Today in History
Today is Thursday, May 17, the 137th day of 2018. There are 228 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 17, 1968, nine men and women, including brothers Daniel and Philip Berrigan, entered the Selective Service office in Catonsville, Maryland, seized several hundred draft files and burned them outside to protest the Vietnam War before being arrested. (The “Catonsville Nine,” as they came to be known, received federal prison sentences ranging from 24 to 42 months.)
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 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.
In 1875, the first Kentucky Derby was run; the winner was Aristides, ridden by Oliver Lewis.
In 1938, Congress passed the Second Vinson Act, providing for a strengthened U.S. Navy. The radio quiz show “Information, Please!” made its debut on the NBC Blue Network.
In 1948, the Soviet Union recognized the new state of Israel.
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 1973, a special committee convened by the U.S. Senate began its televised hearings into the Watergate scandal.
In 1978, women were included in the White House honor guard for the first time as President Jimmy Carter welcomed Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda (kah-OON’-dah).
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 seven-year-old New Jersey girl who was raped and murdered in 1994.)
In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex marriages.
Ten years ago: Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., was flown to a Boston hospital after suffering a seizure at his Cape Cod home (he was later diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor, and died in August 2009). Nearing the end of his five-day Mideast trip, President George W. Bush held a rapid-fire series of diplomatic meetings at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheik in Egypt. Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown ran away with the Preakness; the horse’s Triple Crown quest ended three weeks later when he finished last in the Belmont Stakes.
Five years ago: The ousted head of the Internal Revenue Service, Steven Miller, faced hours of intense grilling before Congress; both defiant and apologetic, Miller acknowledged agency mistakes in targeting tea party groups for special scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status, but insisted that agents broke no laws and that there was no effort to cover up their actions. Jorge Rafael Videla (HOHR’-hay rah-fay-EHL’ vih-DEH’-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.
One year ago: The Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee a federal investigation into potential coordination between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2016 presidential election. Pvt. Chelsea Manning, the soldier who was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison for giving classified materials to WikiLeaks, walked free after serving seven years behind bars, her sentence having been commuted by President Barack Obama. Chris Cornell, one of the most lauded contemporary lead singers in rock music with his bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, committed suicide in a Detroit hotel room; he was 52.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Peter Gerety is 78. Singer Taj Mahal is 76. Rock musician Bill Bruford is 69. Singer-musician George Johnson (The Brothers Johnson) is 65. TV personality Kathleen Sullivan is 65. Boxing Hall of Famer Sugar Ray Leonard is 62. Actor-comedian Bob Saget is 62. Sports announcer Jim Nantz is 59. Producer Simon Fuller (TV: “American Idol”) is 58. Singer Enya is 57. Actor-comedian Craig Ferguson is 56. Rock singer-musician Page McConnell is 55. Actor David Eigenberg is 54. Singer-musician Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) is 53. Actress Paige Turco is 53. Rhythm-and-blues musician O’Dell (Mint Condition) is 53. Actor Hill Harper is 52. TV personality/interior designer Thom Filicia is 49. Singer Jordan Knight is 48. Rhythm-and-blues singer Darnell Van Rensalier (Shai) is 48. Actress Sasha Alexander is 45. Rock singer-musician Josh Homme is 45. Rock singer Andrea Corr (The Corrs) is 44. Actor Sendhil Ramamurthy is 44. Actress Rochelle Aytes is 42. Singer Kandi Burruss is 42. Actress Kat Foster is 40. Actress Ayda Field is 39. Actress Ginger Gonzaga is 35. Folk-rock singer/songwriter Passenger is 34. Dancer-choreographer Derek Hough (huhf) is 33. Actor Tahj Mowry is 32. Actress Nikki Reed is 30. Singer Kree Harrison (TV: “American Idol”) is 28. Actress Leven Rambin is 28. Actress Samantha Browne-Walters is 27. Actor Justin Martin is 24.
Thought for Today: “A burning purpose attracts others who are drawn along with it and help fulfill it.” — Margaret Bourke-White, American photojournalist (1904-1971).