This Day in History — May 17
Arthur McDuffie

Today is the 137th day of 2022. There are 228 days left in the year.


1954: A unanimous US Supreme Court hands down its Brown v Board of Education of Topeka decision, which holds that racially segregated public schools are inherently unequal, and therefore unconstitutional.


1792: The New York Stock Exchange has its origins as a group of brokers meet under a tree on Wall Street.

1803: John Hawkins & Richard French patent the Reaping Machine.

1875: The first Kentucky Derby is run with the winner being Aristides, ridden by Oliver Lewis.

1912: The Socialist Party of America nominates Eugene V Debs for president at its convention in Indianapolis.

1940: The Nazis occupy Brussels, Belgium, during World War II.

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

1961: Cuban leader Fidel Castro offers to release prisoners captured in the Bay of Pigs invasion in exchange for 500 bulldozers. The prisoners are eventually freed in exchange for medical supplies.

1973: Stevie Wonder releases the music single You Are The Sunshine Of My Life; it goes to number one and wins him a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. A special committee convened by the US Senate begins its televised hearings into the Watergate scandal.

1980: Rioting that claims 18 lives erupts in Miami’s Liberty City after an all-white jury in Tampa acquits four former Miami police officers of fatally beating black insurance executive Arthur McDuffie.

1987: Some 37 American sailors are killed when an Iraqi warplane attacks the US Navy frigate Stark in the Persian Gulf. Iraq apologises for the attack, calling it a mistake, and pays more than US$27 million in compensation.

1996: President Bill Clinton signs a measure requiring neighbourhood notification when sex offenders move in. (Megan’s Law, as it is known, was named for Megan Kanka, a seven-year-old New Jersey girl who was raped and murdered in 1994.)

2004: Massachusetts becomes the first state to allow legal same-sex marriages.

2006: The FBI begins digging at a Michigan horse farm in search of the remains of former Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa; the two-week search yields no evidence. It is announced that Paul McCartney and his second wife, Heather Mills McCartney, have agreed to separate. Broadway producer Cy Feuer dies in New York at age 95.

2011: Queen Elizabeth II begins the first visit by a British monarch to the Republic of Ireland, a four-day trip to highlight strong Anglo-Irish relations and the success of Northern Ireland peacemaking. Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issues a statement confirming a Los Angeles Times report that he had fathered a child with a woman on his household staff more than a decade earlier. (Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, had announced their separation on May 9, 2011.) Baseball Hall-of-Famer Harmon Killebrew, 74, dies in Scottsdale, Arizona.

2011: Queen Elizabeth II begins the first visit by a British monarch to the Republic of Ireland, a four-day trip to highlight strong Anglo-Irish relations and the success of Northern Ireland’s peacemaking effort.

2014: The center-right Hindu Nationalist Party, the BJP, wins landslide election victory in India.

2015: A shoot-out erupts between bikers and police outside a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, leaving nine of the bikers dead and 20 people injured. The contested city of Ramadi, capital of Iraq’s largest province, falls to the Islamic State group in a major loss, despite intensified US-led air strikes. Pope Francis canonises Sisters Mariam Bawardy and Marie Alphonsine Ghattas, two nuns from what was 19th century Palestine, in hopes of encouraging Christians across the Middle East who were facing a wave of persecution from Islamic extremists. Blurryface, the fourth studio album by Twenty One Pilots, is released (first album ever to have every track gold-certified).


Peter Gerety, actor (1940- ); Taj Mahal, singer (1942- ); Bill Bruford, rock musician (1949- ); Kathleen Sullivan, TV personality (1953- ); Bill Paxton, actor (1955-2017); Sugar Ray Leonard, boxing Hall-of-Famer (1956- ); Bob Saget, actor-comedian (1956-2022); Jim Nantz, sports announcer (1959- ); Enya, singer (1961- ); Craig Ferguson, talk show host-actor (1962- ); Hill Harper, actor (1966- ); Derek Hough, dancer-choreographer (1985- ); Tahj Mowry, actor (1986- ).

– AP

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