This Day in History

Launch of the Appeal for Amnesty Campaign

On May 28, 1961, the “Appeal for Amnesty, 1961” campaign was launched following the publication of an article titled “The Forgotten Prisoners” in The Observer by lawyer Peter Benenson. This campaign called for the release of individuals imprisoned worldwide for their beliefs, igniting the formation of what would become Amnesty International. This organization would grow […]

Escalation in Vietnam

President John F. Kennedy, on May 11, 1961, ordered a significant increase in United States military presence in South Vietnam. This decision marked a pivotal escalation in U.S. involvement in Vietnam, signifying a deepening of the American commitment to the anti-communist cause in Southeast Asia. Kennedy’s orders led to the deployment of thousands of American […]

First American Travels to Space

Alan Shepard made history on May 5, 1961, as the first American to travel into space, aboard the spacecraft Freedom 7. His suborbital flight, which came just a few weeks after Yuri Gagarin’s orbital flight, ignited a fierce sense of competition and pride that would fuel the U.S. efforts in the ensuing Space Race. Shepard’s […]

The First Freedom Ride Departs from Washington, D.C.

The first Freedom Ride departed from Washington, D.C., on May 4, 1961, as an integrated group of civil rights activists set out to challenge racial segregation in the southern United States. Organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), these brave men and women rode buses into the Deep South, facing violent opposition and enduring […]

President John F. Kennedy Establishes the Peace Corps

On this day in 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed an executive order establishing the Peace Corps, a volunteer program aimed at promoting peace and friendship through international cooperation and service. Since its inception, the Peace Corps has sent thousands of volunteers to work on projects in communities around the world.

The Soviet Union Tests the Tsar Bomba

On this day, the Soviet Union conducted the most powerful nuclear test in history with the detonation of the Tsar Bomba, a massive hydrogen bomb. This event illustrated the height of Cold War tensions and the devastating potential of nuclear weapons.

Boeing CH-47 Chinook

Boeing CH-47 Chinook takes flight for the first time.  The American-made helicopter has been used by the US military in a variety of conflict-related operations including during the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It has also been often used for medical evacuation and search and rescue operations during natural disasters around the world.

Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld

United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld lost his life in a plane crash in Africa while on a peace mission, leaving a lasting legacy of international diplomacy and humanitarianism.