Today in History

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Posted: May 17, 2011 12:00 AM
Today in History

Today is Tuesday, May 17, the 137th day of 2011. There are 228 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, unanimously struck down racially segregated public schools.

On this date:

In 1510, Early Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli died in Florence, Italy; he was probably in his mid 60s.

In 1792, the New York Stock Exchange had its origins as a group of brokers met under a tree on Wall Street.

In 1849, fire erupted in St. Louis, Mo., resulting in the loss of three lives, more than 400 buildings and some two dozen steamships.

In 1911, actress Maureen O'Sullivan was born in Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland.

In 1939, Britain's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth arrived in Quebec on the first visit to Canada by reigning British sovereigns.

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 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 1971, "Godspell," a contemporary musical inspired by the Gospel According to St. Matthew, opened off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre.

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 and the U.S. called the attack a mistake.)

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush unveiled his energy plan, bracing Americans for a summer of blackouts, layoffs, business closings and skyrocketing fuel costs and warning of "a darker future" without his aggressive plans to drill for more oil and gas and rejuvenate nuclear power.

Five years ago: The FBI began digging at a Michigan horse farm in search of the remains of former Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa; the two-week search yielded no evidence. It was announced that Paul McCartney and his second wife, Heather Mills McCartney, had agreed to separate. Broadway producer Cy Feuer died at age 95.

One year ago: The Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, that young people serving life prison terms must have "a meaningful opportunity to obtain release" if they haven't killed their victims. Laura Silsby, the last of 10 Americans detained while trying to take 33 children out of Haiti after the Jan. 2010 earthquake, was freed after a judge sentenced her to time already served in jail.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Peter Gerety is 71. Singer Taj Mahal is 69. Singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester is 67. Rock musician Bill Bruford is 62. Singer-musician George Johnson (The Brothers Johnson) is 58. TV personality Kathleen Sullivan is 58. Actor Bill Paxton is 56. Boxing Hall-of-Famer Sugar Ray Leonard is 55. Actor-comedian Bob Saget is 55. Sports announcer Jim Nantz is 52. Singer Enya is 50. Talk show host-actor Craig Ferguson is 49. Rock singer-musician Page McConnell is 48. Actor David Eigenberg is 47. Singer-musician Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) is 46. Actress Paige Turco is 46. Rhythm-and-blues musician O'Dell (Mint Condition) is 46. Actor Hill Harper is 45. TV personality/interior designer Thom Filicia is 42. Singer Jordan Knight is 41. Rhythm-and-blues singer Darnell Van Rensalier (Shai) is 41. Actress Sasha Alexander is 38. Rock singer-musician Josh Homme (HAHM'-ee) is 38. Rock singer Andrea Corr (The Corrs) is 37. Actor Sendhil Ramamurthy (SEN'-dul rah-mah-MURTH'-ee) is 37. Actress Rochelle Aytes is 35. Singer Kandi Burruss is 35. Actress Kat Foster is 33. Actor Tahj Mowry is 25. Actress Nikki Reed is 23. Actress Leven Rambin is 21. Actress Samantha Browne-Walters is 20. Actor Justin Martin is 17.

Thought for Today: "Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself." _ William Faulkner, American author (1897-1962).

(Above Advance for Use Tuesday, May 17)

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