updated 5/17/2007 12:08:39 AM ET 2007-05-17T04:08:39

Today is Thursday, May 17, the 137th day of 2007. There are 228 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 17, 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.

On this date:
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 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 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 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: 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. Silver Charm won the Preakness, two weeks after winning the Kentucky Derby. (However, Silver Charm failed to win the Belmont Stakes.)

Five years ago: 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. Joe Black, the first black pitcher to win a World Series game, for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1952, died in Scottsdale, Ariz., at age 78.

One year 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.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor-director Dennis Hopper is 71. Rhythm-and-blues singer Pervis Jackson (The Spinners) is 69. Actor Peter Gerety is 67. Singer Taj Mahal is 65. Singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester is 63. Rock musician Bill Bruford is 58. Singer-musician George Johnson (The Brothers Johnson) is 54. TV personality Kathleen Sullivan is 54. Actor Bill Paxton is 52. Boxing Hall-of-Famer Sugar Ray Leonard is 51. Actor-comedian Bob Saget is 51. Sports announcer Jim Nantz is 48. Singer Enya is 46. Talk show host-actor Craig Ferguson is 45. Singer-musician Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) is 42. Rhythm-and-blues musician O’Dell (Mint Condition) is 42. Actress Paige Turco is 42. Actor Hill Harper is 41. TV personality/interior designer Thom Filicia is 38. Singer Jordan Knight is 37. Rhythm-and-blues singer Darnell Van Rensalier (Shai) is 37. Rock singer Andrea Corr (The Corrs) is 33. Singer Kandi Burruss is 31. Actor Tahj Mowry is 21. Actress Nikki Reed is 19. Actress Samantha Browne-Walters is 16.

Thought for Today: “The past is never dead — it is not even past.” — William Faulkner, American author (1897-1962).

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