updated 5/17/2005 12:02:18 AM ET 2005-05-17T04:02:18

Today is Tuesday, May 17, the 137th day of 2005. 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 was founded by brokers meeting under a tree located on what is now Wall Street.

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

In 1938, Congress passed the Vinson Naval Act, providing for a two-ocean 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 a threatened strike by engineers and trainmen.

In 1948, the Soviet Union recognized the new state of Israel.

In 1973, the Senate opened its 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 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: The Senate ethics committee concluded that Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., had to face a full-scale Senate investigation of charges that included making improper advances toward women. Jacques Chirac was sworn in as president of France, ending the 14-year tenure of Socialist Francois Mitterrand.

Five years ago: Two former Ku Klux Klansmen were arrested on murder charges in the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham, Ala., that killed four black girls. (Thomas Blanton Jr. and Bobby Frank Cherry were later convicted and sentenced to life in prison.)

One year ago: Massachusetts became the first state to allow legal same-sex marriages. Abdel-Zahraa Othman, also known as Izzadine Saleem, head of the Iraqi Governing Council, was killed in a suicide car bombing in Baghdad. More than 100 people were killed in a prison fire in northern Honduras. Transsexuals were cleared to compete in the Olympics for the first time. Actor Tony Randall died in New York at age 84. Emmy-winning television choreographer June Taylor died in Miami at age 86.

Today’s Birthdays: Opera singer Birgit Nilsson is 87. Actor-director Dennis Hopper is 69. R&B singer Pervis Jackson (The Spinners) is 67. Singer Taj Mahal is 63. Singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester is 61. Rock musician Bill Bruford is 56. Singer-musician George Johnson (The Brothers Johnson) is 52. TV personality Kathleen Sullivan is 52. Actor Bill Paxton is 50. Boxing Hall-of-Famer Sugar Ray Leonard is 49. Actor-comedian Bob Saget is 49. Singer Enya is 44. Talk show host-actor Craig Ferguson is 43. Singer-musician Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) is 40. R&B musician O’Dell (Mint Condition) is 40. Actress Paige Turco is 40. TV personality/interior designer Thom Filicia is 36. Singer Jordan Knight is 35. R&B singer Darnell Van Rensalier (Shai) is 35. Actor Hill Harper is 32. Rock singer Andrea Corr (The Corrs) is 31. Singer Kandi Burruss is 29. Actor Tahj Mowry is 19. Actress Samantha Browne-Walters is 14.

Thought for Today: “The worst sin — perhaps the only sin — passion can commit, is to be joyless.” — Dorothy L. Sayers, English author (1893-1957).

For release Tuesday, May 17.

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