3 May 1952

The Kentucky Derby is televised nationally for the first time, on the CBS network.

The Kentucky Derby is an annual horse race that takes place on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, United States. It is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world and is often referred to as “The Run for the Roses” due to the blanket of roses that is draped over the winner.

The race is open to three-year-old Thoroughbreds, and it covers a distance of 1 1/4 miles (about 2 kilometers). The race has been run every year since its inception in 1875, making it the oldest continuously held sporting event in the United States.

The Kentucky Derby is the first race in the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, which also includes the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Winning all three races is considered one of the greatest achievements in horse racing.

The Kentucky Derby is known for its traditions, including the playing of “My Old Kentucky Home” as the horses make their way onto the track, the drinking of mint juleps, and the wearing of elaborate hats by spectators.

The race has also seen its share of memorable moments, including Secretariat’s record-breaking win in 1973 and the upset victory of longshot Mine That Bird in 2009.

3 May 2007

The 3-year-old British girl Madeleine McCann disappears in Praia da Luz, Portugal, starting “the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history”.

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3 May 1947

The new post-war Japanese constitution goes into effect.

On May 3, 1947, Japan’s postwar constitution goes into effect. The progressive constitution granted universal suffrage, stripped Emperor Hirohito of all but symbolic power, stipulated a bill of rights, abolished peerage, and outlawed Japan’s right to make war. The document was largely the work of Supreme Allied Commander Douglas MacArthur and his occupation staff, who had prepared the draft in February 1946 after a Japanese attempt was deemed unacceptable.

As the defender of the Philippines from 1941 to 1942, and commander of Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific theater from 1942 to 1945, Douglas MacArthur was the most acclaimed American general in the war against Japan. On September 2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, he presided over the official surrender of Japan. According to the terms of surrender, Emperor Hirohito and the Japanese government were subject to the authority of the Supreme Commander for Allied Powers in occupied Japan, a post filled by General MacArthur.

On September 8, Supreme Commander MacArthur made his way by automobile through the ruins of Tokyo to the American embassy, which would be his home for the next five and a half years. The occupation was to be a nominally Allied enterprise, but increasing Cold War division left Japan firmly in the American sphere of influence. From his General Headquarters, which overlooked the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo, MacArthur presided over an extremely productive reconstruction of Japanese government, industry, and society along American models. MacArthur was a gifted administrator, and his progressive reforms were for the most part welcomed by the Japanese people.

The most important reform carried out by the American occupation was the establishment of a new constitution to replace the 1889 Meiji Constitution. In early 1946, the Japanese government submitted a draft for a new constitution to the General Headquarters, but it was rejected for being too conservative. MacArthur ordered his young staff to draft their own version in one week. The document, submitted to the Japanese government on February 13, 1946, protected the civil liberties MacArthur had introduced and preserved the emperor, though he was stripped of power. Article 9 forbade the Japanese ever to wage war again.

Before Japan’s defeat, Emperor Hirohito was officially regarded as Japan’s absolute ruler and a quasi-divine figure. Although his authority was sharply limited in practice, he was consulted with by the Japanese government and approved of its expansionist policies from 1931 through World War II. Hirohito feared, with good reason, that he might be indicted as a war criminal and the Japanese imperial house abolished. MacArthur’s constitution at least preserved the emperor as the “symbol of the state and of the unity of the people,” so Hirohito offered his support. Many conservatives in the government were less enthusiastic, but on April 10, 1946, the new constitution was endorsed in popular elections that allowed Japanese women to vote for the first time. The final draft, slightly revised by the Japanese government, was made public one week later. On November 3, it was promulgated by the Diet–the Japanese parliament–and on May 3, 1947, it came into force.

In 1948, Yoshida Shigeru’s election as prime minister ushered in the Yoshida era, marked by political stability and rapid economic growth in Japan. In 1949, MacArthur gave up much of his authority to the Japanese government, and in September 1951 the United States and 48 other nations signed a formal peace treaty with Japan. On April 28, 1952, the treaty went into effect, and Japan assumed full sovereignty as the Allied occupation came to an end.

3 May 1937

The novel, Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell, wins the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

In 3 May 1937, Margaret Mitchell received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Gone with the Wind and the second annual National Book Award from the American Booksellers Association. It is ranked as the second favorite book by American readers, just behind the Bible, according to a 2008 Harris Poll. The poll found the novel has its strongest following among women, those aged 44 or more, both Southerners and Midwesterners, both whites and Hispanics, and those who have not attended college. In a 2014 Harris poll, Mitchell’s novel ranked again as second, after the Bible. The novel is on the list of best-selling books. As of 2010, more than 30 million copies have been printed in the United States and abroad. More than 24 editions of Gone with the Wind have been issued in China. TIME magazine critics, Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo, included the novel on their list of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present 2005. In 2003 the book was listed at number 21 on the BBC’s The Big Read poll of the UK’s “best-loved novel.”

Published in 1936, Gone with the Wind became an immediate best-seller, bringing first-time novelist Margaret Mitchell an overwhelming amount of critical and popular attention. Awarded the 1937 Pulitzer Prize, the novel was adapted as a film in 1939—an achievement that won ten Academy Awards. A historical romance set in northern Georgia during the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction years, Gone with the Wind traces the life of Scarlett O’Hara and her relationships with Rhett Butler, and Ashley and Melanie Wilkes. The novel addresses such themes as survival, romantic love, and the societal structuring of gender and class.

Early appraisals of the novel noted its memorable characters and historical accuracy as well as Mitchell’s remarkable storytelling ability, though other reviews dismissed the novel as melodramatic and trite. Mitchell drew on her extensive knowledge of Civil War history in order to establish a believable setting for Gone with the Wind, but also spent considerable time fact-checking in the Atlanta Public Library. Biographers and critics have discovered striking similarities between real people in Mitchell’s life and characters in the novel, though whether Mitchell intentionally modeled her characters after people she knew is unclear. What remains certain, however, is that her powerful, enduring story of love and survival set in the pre- and postwar South has made Gone with the Wind one of the most popular novels in American history.

Gone with the Wind Summary
Twilight of the Old South
Scarlett O’ Hara is the antiheroine of Gone with the Wind, a character who breaks the conventions of a romance novel from the first line of the book—”Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it.” A spoiled, high-tempered, and strong-willed sixteen-year-old Southern belle, Scarlett is the eldest of three O’Hara daughters who live an idyllic life on a north Georgia plantation called Tara. In the opening scenes, the O’Haras prepare to entertain their neighbors with a barbecue, and Scarlett plots to capture the man she loves—Ashley Wilkes—from her friend, Melanie. However, Ashley rejects her, and Scarlett’s nemesis, Rhett Butler, overhears her humiliation. Rhett, a wealthy outcast from high society who “looks like one of the Borgias,” is both amused by and interested in Scarlett.

The Civil War
News of the war reaches Tara, and Scarlett’s life and the lives of everyone around her are immediately and irrevocably altered. Frustrated by circumstances and rejected by Ashley, she marries Melanie’s brother, Charles, stealing him away from India Wilkes. Charles goes to war and dies, like most of the young men who attended the O’Haras’ party. Inglorious in Scarlett’s eyes, Charles dies from measles, not fighting. The widowed Scarlett grows restless at her plantation home, and relocates to Atlanta, moving in with her sister-in-law Melanie and her Aunt Pitty. Melanie feels great love and respect for Scarlett, but Scarlett is jealous of her and hates her. Scarlett scandalizes Atlanta society with her defiant refusal to mourn her husband appropriately, and in a key scene dances at a charity ball despite the breach of etiquette such an action creates. Rhett is the winning bidder in the “auction” for her next dance, and though still in love with Ashley Wilkes, Scarlett soon comes to enjoy Rhett’s… » Complete Gone with the Wind Summary

3 May 1952

The CBS network televises the Kentucky Derby for the first time.

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Thoroughbred Racing on CBS is the de facto title for a series of horse races events whose broadcasts are produced by CBS Sports, the sports division of the CBS television network in the United States.

CBS first televised horse racing in 1948 with their broadcast of the Belmont Stakes. CBS would broadcast the Belmont Stakes the following year before losing the rights to NBC for the next three years. CBS would resume broadcasting the Belmont Stakes in 1953 and continue to televise it through 1985.

A year after their inaugural telecast of the Belmont Stakes, CBS broadcast the Preakness Stakes, which they would continue to do so through 1976. In 1977, ABC was awarded the contract to televise the Preakness.

Finally, CBS broadcast the Kentucky Derby from 1952-1974. The 1952 Kentucky Derby was the first to be broadcast on network television; Louisville had previously not been connected to network lines. The first coast-to-coast, network-televised Kentucky Derby aired on CBS. Favorite Hill Gail won the Derby, giving his jockey Eddie Arcaro a record fifth victory in the Kentucky Derby, and his trainer, Ben A. Jones, the record for most number of wins (six). Arcaro’s record was matched on this day in 1969 by jockey Bill Hartack. Jones’ record has not been equaled.