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May 17, 2013

Today in History

Today is Friday, May 17, the 137th day of 2013. There are 228 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On May 17, 1973, a special committee convened by the U.S. Senate began its televised hearings into the Watergate scandal.

On this date:

In 1510, Early Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli died in Florence, Italy; he was probably in his mid 60s.

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

In 1849, fire erupted in St. Louis, Mo., resulting in the loss of three lives, more than 400 buildings and some two dozen steamships.

In 1912, the Socialist Party of America nominated Eugene V. Debs for president at its convention in Indianapolis.

In 1933, U.S. News & World Report had its beginnings as David Lawrence began publishing a weekly newspaper called United States News.

In 1938, Congress passed the Second Vinson Act, providing for a strengthened U.S. Navy. The radio quiz show “Information, Please!” made its debut on the NBC Blue Network.

In 1946, President Harry S. Truman seized control of the nation’s railroads, delaying — but not preventing — a threatened strike by engineers and trainmen.

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, unanimously struck down racially segregated public schools.

In 1961, Cuban leader Fidel Castro offered to release prisoners captured in the Bay of Pigs invasion in exchange for 500 bulldozers. (The prisoners were eventually freed in exchange for medical supplies.)

In 1971, “Godspell,” a contemporary musical inspired by the Gospel According to St. Matthew, opened off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre.

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 apologized for the attack, calling it a mistake, and paid more than $27 million in compensation.)

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