This Day in History

Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2007

In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

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In Alaska

• In 1884, the first Alaska Organic Act was approved, creating a district government for the northern possession.

• In 1906, U.S. Congress passed the Native Allotment Act.

• In 1927, pilot Ed Young flew the first air mail plane from Anchorage to Nome.

• In 1945, the first long-distance call from Fairbanks was made.

• In 1949, President Harry Truman put the Alaska Statehood Bill in his "Top 10" priority list.

In the nation

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

• In 1875, the first Kentucky Derby was run; the winner was Aristides.

• In 1937, Teddy Hill and His Orchestra recorded "King Porter Stomp" for RCA Records in New York; one of the featured musicians was a newcomer, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.

• In 1938, Congress passed the Second Vinson Act, providing for a strengthened U.S. Navy.

• In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision, which found that racially segregated public schools were inherently unequal, and therefore unconstitutional.

• In 1973, the Senate began its televised hearings into the Watergate scandal.

• In 1980, rioting that claimed 18 lives erupted in Miami's Liberty City after an all-white jury in Tampa, Fla., acquitted four former Miami police officers of fatally beating black insurance executive Arthur McDuffie.

• In 1997, Silver Charm won the Preakness, two weeks after winning the Kentucky Derby. (However, Silver Charm failed to win the Belmont Stakes.)

• In 2002, former President Jimmy Carter ended a historic visit to Cuba sharply at odds with the Bush administration over how to deal with Fidel Castro, saying limits on tourism and trade often hurt Americans more than Cubans.

• In 2006, 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.

In the world

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

• In 1940, the Nazis occupied Brussels, Belgium, during World War II. In 1946, President Truman seized control of the nation's railroads, delaying but not preventing a threatened strike by engineers and trainmen.

• 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.)

• In 1997, rebel leader Laurent Kabila declared himself president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire. Russia's Mir space station got a new oxygen generator and a fresh American astronaut, courtesy of the space shuttle Atlantis.

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