On This Day In History

Our "On This Day in History" section of the website is designed to provide teachers with video resources to help students better understand significant events throughout U.S. history.

Each event features several short video clips that help set the stage by providing context through archival footage and witness testimony (where available), utilizing C-SPAN's unique access to historical newsreels, vignettes, oral history, and expert analysis.

As one of the most recent additions to our site, this area will continue to develop each month. If you or your students have suggestions for key moments in history that are not currently represented, please email us at educate@c-span.org.

  • Document ImageMay 1, 1958

    Law Day

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower commemorated the first Law Day on May 1, 1958. Law Day celebrates the…

    5 Video Clips
  • Document ImageMay 4, 1970

    The May 4th Shootings at Kent State

    On May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guard soldier opened fire on unarmed college students participating in a…

    9 Video Clips
  • Document ImageMay 5, 1987

    Iran-Contra

    On this day on May 5, 1987, Congress began its official proceedings in their investigation of the Iran-Contra…

    6 Video Clips
  • Document ImageMay 5, 1862

    Cinco de Mayo

    The Mexican army's victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 is observed on el Cinco de Mayo.…

    5 Video Clips
  • Document ImageMay 6, 1882

    Chinese Exclusion Act

    Signed on May 6, 1882 by President Chester Arthur, the Chinese Exclusion Act halted immigration of Chinese…

    5 Video Clips
  • Document ImageMay 7, 1915

    The Sinking of the Lusitania

    The British ocean liner, the Lusitania, set sail from New York on May 1, 1915, with over 2000 passengers and…

    7 Video Clips
  • Document ImageMay 8, 1945

    Victory in Europe Day (VE Day)

    On May 8, 1945, Victory in Europe Day (or VE Day) marked the formal acceptance by the Allied Forces of Nazi…

    5 Video Clips
  • Document ImageMay 10, 1869

    Transcontinental Railroad

    From 1862 through 1869, the transcontinental railroad was constructed, connecting the eastern part of the…

    3 Video Clips
  • Document ImageMay 12, 2004

    U.S. Responses to Abu Ghraib Photo Release

    On May 12, 2004, the U.S. Senate responded to revealed footage depicting human rights violations that took…

    4 Video Clips
  • Document ImageMay 13, 1864

    Arlington National Cemetery

    On May 13, 1864, the first soldier was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington National Cemetery was…

    5 Video Clips
  • Document ImageMay 14, 1804

    Lewis & Clark Expedition

    On May 14, 1804 Meriweather Lewis and William Clark launched their expedition to explore the Northwest.…

    3 Video Clips
  • Document ImageMay 16, 1918

    The Sedition Act of 1918

    The Sedition Act extended the Espionage Act of 1917 and was enacted on May 16, 1918 to cover a broader range…

    3 Video Clips
  • Document ImageMay 17, 1968

    The Catonsville 9

    On May 17, 1968, nine Catholic activists who were protesting the Vietnam War, went to a Selective Service…

    5 Video Clips
  • Document ImageMay 17, 1954

    Brown v Board of Education Decision

    Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka was a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court handed down a…

    9 Video Clips
  • Document ImageMay 18, 1917

    Selective Service Act

    On May 18, 1917 President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Selective Service Act, authorizing the federal…

    2 Video Clips
  • Document ImageMay 21, 1881

    Clara Barton and the Founding of the American Red Cross

    On May 21, 1881 Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization to provide emergency…

    4 Video Clips
  • Document ImageMay 22, 1856

    The Caning of Charles Sumner

    On May 22, 1856, Representative Preston Brooks (D-SC) attacked Senator Charles Sumner (R-MA), with a walking…

    3 Video Clips
  • Document ImageMay 23, 1934

    Criminals Bonnie and Clyde Ambushed and Killed

    Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were two notorious criminals whose crime sprees varied across several states…

    2 Video Clips
  • Document ImageMay 24, 1883

    Brooklyn Bridge Opens

    On May 24, 1883, after more than a decade of construction, the Brooklyn Bridge, the first steel suspension…

    3 Video Clips
  • Document ImageMay 27, 1937

    The Golden Gate Bridge Opened

    On May 27, 1937 the Golden Gate Bridge, a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate strait, opened to…

    2 Video Clips