the federal government to send in U.S. marshals to restore order.

On this date:

In 1506, explorer Christopher Columbus died in Spain.

In 1873, Levi Strauss and tailor Jacob Davis received a U.S. patent for men’s work pants made with copper rivets.

In 1899, taxi driver Jacob German was pulled over and arrested by a police officer riding a bicycle for speeding down Manhattan’s Lexington Avenue in his electric car at 12 miles an hour at a time when the speed limit was 8 mph; it was the first recorded speeding arrest in U.S. history.

In 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York, aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on his historic solo flight to France.

In 1932, Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. (Because of weather and equipment problems, Earhart set down in Northern Ireland instead of her intended destination, France.)

In 1939, regular trans-Atlantic mail service began as a Pan American Airways plane, the Yankee Clipper, took off from Port Washington, New York, bound for Marseille, France.

In 1948, Chiang Kai-shek was inaugurated as the first president of the Republic of China (Taiwan).

In 1956, the United States exploded the first airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.

In 1959, nearly 5,000 Japanese-Americans had their U.S. citizenships restored after choosing to renounce them during World War II.

In 1985, Radio Marti, operated by the U.S. government, began broadcasting; Cuba responded by attempting to jam its signal.

In 1995, President Bill Clinton announced that the two-block stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House would be permanently closed to vehicles as a security measure.

In 2009, suspended NFL star Michael Vick was released after 19 months in prison for running a dogfighting ring to begin two months’ home confinement.

Ten years ago: Under pressure following security lapses, retired Navy Adm. Dennis Blair resigned as national intelligence director. Mexican President Felipe Calderon took his opposition to a new Arizona immigration law to the U.S. Congress, telling lawmakers it ignored “a reality that cannot be erased by decree.” Floyd Landis admitted for the first time that he was guilty of doping for several years before being stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title.

Five years ago: Four of the world’s biggest banks — JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup’s banking unit Citicorp, Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland — agreed to pay more than $5 billion in penalties and plead guilty to rigging the currency markets. Islamic State extremists captured the ancient desert city of Palmyra in central Syria, a stunning triumph for the group.

One year ago: Nuclear officials in Iran said the country had quadrupled its uranium-enrichment production capacity amid tensions with the U.S. over Tehran’s atomic program. A 16-year-old boy from Guatemala died while in U.S. Border Patrol custody in Texas, becoming the sixth child in the past year to die after U.S. border agents detained them; an autopsy found that Carlos Hernandez Vasquez had died of complications of the flu. Ukraine’s new president, former comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was inaugurated and then immediately disbanded parliament, which was controlled by allies of the man he defeated. President Donald Trump directed former White House Counsel Donald McGahn to defy a congressional subpoena, citing a Justice Department legal opinion maintaining that McGahn would have immunity from testifying about his work as a close Trump adviser.

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