This Day in History: May 17

The New York Stock Exchange has its beginnings; the Supreme Court hands down its historic Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision

On this day, May 17 …
1954: A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court hands down its Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision, which held that racially segregated public schools were inherently unequal, and therefore unconstitutional.
Also on this day:

  • 1792: The New York Stock Exchange has its beginnings as a group of brokers met under a tree on Wall Street and signed the Buttonwood Agreement.
  • 1946: President Harry S. Truman seizes control of the nation’s railroads, delaying -- but not preventing -- a threatened strike by engineers and trainmen.
  • 1973: A special committee convened by the U.S. Senate begins its televised hearings into the Watergate scandal.
  • 1996: President Bill Clinton signs "Megan’s Law," a measure requiring neighborhood notification when sex offenders move in. ("Megan's Law" is named for Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old New Jersey girl who was raped and murdered in 1994.)
  • 2004: Massachusetts becomes the first state to allow same-sex marriages.
  • 2009: President Barack Obama dives head-on into the abortion debate, telling graduates at the University of Notre Dame that both sides have to stop demonizing one another.
  • 2017: The Justice Department appoints former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee a federal investigation into potential collusion between Russia and the 2016 Donald Trump campaign.
  • 2018: With six Democrats joining Republicans in voting to confirm her, Gina Haspel wins Senate confirmation to become director of the CIA.
  • 2019: Grumpy Cat, feline Internet legend known for her permanent scowl, dies at age 7.