This Day In History, May 28th

What happened on this day in history: Volkswagen is founded, Phil Hartman is murdered, and more important events from May 28th.

1830: The Indian Removal Act Is Signed Into Law

Following a vote by Congress, President Andrew Jackson signs the Indian Removal Act. The act took 25 million acres of land in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas from Native Americans to give to white settlers. Thus, the act also caused the forced relocation of as many as 60,000 Native Americans from their lands to present-day Oklahoma in a tragic episode that would become known as the Trail of Tears.

1937: Volkswagen Is Founded

This Day In History May 28

Nuremberg Museum of Industrial CultureA 1930s model of what would become the Volkswagen Beetle.

The Volkswagen car manufacturing company is founded in Germany. Originally called Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH — later shortened to Volkswagenwerk, or “The People’s Car Company” — the company was created by the German Labor Front, a Nazi organization. Despite its connection to Nazism, Volkswagen became one of the world’s most popular car companies, boosted by its iconic designs like the Beetle, and it remains an auto giant to this day.

1961: Amnesty International Is Founded

Amnesty International is founded by Peter Benenson, a British lawyer. The goal of the organization was to provide resources to people who had been imprisoned, tortured, or otherwise persecuted for their non-violent political, religious, or social beliefs and activities. Today, Amnesty International exposes human rights abuses around the world, lobbies governments, and provides education and training. The work of the organization has freed thousands from unjust imprisonment, led to the adoption of anti-torture legislation, and has inspired several countries to abolish the death penalty.

1964: The Palestine Liberation Organization Is Founded

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is founded. Organized by Palestinians displaced by the establishment of Israel in 1948, it sought both to provide a representative body for Palestinians and to oppose the state of Israel. Though the PLO initially engaged in extremism and terrorism, it’s recognized today by the Arab League as the representative of the Palestinian people and is considered a “non-member observer state” by the United Nations.

1998: Phil Hartman Is Murdered

Phil And Brynn Hartman

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty ImagesPhil and Brynn Hartman in 1998.

Comedian and actor Phil Hartman is murdered by his wife Brynn inside their Los Angeles home. Though known for his lighthearted roles on Saturday Night Life, The Simpsons, and NewsRadio, Hartman had an offscreen life that was often tumultuous, in large part due to domestic conflicts with Brynn. On the night of the murder, they had a heated argument before Brynn, inebriated and high on cocaine, shot Phil as he slept before turning the gun on herself.