What Happened On This Day – May 10
1994 Nelson Mandela becomes South Africa's first black president
Mandela's inauguration came after more than 300 years of white rule. Before becoming president, he was a pivotal figure in the fight against the racist apartheid regime and was incarcerated for 27 years.
1954 Bill Haley releases “Rock Around the Clock”
It was the first rock song to top the Billboard charts and has become a classic of the early rock era.
1941 Adolf Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess, parachutes into Scotland to broker a peace agreement
Hess was captured and interrogated. He was the last in a long line of prominent figures to be incarcerated in the Tower of London. Hitler characterized his peace mission four years before the end of World War II as treason.
1933 Nazis ceremonially burn about 25,000 allegedly “un-German” books
The book burnings were part of the right-wing German Student Union's Action against the Un-German Spirit. Among the burnt books were works by Albert Einstein, Bertolt Brecht, Sigmund Freud, and Franz Kafka.
1869 In the United States, the first coast to coast railroad is completed
The Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroad systems were joined at Promontory Summit in Utah, using a “Golden Spike”. This last spike is now housed in the Cantor Arts Museum at Stanford University.
Births On This Day – May 10
1977 Nick Heidfeld
German race car driver
Irish singer-songwriter, actor, activist
1957 Sid Vicious
English singer, bass player
Scottish/English singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, actor
1899 Fred Astaire
American actor, singer, dancer
Deaths On This Day – May 10
1977 Joan Crawford
1897 Andrés Bonifacio
1863 Stonewall Jackson
1818 Paul Revere
American military officer
1774 Louis XV of France