SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – From the release of the first “Star Wars” film to the death of George Floyd, here’s a look at what happened on this day in history.
2020 – George Floyd killed during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota
George Floyd, an unarmed African American man, died as a result of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin refusing to remove his knee from Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes. His death, which was captured on video by a bystander, set off a massive protest around the country and generated great support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Chauvin was later convicted of Floyd’s murder.
2011 – The final episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” aired
During the final episode, Oprah Winfrey walked out on stage to a standing ovation from an audience filled with family, friends, filmmaker Tyler Perry, her fourth-grade teacher Mrs. Duncan and her former Baltimore talk show co-host, Richard Sher. The syndicated daily talk show aired for 25 seasons and led Winfrey to become one of the richest and most influential women in America.
2001 – Erik Weihenmayer became the first blind climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest
Mount Everest is Earth’s highest mountain above sea level and has an elevation of 29,032 feet. Weihenmayer said: “When people say they summit for the view, I think they’re missing a lot of the equation of why we do the things we do. The summit, honestly, is quite anti-climatic. The movement is for me, the most exciting part.”
1992 – Jay Leno debuted as the new permanent host of NBC’s The Tonight Show
Jay Leno replaced Johnny Carson, who retired. Leno was known by some to have a cordial, easygoing manner with a knack for connecting with his audience. Under Leno’s leadership, “The Tonight Show” garnered four Emmy Awards. By 2008, the show was attracting more than 5 million nightly viewers, nearly one and a half times as many as its nearest rival, “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
1977 – The first “Star Wars” film was released by 20th Century Fox
American theater goers were hit with an intergalactic bang that Memorial Day weekend. Starring Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, the film earned hundreds of millions of dollars in ticket sales in America and seven Oscars.
1961 – President John F. Kennedy announced goal of sending an American to the moon
During a special joint session of Congress, Kennedy announced the goal of sending an American safely to the moon before the end of a decade. The president said America should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade was over, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. The goal was achieved in 1969, during the Apollo 11 spaceflight. Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Edwin Aldrin Jr. became the first people to land on the moon and walk the lunar surface.
1935 – Jesse Owens broke three world track records at the Big Ten meet in Michigan
During the meet, Owens broke the record in the broad jump, the 220-yard dash and the low hurdles. He went on to compete at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin where he won gold in the 100-meter run, 200-meter run, the 4 x 100-meter relay and the long jump.