Historical Events in May 1961

  • May 1 1st US airplane hijacked to Cuba

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 1 Fidel Castro announces there will be no more elections in Cuba

Cuban Revolutionary and President Fidel Castro
Cuban Revolutionary and President
Fidel Castro

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 1 Pulitzer prize awarded to Harper Lee for her novel "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Author Harper Lee
Harper Lee
  • May 1 Tanganyika granted full internal self-government by Britain
  • May 3 Warren Spahn pitches a 2 hitter after pitching a no hitter
  • May 4 1st on-the-road Spacemobile lecture given.
  • May 4 CORE begins freedom rides from Washington, D.C.
  • May 4 Malcolm Ross & Victor Prather reach 34,668 m (record) in balloon
  • May 4 South-Africa ANC-leader John Nkadimeng arrested
  • May 5 Alan Shepard becomes 1st American in space (aboard Freedom 7)
  • May 6 87th Kentucky Derby: John Sellers aboard Carry Back wins in 2:04
  • May 6 Omer Vanaudenhove chosen chairman of Belgium Liberal Party
  • May 7 "Young Abe Lincoln" closes at Eugene O'Neill NYC after 27 performances
  • May 7 Ruth Jessen wins LPGA Peach Blossom Golf Open
  • May 8 1st practical sea water conversion plant-Freeport, Texas
  • May 8 Alan Shepard receives NASA Distinguished Service Medal, Washington
  • May 9 Balt Oriole Jim Gentile hits 2 grand slams (9 RBIs) vs Minnesota Twins
  • May 9 FCC Chairman Newton N Minow criticizes TV as a "vast wasteland"
  • May 9 Jim Gentile is 4th to hit grand slams in consecutive innings
  • May 10 "Beyond the Fringe" premieres in London
  • May 12 Mikhail Botvinnik wins world chess championship for 3rd time
  • May 14 Bus with 1st group of Freedom Riders bombed & burned in Alabama
  • May 14 Mickey Wright wins LPGA Columbus Golf Open
  • May 14 Stirling Moss wins the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix
  • May 15 "Bonanza" by Al Caiola Orchestra hits #19
  • May 15 36 Unification church couples wed in Korea

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 15 Pope John XXIII publishes encyclical Mater et Magistra

  • May 16 13th Emmy Awards: Jack Benny Show, Raymond Burr & Barbara Stanwyck win
  • May 17 Castro offers to exchange Bay of Pigs prisoners for 500 bulldozers
  • May 18 "Donnybrook!" opens at 46th St Theater NYC for 68 performances
  • May 18 14th Cannes Film Festival: "The Long Absence" directed by Henri Colpi and "Viridiana" directed by Luis Bunuel jointly awarded the Palme d'Or
  • May 19 New pier opens in Scheveningen
  • May 20 86th Preakness: Johnny Sellers aboard Carry Back wins in 1:57.6
  • May 20 Henzes opera "Elegy for Young Lovers," premieres in Schwetzingen
  • May 20 Mauritania adopts constitution
  • May 20 White mob attacks "Freedom Riders" in Montgomery, Alabama
  • May 21 Governor Patterson declares martial law in Montgomery
  • May 22 "Mother-In-Law" by Ernie K-Doe hits #1
  • May 22 "Touchables In Brooklyn" by Dickie Goodman hits #42
  • May 22 1st revolving restaurant (Top Of The Needle in Seattle) opens
  • May 24 27 Freedom Riders arrested in Jackson, Mississippi
  • May 24 NASA Explorer Ionosphere research mission fails to reach Earth orbit
  • May 24 Cyprus joins the Council of Europe.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 25 JFK announces US goal of putting a man on Moon before the end of decade

35th US President John F. Kennedy
35th US President
John F. Kennedy
  • May 25 NASA civilian pilot Joseph A Walker takes X-15 to 32,770 m
  • May 26 Freedom Ride Coordinating Committee establishes in Atlanta
  • May 26 USAF bomber flies Atlantic in a record of just over 3 hours
  • May 27 1st black light is sold
  • May 27 Fiorentina of Italy win 1st European Cup Winner's Cup against Glasgow Rangers 4-2 in Florence (2nd leg)
  • May 27 Ralph Boston of US, sets then long jump record at 27' ½"
  • May 27 60th Men's French Championships: Manuel Santana beats Nicola Pietrangeli (4-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-0, 6-2)
  • May 27 60th Women's French Championships: Ann Haydon beats Yola Ramirez (6-2, 6-1)
  • May 28 Amnesty Intl founded (Nobel Peace Prize 1977)
  • May 28 Last trip (Paris to Bucharest) on Orient Express (after 78 years)
  • May 28 Record 27 HRs hit in 7 AL games
  • May 30 Dutch DC-8 crashes after takeoff at Lisbon, 62 die
  • May 30 Maris hits his 10th & 11th of 61 HRs
  • May 30 Long time Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo is assassinated in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 30 Indianapolis 500: A. J. Foyt wins in 3:35:37.540 (223.908 km/h)

Racing Driver A. J. Foyt
Racing Driver
A. J. Foyt
  • May 31 Arthur Michael Ramsey appointed the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury
  • May 31 Chuck Berry's amusement park, Berryland in St Louis, opens

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 31 JFK visits Charles de Gaulle in Paris

French President Charles de Gaulle
French President
Charles de Gaulle
  • May 31 Judge Irving Kaufman orders Board of Ed of New Rochelle, to integrate
  • May 31 Union of South Africa becomes a republic, leaves Commonwealth
  • May 31 6th European Cup: Benfica beats Barcelona 3-2 at Bern