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Today in History: Golden Gate Bridge opens to pedestrian traffic, vehicles next day

The Golden Gate Bridge at San Francisco, the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time, was opened on May 27, 1937. A view taken from one of the towers of pedestrians swarming across the Golden Gate Bridge immediately after the opening. (AP Photo)

By The Associated Press

Today is Thursday, May 27, the 147th day of 2021. There are 218 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 27, 1941, the British Royal Navy sank the German battleship Bismarck off France with a loss of some 2,000 lives, three days after the Bismarck sank the HMS Hood with the loss of more than 1,400 lives. Amid rising world tensions, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed an “unlimited national emergency” during a radio address from the White House.

On this date:

In 1861, Chief Justice Roger Taney, sitting as a federal circuit court judge in Baltimore, ruled that President Abraham Lincoln lacked the authority to suspend the writ of habeas corpus (Lincoln disregarded the ruling).

In 1896, 255 people were killed when a tornado struck St. Louis, Missouri, and East St. Louis, Illinois.

In 1933, the Chicago World’s Fair, celebrating “A Century of Progress,” officially opened. Walt Disney’s Academy Award-winning animated short “The Three Little Pigs” was first released.

In 1935, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, unanimously struck down the National Industrial Recovery Act, a key component of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” legislative program.

In 1937, the newly completed Golden Gate Bridge connecting San Francisco and Marin County, California, was opened to pedestrian traffic (vehicles began crossing the next day).

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 1964, independent India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, died.

In 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court, in United States v. O’Brien, upheld the conviction of David O’Brien for destroying his draft card outside a Boston courthouse, ruling that the act was not protected by freedom of speech.

In 1993, five people were killed in a bombing at the Uffizi museum of art in Florence, Italy; some three dozen paintings were ruined or damaged.

In 1994, Nobel Prize-winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia to the emotional cheers of thousands after spending two decades in exile.

In 1998, Michael Fortier, the government’s star witness in the Oklahoma City bombing case, was sentenced to 12 years in prison after apologizing for not warning anyone about the deadly plot. (Fortier was freed in January 2006.)

In 2018, LeBron James reached his eighth straight NBA Finals as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics 87-79 in Game 7 of the semifinals.

Ten years ago: Astronauts Mike Fincke and Gregory Chamitoff made history as the final spacewalkers of NASA’s 30-year shuttle program, completing construction of the International Space Station with the smooth addition of an extension pole. President Barack Obama, visiting Poland, honored the memories of those slain in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising against Nazis. Gil Scott-Heron, 62, widely considered one of the godfathers of rap music, died in New York. Actor Jeff Conaway died at a hospital in Encino, California; he was 60.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama became the first American chief executive to visit Hiroshima, the city where the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb during World War II, declaring it a fitting place to summon people everywhere to embrace the vision of a world without nuclear weapons.

One year ago: Protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody rocked Minneapolis for a second night, with some people looting stores and setting fires. Protests spread to additional cities; hundreds of people blocked a Los Angeles freeway and shattered windows of California Highway Patrol cruisers. The U.S. surged past a milestone in the coronavirus pandemic, with the confirmed death toll topping 100,000. For the first time, House lawmakers voted by proxy, a move aimed at avoiding the risks of travel to Washington during the pandemic. Boeing said it would cut more than 12,000 U.S. jobs through layoffs and buyouts as it dealt with a downturn in travel caused by the pandemic; at the same time, the company said it was resuming production of the 737 Max jetliner. Playwright and AIDS activist Larry Kramer died of pneumonia at 84.

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