Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
TODAY IN HISTORY
On May 31, 1889, some 2,200 people in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, perished when the South Fork Dam collapsed, sending 20 million tons of water rushing through the town.
Also on this date
In 1790, President George Washington signed into law the first U.S. copyright act.
In 1859, the Big Ben clock tower in London went into operation, chiming for the first time.
In 1921, a race riot erupted in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as white mobs began looting and leveling the affluent Black district of Greenwood over reports a Black man had assaulted a white woman in an elevator; hundreds are believed to have died.
In 1949, former State Department official and accused spy Alger Hiss went on trial in New York, charged with perjury (the jury deadlocked, but Hiss was convicted in a second trial).
In 1962, former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel a few minutes before midnight for his role in the Holocaust.
In 1970, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake in Peru claimed an estimated 67,000 lives.
In 2009, Dr. George Tiller, a rare provider of late-term abortions, was shot and killed in a Wichita, Kansas, church. (Gunman Scott Roeder was later convicted of firstdegree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 50 years.)
In 2014, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only American soldier held prisoner in Afghanistan, was freed by the Taliban in exchange for five Afghan detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In 2019, a longtime city employee opened fire in a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Virginia, killing 12 people before police shot and killed him; officials said DeWayne Craddock had resigned by email hours before the shooting.
Ten years ago: Actor Jean Stapleton, who played Archie Bunker’s far better half, the sweetly naive Edith, in TV’s groundbreaking 1970s comedy “All in the Family,” died in New York at age 90.
Five years ago: The Trump administration imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from Europe, Mexico and Canada in a move that drew immediate vows of retaliation.
One year ago: A week after a gunman ran into an Uvalde, Texas, grade school and started shooting, the first of 21 funerals was held. Hundreds of mourners turned out for an afternoon Mass to remember Amerie Jo Garza.