May 3, 2020
Day 124 of 366
May 3rd is the 124th day of the year. It is World Press Freedom Day, a United Nations-sponsored day designed to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It also marks the anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in Windhoek in 1991.
In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National SAN Architect Day, National Lumpy Rug Day, National Garden Meditation Day, National Specially-Able Pets Day, National Two Different Colored Shoes Day, National Paranormal Day, National Chocolate Custard Day, National Raspberry Pop Over Day, National Textiles Day, National Montana Day, National Infertility Survival Day (typically observed on the Sunday before Mother’s Day), and National Lemonade Day (typically observed on the first Sunday in May).
Historical items of note:
- In 1715, a total solar eclipse was visible across northern Europe and northern Asia, as predicted by Edmond Halley to within 4 minutes of accuracy.
- In 1802, Washington, D.C. was incorporated as a city after Congress abolished the Board of Commissioners, the District’s founding government. The “City of Washington” was given a mayor-council form of government.
- In 1830, the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway was opened. It was the first steam-hauled passenger railway to issue season tickets and include a tunnel.
- In 1903, actor and singer Bing Crosby was born.
- In 1913, Raja Harishchandra was released in India. It was the first full-length Indian feature film, thus marking the beginning of the Indian film industry.
- In 1934, singer and actor Frankie Valli was born.
- In 1935, businessman and founder of the Ronco Company, Ron Popeil, was born.
- In 1948, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Shelley v. Kraemer that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to blacks and other minorities are legally unenforceable.
- In 1952, the Kentucky Derby was televised nationally for the first time via the CBS network. The race was inaugurated 77 years earlier in 1875.
- In 1973, the 108-story Sears Tower in Chicago became the world’s tallest building. It surpassed the World Trade Center in New York City and held the title for nearly 25 years.
- In 1975, actor Dulé Hill was born.
- In 1978, the first unsolicited bulk commercial email (which would later become known as “spam”) was sent by a Digital Equipment Corporation marketing representative to every ARPANET address on the west coast of the United States.
- In 2000, the sport of geocaching began. The first cache’s coordinates from a GPS were posted on Usenet.
- In 2001, the United States lost its seat on the United Nations Human Rights Commission for the first time since the commission was formed in 1947.
- In 2018, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences members voted to expel Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski.
In 1978, May 3rd designated as Sun Day.
The date was signed by United States President Jimmy Carter. It was specifically devoted to advocacy for solar power, following a joint resolution by Congress, H.J.Res. 715 becoming Pub.L. 95–253.
President Carter flew to Denver to visit a solar power research institute. Other officials gathered in Cadillac Mountain in Maine where the sun’s ray allegedly first touch the United States. Meanwhile, a crowd gathered at UN Plaza in New York City for speeches by people such as movie star Robert Redford, who reminded them that the sun “can’t be embargoed by any foreign nation”.
At the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, environmental activist Barry Commoner made a speech to a group of 500 people, claiming that solar power was an issue as pivotal as slavery and was the “one solution to the economic problems of the United States.”
Other events on the National Mall included a marathon, speeches by notable politicians, and a concert with Jackson Browne.
Events were planned in twenty-two countries around the world.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.