Today In History: May 17, Brown V Board Of Education Ruling Strikes Down Legal Segregation

Today in History

Today is Friday, May 17, the 138th day of 2024. There are 228 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 17, 1954, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision which held that racially segregated public schools were inherently unequal, and therefore unconstitutional.

On this date:

In 1536, Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer declared the marriage of England’s King Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn invalid after she failed to produce a male heir; Boleyn, already condemned for high treason, was executed two days later.

In 1940, the Nazis occupied Brussels, Belgium, during World War II.

In 1946, President Harry S. Truman seized control of the nation’s railroads, delaying — but not preventing — a threatened strike by engineers and trainmen.

In 1973, a special committee convened by the U.S. Senate began its televised hearings into the Watergate scandal.

In 1980, rioting that claimed 18 lives erupted in Miami’s Liberty City after an all-white jury in Tampa acquitted four former Miami police officers of fatally beating Black insurance executive Arthur McDuffie.

In 1987, 37 American sailors were killed when an Iraqi warplane attacked the U.S. Navy frigate Stark in the Persian Gulf. (Iraq apologized for the attack, calling it a mistake, and paid more than $27 million in compensation.)

In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed a measure requiring neighborhood notification when sex offenders move in. (“Megan’s Law,” as it’s known, was named for Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old New Jersey girl who was raped and murdered in 1994.)

In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex marriages.

In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that young people serving life prison terms should have “a meaningful opportunity to obtain release” provided they didn’t kill their victims.

In 2012, Donna Summer, the “Queen of Disco,” died at age 63.

In 2013, Jorge Rafael Videla (HOHR’-hay rah-fay-EHL’ vih-DAY’-lah), 87, the former dictator who took power in Argentina in a 1976 coup and led a military junta that killed thousands during a “dirty war” against alleged subversives, died in Buenos Aires while serving life in prison for crimes against humanity.

In 2015, a shootout erupted between bikers and police outside a restaurant in Waco, Texas, leaving nine of the bikers dead and 20 people injured.

In 2017, the Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee a federal investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the 2016 Donald Trump campaign.

In 2020, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was tested for the coronavirus on live TV as he announced that all people in the state who were experiencing flu-like symptoms were eligible for tests.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Peter Gerety is 84. Singer Taj Mahal is 82. Rock musician Bill Bruford is 75. TV personality Kathleen Sullivan is 71. Boxing Hall of Famer Sugar Ray Leonard is 68. Sports announcer Jim Nantz is 65. Producer Simon Fuller (TV: “American Idol”) is 64. Singer Enya is 63. Actor-comedian Craig Ferguson is 62. Rock singer-musician Page McConnell is 61. Actor David Eigenberg is 60. Singer-musician Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) is 59. Actor Paige Turco is 59. Actor Hill Harper is 58. TV personality/interior designer Thom Filicia is 55. Singer Jordan Knight is 54. R&B singer Darnell Van Rensalier (Shai) is 54. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo is 53. Actor Sasha Alexander is 51. Rock singer-musician Josh Homme (HAHM’-ee) is 51. Rock singer Andrea Corr (The Corrs) is 50. Actor Sendhil Ramamurthy (SEN’-dul rah-mah-MURTH’-ee) is 50. Actor Rochelle Aytes is 48. Singer/songwriter Kandi Burruss is 48. Actor Kat Foster is 46. Actor Ayda Field is 45. Actor Ginger Gonzaga is 41. Folk-rock singer/songwriter Passenger is 40. Dancer-choreographer Derek Hough is 39. Actor Tahj Mowry is 38. Actor Nikki Reed is 36. Singer Kree Harrison (TV: “American Idol”) is 34. Actor Leven Rambin is 34. Actor Samantha Browne-Walters is 33. Actor Justin Martin is 30.