This Day in History: May 9

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On this day, May 9 …

2017: President Trump fires FBI Director James Comey in the midst of an FBI investigation into whether Trump’s campaign had ties to Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Also on this day:

  • 1712: The Carolina Colony is officially divided into two entities: North Carolina and South Carolina.
  • 1914: President Woodrow Wilson, acting on a joint congressional resolution, signs a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
  • 1945: With World War II in Europe at an end, Soviet forces liberate Czechoslovakia from Nazi occupation.
  • 1958: “Vertigo,” Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller starring James Stewart and Kim Novak, premieres in San Francisco, the movie’s setting.
  • 1961: In a speech to the National Association of Broadcasters, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton N. Minow decries the majority of television programming as a “vast wasteland.”
  • 1962: Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology succeed in reflecting a laser beam off the surface of the moon.
  • 1970: President Richard Nixon makes a surprise and impromptu pre-dawn visit to the Lincoln Memorial, where he chats with a group of protesters who were resting on the Memorial steps after protests against the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings.
  • 1994: South Africa’s newly elected parliament chooses Nelson Mandela to be the country’s first black president.
  • 2008: Jury selection begins in the Chicago trial of R&B superstar R. Kelly, who was accused of videotaping himself having sex with a girl as young as 13. (Kelly would be acquitted on all counts.)
  • 2012: In a change of his views, President Barack Obama declares his unequivocal support for same-sex marriage.
  • 2014: A judge strikes down Arkansas’ ban on same-sex marriage, saying the state had “no rational reason” for preventing gay couples from marrying.
  • 2018: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in North Korea to finalize plans for a summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Three Americans who had spent more than a year in prison in North Korea are freed during his visit and leave North Korea aboard Pompeo’s plane.  

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