On May 4, 1776, Rhode Island declared its freedom from England, two months before the Declaration of Independence was adopted.
On this date:
In 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago, a labor demonstration for an 8-hour work day turned into a deadly riot when a bomb exploded.
In 1904, the United States took over construction of the Panama Canal.
In 1916, responding to a demand from President Woodrow Wilson, Germany agreed to limit its submarine warfare. (However, Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare the following year.)
In 1932, mobster Al Capone, convicted of income-tax evasion, entered the federal penitentiary in Atlanta. (Capone was later transferred to Alcatraz Island.)
In 1942, the Battle of the Coral Sea, the first naval clash fought entirely with carrier aircraft, began in the Pacific during World War II. (The outcome was considered a tactical victory for Imperial Japan, but ultimately a strategic one for the Allies.)
In 1959, the first Grammy Awards ceremony was held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Domenico Modugno won Record of the Year and Song of the Year for “Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)”; Henry Mancini won Album of the Year for “The Music from Peter Gunn.”
In 1961, the first group of “Freedom Riders” left Washington, D.C., to challenge racial segregation on interstate buses and in bus terminals.
In 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire during an anti-war protest at Kent State University, killing four students and wounding nine others.
In 1980, Marshal Josip Broz Tito, president of Yugoslavia, died three days before his 88th birthday.
In 1998, Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski was given four life sentences plus 30 years by a federal judge in Sacramento, Calif., under a plea agreement that spared him the death penalty.
Ten years ago: Tornadoes swept across the Central Plains and Midwest, resulting in 38 deaths and causing a wide swath of destruction. Police in Iraq’s capital returned to work in force. Pope John Paul II proclaimed five new saints before a crowd of 1 million people in Madrid. Two American astronauts and one Russian cosmonaut landed nearly 300 miles off course after returning from the international space station.
Five years ago: President George W. Bush visited Greensburg, Kan., where he hailed the resilience of the town and its tiny high school graduating class, one year after a tornado barreled through with astonishing fury. A river boat sank in a remote Amazon region in northern Brazil, killing at least 48 people. Iraq’s first lady (Hiro Ibrahim Ahmed) escaped unharmed from a bomb attack in downtown Baghdad that struck her motorcade.
One year ago: The U.S. and China outlined a tentative deal to send Chen Guangcheng (chehn gwahng-chung), a blind legal activist, to America for study and potentially bring a face-saving end to a delicate diplomatic crisis. (Chen left China on May 19, 2012.) Adam Yauch, 47, the gravelly-voiced rapper who helped make The Beastie Boys one of the seminal groups in hip-hop, died in New York. Game show producer Bob Stewart, 91, died in Los Angeles.
Today’s Birthdays: The former president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, is 85. Opera singer Roberta Peters is 83. Katherine Jackson, matriarch of the Jackson musical family, is 83. Jazz musician Ron Carter is 76. Rock musician Dick Dale is 76. Pop singer Peggy Santiglia (The Angels) is 69. Actor Richard Jenkins is 66. Country singer Stella Parton is 64. Actor-turned-clergyman Hilly Hicks is 63. Irish musician Darryl Hunt (The Pogues) is 63. Singer Jackie Jackson (The Jacksons) is 62. Singer-actress Pia Zadora is 61. Rhythm-and-blues singer Oleta Adams is 60. Rhythm-and-blues singer Sharon Jones is 57. Country singer Randy Travis is 54. Actress Mary McDonough is 52. Comedian Ana Gasteyer is 46. Actor Will Arnett is 43. Rock musician Mike Dirnt (Green Day) is 41. Contemporary Christian singer Chris Tomlin is 41. TV personality and fashion designer Kimora Lee Simmons is 38. Rock musician Jose Castellanos is 36. Singer Lance Bass (‘N Sync) is 34. Actor Alexander Gould is 19. Actress Amara (uh-MAH’-ruh) Miller is 13.
Thought for Today: “When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.” — Henry J. Kaiser, American industrialist (1882-1967).