In 1954 one of the best US Supreme Court decisions was handed down. In Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka Kansas, the Court unanimously ruled that the “separate but equal” standard for education was unconstitutional and that segregation in public education was also unconstitutional. Future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall argued the case before the court. This overturned the 1896 Plessy v Ferguson decision, which is considered to be one of the worst Supreme Court rulings. The fight against segregation however was just beginning.
In 1939 the first televised sports event occurred – a college baseball game between the Columbia Lions and the Princeton Tigers in New York City.In 1973 another television event occurred -the opening of the Senate Watergate hearings – which I vividly recall listening to in high school. And in 2004 the first legal same-sex marriage in the US was performed – in Massachusetts.
The press is powerful and necessary. The Appalachian Observer filed a Freedom of Information request and thus the US Department of Energy was forced to declassify information about the world’s largest mercury pollution event 4.2 million pounds – that occurred in Oak Ridge Tennessee. And lest the huge publicity that the British gave to the terrorist activities of the Catholic-oriented IRA- Irish Republican Army, it should be noted that the Protestants of Northern Ireland also were often pretty brutal. In 1974 during the Troubles, 33 civilians were killed and 300 injured when the Ulster Volunteer Force detonated 4 car bombs in Dublin and Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland. Blood has been on many hands on both sides of the conflict.
On this date we welcomed in English physician and microbiologist Edward Jenner (1749) pioneer in vaccines and developer of the smallpox vaccine, American lawyer and 31st US Solicitor General Archibald Cox (1912) whose firing was the subject of the Watergate Saturday Night Massacre, boxer Sugar Ray Leonard(1956), and the sultry tones of Irish singer-songwriter and producer Enya (1961).
We also welcomed in some stars of the screen; Maureen O’Sullivan (1911), Jane to Johnny Weismuller’s Tarzan; Easy Rider Dennis Hopper (1936); and the tornado chasing Twister star Bill Paxton.
Italian painter Sandro Botticelli laid down his brush in 1520. American founding father, president of the Continental Congress, co-writer of the Federalist Papers, and 1st Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Jay breathed his last in 1829. John C Breckinridge who was our 14th VP, presidential candidate in 1960, but who ended up fighting as a general for the Confederacy fought his last battle in 1875.
The world lost four musical creators on this date: French composer Paul Dukas (1935, Sorcerers Apprentice); bandleader (and my grandma’s favorite) Lawrence Welk (1992); dancing queen Donna Summer (2012), and iconic image-spurring Greek composer Vangelis (2022 – can’t you still see the runners on the beach from Chariots of Fire?).
Today is International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, as well as World Hypertension Day, and World Information Society Day.