On This Day in History: May 3

On this day in 1919, Pete Seeger, folk singer, activist, environmentalist was born in NYC.

On July 26, 1956, the House of Representatives voted 373 to 9 to cite Pete Seeger and seven others (including playwright Arthur Miller) for contempt, as they failed to cooperate with House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in their attempts to investigate alleged subversives and communists. Pete Seeger testified before the HUAC in 1955.

In one of Pete’s darkest moments, when his personal freedom, his career, and his safety were in jeopardy, a flash of inspiration ignited this song. The song was stirred by a passage from Mikhail Sholokhov’s novel “And Quie Flows the Don”. Around the world the song traveled and in 1962 at a UNICEF concert in Germany, Marlene Dietrich, Academy Award-nominated German-born American actress, first performed the song in French, as “Qui peut dire ou vont les fleurs?” Shortly after she sang it in German. The song’s impact in Germany just after WWII was shattering. It’s universal message, “let there be peace in the world” did not get lost in its translation. To the contrary, the combination of the language, the setting, and the great lyrics has had a profound effect on people all around the world. May it have the same effect today and bring renewed awareness to all that hear it.

Clearwater Festival 2010

Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival 2010

June 19 & 20

Croton Point Park

Croton-on-Hudson, NY

1494  – Christopher Columbus first sights land that will be called Jamaica.

1715 – “Edmund Halley’s” total solar eclipse (the last one visible in London, United Kingdom for almost 900 years).

1791 – The Constitution of May 3 (the first modern constitution in Europe) is proclaimed by the Sejm of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

1802 – Washington, D.C. is incorporated as a city.

1808 – Finnish War: Sweden loses the fortress of Sveaborg to Russia.

1808 – Peninsular War: The Madrid rebels who rose up on May 2 are fired upon near Príncipe Pío hill.

1815 – Neapolitan War: Joachim Murat, King of Naples is defeated by the Austrians at the Battle of Tolentino, the decisive engagement of the war.

1830 – The Canterbury and Whitstable Railway is opened. It is the first steam hauled passenger railway to issue season tickets and include a tunnel.

1849 – The May Uprising in Dresden begins – the last of the German revolutions of 1848.

1863 Confederates take Hazel Grove at Chancellorsville: General Joseph Hooker and the Army of the Potomac abandon a key hill on the Chancellorsville battlefield.

1867 – The Hudson’s Bay Company gives up all claims to Vancouver Island.

1877 – Labatt Park, the oldest continually operating baseball grounds in the world has its first game.

1901 – The Great Fire of 1901 begins in Jacksonville, Florida.

1915 Austro-German forces drive Russians out of the Carpathians: during a 10-day-long stretch of fighting in the Carpathian Mountains on the Galician front in Austria-Hungary, a combined Austro-German force succeeds in defeating the Russian army near the Dunajec River

1915 – The poem In Flanders Fields is written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.

1916 – The leaders of the Easter Rising are executed in Dublin.

1920 – A Bolshevik coup fails in the Democratic Republic of Georgia.

1921 – West Virginia imposes the first state sales tax.

1928 – Japanese atrocities in Jinan, China.

1933 – Nellie Tayloe Ross becomes the first woman to head the United States Mint.

1937 – Gone with the Wind, a novel by Margaret Mitchell, wins the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

1942World War II: Japanese naval troops invade Tulagi Island in the Solomon Islands during the first part of Operation Mo that results in the Battle of the Coral Sea between Japanese forces and forces from the United States and Australia.

1945 – World War II: Sinking of the prison ships Cap Arcona, Thielbek and Deutschland by the Royal Air Force in Lübeck Bay.

1946 – [The International Military Tribunal for the Far East begins in Tokyo with twenty-eight Japanese military and government officials accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

1947New post-war Japanese constitution goes into effect.

1948 – [http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/us-supreme-court-decides-paramount-antitrust-case The U.S. Supreme Court rules that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to blacks and other minorities are legally unenforceable.

1951The United States Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees begin their closed door hearings into the dismissal of General Douglas MacArthur by U.S. President Harry Truman.

1951 – The Kentucky Derby is televised for the first time.

1952Lieutenant Colonels Joseph O. Fletcher and William P. Benedict of the United States land a plane at the North Pole.

1957 – Walter O’Malley, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, agrees to move the team from Brooklyn, New York, to Los Angeles, California.

1960 – The Off-Broadway musical comedy, The Fantasticks, opens in New York City’s Greenwich Village, eventually becoming the longest-running musical of all time.

1960 – The Anne Frank House opens in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

1963 – The police force in Birmingham, Alabama switches tactics and responds with violent force to stop the “Birmingham campaign” protesters. Images of the violent suppression are transmitted worldwide, bringing newfound attention to the African-American Civil Rights Movement.

1968 The first heart transplant in Britain is successfully carried out by a team of 18 doctors and nurses at the National Heart Hospital in Marylebone, London.

1973 – The Sears Tower in Chicago is topped out as the world’s tallest building.

1965 173rd Airborne Brigade deploys to South Vietnam

1968 Paris is chosen as site for peace talks: After 34 days of discussions to select a site, the United States and North Vietnam agree to begin formal negotiations in Paris on May 10, or shortly thereafter.

1971 More than 6000 anti war demonstrators were arrested in Washington D.C. when they tried to disrupt commuter traffic

1978 – The first unsolicited bulk commercial e-mail (which would later become known as “spam”) is sent by a Digital Equipment Corporation marketing representative to every ARPANET address on the west coast of the United States.

1979 Margaret Thatcher Becomes Prime Minister

1986 Willie Shoemaker becomes oldest man to win Kentucky Derby

1987 – A crash by Bobby Allison at the Talladega Superspeedway, Alabama fencing at the start-finish line would lead NASCAR to develop restrictor plate racing the following season both at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega.

1990 The Soviet republic of Latvia’s new parliament has declared they will press for independence from Moscow following neighbors Lithuania passing a unilateral declaration of independence earlier in the year.

1999 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is slammed by an F5 tornado killing forty-two people, injuring 665, and causing $1 billion in damage. The tornado is one of 66 from the 1999 Oklahoma tornado outbreak. This is the strongest tornado ever recorded with wind speeds of up to 318 mph.

2000 – The sport of geocaching begins, with the first cache placed and the coordinates from a GPS posted on Usenet.

2001 – The United States loses its seat on the U.N. Human Rights Commission for the first time since the commission was formed in 1947.

2003 – New Hampshire’s famous Old Man of the Mountain collapses.

2006 – Zacarias Moussaoui is sentenced to life in prison in Alexandria, Virginia.


100 – Norman Corwin, American writer, screenwriter, producer, essayist and teacher of journalism and writing. His earliest and biggest success was in the writing and directing of radio drama during the 1930s and 1940s.

76 – Frankie Valli, American singer (The Four Seasons)

75 – Ron Popeil, American inventor

68 – Dave Marash, American journalist

68 – C.L. Otter, American politician, governor of Idaho

67 – Jim Risch, American politician, junior senator of Idaho

64 – Greg Gumbel, American broadcaster

61 – Ron Wyden, American politician, senior senator of Oregon

59 – Christopher Cross, American musician

49 – David Vitter, American politician, junior senator of Louisiana

35 – Willie Geist, American television personality

35 – Christina Hendricks, American actress

35 – Dulé Hill, American actor, “West Wing”

30 – Marcel Vigneron, American chef (Top Chef)

29 – Farrah Franklin, American singer (former member of Destiny’s Child)


  1. TMC

  2. Night Owl

    Stranded on his fourth voyage.

    For a year Columbus and his men remained stranded on Jamaica. A Spaniard, Diego Mendez, and some natives paddled a canoe to get help from Hispaniola. That island’s governor, Nicolás de Ovando y Cáceres, detested Columbus and obstructed all efforts to rescue him and his men. In the meantime Columbus, in a desperate effort to induce the natives to continue provisioning him and his hungry men, successfully intimidated the natives by correctly predicting a lunar eclipse for February 29, 1504, using the Ephemeris of the German astronomer Regiomontanus.

    To which the natives replied: “Dude!”

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