This Day in History: August 5

The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty is laid; Nelson Mandela's imprisonment in South Africa begins

On this day, Aug. 5 ...

1884: The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty is laid.

Also on this day:

  • 1861: President Lincoln signs the Revenue Act of 1861, the first income tax in America.
  • 1914: The first electric traffic lights are installed in Cleveland.
  • 1933: President Franklin D. Roosevelt establishes the National Labor Board, which later would be replaced with the National Labor Relations Board.
  • 1936: Jesse Owens wins the 200-meter dash at the Berlin Olympics, collecting the third of his four gold medals for the U.S.
  • 1953: Operation Big Switch begins as the remaining prisoners taken during the Korean War are exchanged at Panmunjom.
  • 1961: The amusement park Six Flags Over Texas has its official grand opening day in Arlington.

Marilyn Monroe (AP Photo/Matty Zimmerman)

1962: Marilyn Monroe, 36, is found dead in her Los Angeles home; her death would be ruled a probable suicide from "acute barbiturate poisoning.”

  • 1962: Nelson Mandela is arrested on charges of leaving South Africa without a passport and inciting workers to strike; it is the beginning of 27 years of imprisonment.
  • 1964: U.S. Navy pilot Everett Alvarez Jr. becomes the first American flier to be shot down and captured by North Vietnam; he would be held prisoner until February 1973.
  • 1967: The U.S. space probe Mariner 7 flew by Mars, sending back photographs and scientific data.
  • 1974: The White House releases transcripts of subpoenaed tape recordings showing that President Richard Nixon and his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, discussed a plan in June 1972 to use the CIA to thwart the FBI’s Watergate investigation; revelation of the tape would spark Nixon’s resignation.
  • 1981: The federal government begins firing air traffic controllers who had gone out on strike.
  • 1991: Democratic congressional leaders formally launch an investigation into whether the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign secretly conspired with Iran to delay release of American hostages until after the presidential election, thereby preventing an “October surprise” that supposedly would have benefited President Jimmy Carter. (A task force later would conclude there was “no credible evidence” of a deal.)
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan participates in taking a new family photo with her fellow justices at the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RC17E9C01E10

Justice Elena Kagan joined the Supreme Court in 2010 after being nominated by former President Barack Obama. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

  • 2010: The Senate confirms Elena Kagan to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court, 63-37.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has bulletproof panels in his Seattle office. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

  • 2013: The Washington Post Co. agrees to sell the Washington Post to Jeff Bezos for $250 million cash.
  • 2014: The San Antonio Spurs hire WNBA star Becky Hammon as an assistant coach, making her the first woman to join an NBA coaching staff.