Today in History (1862) - The U.S. government forbids all Union army officers from returning fugitive slaves, thus effectively annulling the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and setting the stage for the Emancipation Proclamation. On the same day in 1865, the Confederate Congress voted to enlist 300,000 black troops, granting them freedom with the consent of their owners. Lee surrendered a few weeks later.
As the first Thursday in May, today is the National Day of Prayer. The honorary chairman of this event is Oliver North. Alternative activities: watch the last episode of Friends and wish a happy 57th birthday to Martha Nussbaum.