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On this day in history - May 19

What Happened On This Day – May 19

  • 1963 Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail is published

    King used the open letter to defend his nonviolent resistance against racism and segregation. It became one of the central texts for the civil rights movement in the United States.

  • 1962 Marilyn Monroe performs her famous rendition of Happy Birthday

    Monroe gave her sultry performance, which was to be her last, at a party for U.S. President John F. Kennedy. The two are believed to have been engaged in an affair.

  • 1959 The North Vietnamese Army begins organizing the Ho Chi Minh trail

    According to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), the system of supply routes used by the “Vietcong” was “one of the greatest achievements of military engineering of the 20th century.”

  • 1919 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk sets off the Turkish War of Independence

    The fight against the allies of the Triple Entente ended some four years later. The Republic of Turkey was founded, and Atatürk became its first President.

  • 1743 Jean-Pierre Christin invents the Celsius thermometer

    The centigrade temperature scale, which is based on the freezing and boiling point of water, is used by most countries around the world. Exceptions include the United State, Belize, and Palau.

Illustration of stork, signifying birth

Births On This Day,
May 19

  • 1945 Pete Townshend

    English singer-songwriter, guitarist

  • 1925 Malcolm X

    American minister, activist

  • 1898 Julius Evola

    Italian philosopher

  • 1893 H. Bonciu

    Romanian author, poet, journalist

  • 1881 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

    Turkish army officer, politician, 1st President of Turkey

Illustration of tombstone, signifying death

Deaths On This Day,
May 19

  • 1994 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

    American book editor, 37th First Lady of the United States

  • 1912 Bolesław Prus

    Polish writer

  • 1898 William Ewart Gladstone

    English politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

  • 1895 José Martí

    Cuban journalist, poet, theorist

  • 1536 Anne Boleyn

    English wife of Henry VIII of England