Today in History: May 17

The U.S. Supreme Court decided unanimously on this date in 1954 that the establishment of, the existence of, separate public schools for students of different races was unconstitutional. Seventeen states, all in the south, required segregated schools and other facilities for black people and white people. Required.

The decision was Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, and it remains one of the high points in American history, but only because of how low America’s low, ugly racism brought us all.

* * * *
David Wells of the New York Yankees pitched a perfect game against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium on this date in 1998.

Officially, there were 49,820 people in attendance; I have met approximately 50,000 people who claim to have been at the game. (That second statistic is not a fact-based one. It just feels true.) The Yankees went on to a 114–48 season and the World Series championship.

The video of the entire, two-hour game:

 
* * * *
Aristides, rode by Oliver Lewis, won the first Kentucky Derby by two lengths on this date in 1875.

* * * *
Harmon Killebrew died five years ago today. Donna Summer died four years ago today. “Love to Love You Baby”:

 
* * * *
Dennis Potter was born on this date in 1935. Dennis Hopper was born 80 years ago today.

* * * *
Gary Paulsen is 77. Grace Zabriskie is 75 today. Taj Mahal is 74 today. “Six Days on the Road”:

 
Bill Bruford is 67. Bill Paxton is 61. Bob Saget is 60. Sugar Ray Leonard is 60. Jim Nantz is 57. Enya is 55. “Only Time”:

 
Craig Ferguson is 54. Trent Reznor is 51.

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