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Moments In Time




 

 

• On May 14, 1796, English doctor Edward Jenner administers the world’s first smallpox vaccinations by scratching cowpox fluid into the skin of an 8- year-old boy. Doctors across Europe soon adopted Jenner’s technique, leading to a drastic decline in the spread of the disease.

• On May 18, 1861, newspaper reports recount a tale of how the wife of President Lincoln had taken it upon herself to appoint a stranger – whom she had met on a train – to any federal office he desired. The report also noted Mrs. Lincoln dancing with the same man many times at the Inauguration Ball in 1860, and suggested that she had apparently succumbed to his charm and flattery.

• On May 16, 1929, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hands out its first awards. The Academy officially began using the nickname Oscar for its awards in 1939. The name of the award possibly arose when Academy executive director Margaret Herrick remarked that the statuette looked like her Uncle Oscar.

• On May 12, 1932, the body of aviation hero Charles Lindbergh’s baby son is found less than a mile from his Hopewell, N.J. home, more than two months after the child was kidnapped. Bruno Hauptmann was arrested, tried and convicted of the crime. In April 1935 he was executed in the electric chair.

• On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court hands down a unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, ruling that racial segregation in public educational facilities is unconstitutional.

• On May 15, 1970, at the White House, President Richard Nixon presents Sgt. John L. Levitow with the Medal of Honor for heroic action in South Vietnam. Levitow was the only enlisted airman to win the Medal of Honor in Vietnam.

• On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II is shot and seriously wounded while passing through St. Peter’s Square in an open car. The pontiff, who spent three weeks in the hospital, fully recovered from his wounds. Pope John Paul II died in 2005 from flu complications.

(c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

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