On May 18, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a measure creating the Tennessee Valley Authority.
On this date:
In 1642, the Canadian city of Montreal was founded by French colonists.
In 1765, about one-fourth of Montreal was destroyed by a fire.
In 1863, the Siege of Vicksburg began during the Civil War, ending July 4 with a Union victory.
In 1896, the Supreme Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson, endorsed "separate but equal" racial segregation, a concept renounced 58 years later in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.
In 1910, Halley's Comet passed by earth, brushing it with its tail.
In 1926, evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson vanished while visiting a beach in Venice, Calif. (McPherson reappeared more than a month later, saying she'd escaped after being kidnapped and held for ransom.)
In 1944, during World War II, Allied forces finally occupied Monte Cassino in Italy after a four-month struggle with Axis troops.
In 1953, Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier as she piloted a Canadair F-86 Sabre jet over Rogers Dry Lake, Calif.
In 1969, astronauts Eugene Cernan, Thomas Stafford and John Young blasted off aboard Apollo 10 on a mission to orbit the moon.
In 1973, Harvard law professor Archibald Cox was appointed Watergate special prosecutor by U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson.
In 1980, the Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington state exploded, leaving 57 people dead or missing.
In 1991, Helen Sharman became the first Briton to rocket into space as she flew aboard a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft with two cosmonauts on an eight-day mission to the Mir space station.
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