Today in History
Today is Wednesday, May 17, the 137th day of 2017. There are 228 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 17, 1792, the New York Stock Exchange had its beginnings as a group of brokers met under a tree on Wall Street and signed the Buttonwood Agreement.
On this date:
In 1875, the first Kentucky Derby was run; the winner was Aristides, ridden by Oliver Lewis.
In 1937, Teddy Hill and His Orchestra recorded “King Porter Stomp” for RCA Victor’s Bluebird label in New York; making his recording debut was trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.
In 1940, the Nazis occupied Brussels, Belgium, during World War II.
In 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.
In 1957, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his first national speech, titled “Give Us the Ballot,” during the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in Washington, D.C.
In 1961, Cuban leader Fidel Castro offered to release prisoners captured in the Bay of Pigs invasion in exchange for 500 bulldozers. (The prisoners were eventually freed in exchange for medical supplies.)
In 1973, a special committee convened by the U.S. Senate began its televised hearings into the Watergate scandal.
In 1977, the Chuck E. Cheese’s fast food and family entertainment chain had its start as the first Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre opened in San Jose, California.
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 1992, orchestra leader Lawrence Welk died in Santa Monica, California, at age 89.
In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to allow legal same-sex marriages.
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush and retiring British Prime Minister Tony Blair held a joint news conference at the White House, during which Blair allowed not a single regret about the Iraq war alliance. World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz announced he would resign at the end of June 2007, following controversy over his handling of a pay package for his girlfriend, bank employee Shaha Riza. Trains crossed the border dividing the two Koreas for the first time in more than half a century.
Five years ago: Washington’s envoy to Israel, Dan Shapiro, told the Israel Bar Association the U.S. had plans in place to attack Iran if necessary to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. Donna Summer, 63, the “Queen of Disco,” died in Naples, Florida. Frank Edward “Ed” Ray, the California school bus driver hailed as a hero for helping 26 students escape after three kidnappers buried them underground in 1976, died at age 91.
One year ago: Bernie Sanders won Oregon’s Democratic presidential primary while Hillary Clinton eked out a razor-thin victory in Kentucky. Federal investigators concluded that a speeding Amtrak train that crashed in Philadelphia in May 2015, killing eight people, most likely ran off the rails because the engineer was distracted by word of a nearby commuter train getting hit by a rock. One of the Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram extremists from a Nigerian boarding school in April 2014 was found with a baby and was reunited with her mother. Guy Clark, the Grammy-winning musician who mentored a generation of songwriters, died in Nashville at age 74.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Peter Gerety is 77. Singer Taj Mahal is 75. Rock musician Bill Bruford is 68. Singer-musician George Johnson (The Brothers Johnson) is 64. TV personality Kathleen Sullivan is 64. Boxing Hall of Famer Sugar Ray Leonard is 61. Actor-comedian Bob Saget is 61. Sports announcer Jim Nantz is 58. Singer Enya is 56. Talk show host-actor Craig Ferguson is 55. Rock singer-musician Page McConnell is 54. Actor David Eigenberg is 53. Singer-musician Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) is 52. Actress Paige Turco is 52. Rhythm-and-blues musician O’Dell (Mint Condition) is 52. Actor Hill Harper is 51. TV personality/interior designer Thom Filicia is 48. Singer Jordan Knight is 47. Rhythm-and-blues singer Darnell Van Rensalier (Shai) is 47. Actress Sasha Alexander is 44. Rock singer-musician Josh Homme (HAHM’-ee) is 44. Rock singer Andrea Corr (The Corrs) is 43. Actor Sendhil Ramamurthy (SEN’-dul rah-mah-MURTH’-ee) is 43. Actress Rochelle Aytes is 41. Singer Kandi Burruss is 41. Actress Kat Foster is 39. Actress Ayda Field is 38. Actress Ginger Gonzaga is 34. Folk-rock singer/songwriter Passenger is 33. Dancer-choreographer Derek Hough (huhf) is 32. Actor Tahj Mowry is 31. Actress Nikki Reed is 29. Singer Kree Harrison (TV: “American Idol”) is 27. Actress Leven Rambin is 27. Actress Samantha Browne-Walters is 26. Actor Justin Martin is 23.
Thought for Today: “I always have a quotation for everything — it saves original thinking.” — Dorothy L. Sayers, English author (1893-1957).