Tues, May 4

1990—Six-inch flames shoot from Jesse Joseph Tafero’s head as Florida’s “Old Sparky” takes three jolts and seven minutes to kill him.

1989—U.S.M.C. Lieut. Col. Oliver North is convicted of four felonies in the Iran-Contra scandal, but a Congressional screw-up lets him skate.

1970—In Haymarket Square, Chicago, a new cop statue replaces one destroyed by a bomb months earlier. This one gets blown up, too, months later.

1970—Ohio National Guard troops shoot 13 unarmed students, killing four, at Kent State.

1961—The Freedom Rides begin throughout the south.

1942—The Battle of the Coral Sea begins. In four days 14 ships are sunk or damaged, 159 planes destroyed, and 1,565 men killed; it was a great victory.

1940—Nora Joyce tells Jim, “I haven’t read any of your books but I’ll have to someday because they must be good considering how well they sell.”

1927—A motorman “sick of seeing that policeman with his arm raised” drives his streetcar into a nine-foot statue of a cop commemorating the Haymarket bombing.

1886—In Haymarket Square, Chicago, demonstrators against May 3rd police brutality at the McCormick Reaper plant are attacked by more police. A bomb kills seven cops; a dubious trial later convicts eight anarchists.

1814—Former Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte arrives at Elba, his new jail.

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