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On This Day in History, May 10

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

  • 1960 Bono

    Irish singer-songwriter, actor, activist

  • 1957 Sid Vicious

    English singer, bass player

  • 1946 Donovan

    Scottish/English singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, actor

  • 1899 Fred Astaire

    American actor, singer, dancer

Deaths On This Day – May 10

  • 1977 Joan Crawford

    American actress

  • 1897 Andrés Bonifacio

    Filipino activist

  • 1863 Stonewall Jackson

    American general

  • 1818 Paul Revere

    American military officer

  • 1774 Louis XV of France

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