Today's History Trivia for June 17
1963 Banning of Bible Reading in Public Schools The U.S. Supreme Court rules that school-sponsored Bible reading in public schools in unconstitutional (Abington School District v. Schempp). One of the plaintiffs, William J. Murray, claimed his refusal to participate in Bible readings at public school resulted in bullying and that administrators condoned it. He would convert to Christianity in 1980 and eventually become a Baptist minister. His mother, Madalyn Murray O'Hair, went on to found the organization American Atheists. She was murdered by a former employee of American Atheists.
1775 Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes! During the American Revolution Battle of Bunker Hill (Breed's Hill), colonial leaders declare, "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes." Although they suffered many more casualties, the British won the battle.
1994 O.J. Simpson The Football Hall of Fame running back is arrested for the murder of his ex-wife and her 25-year-old male friend. Blood stains had been found in his home and in his car. He was later found not guilty of the crime.
1993 First woman to command an operational U.S. Air Force missile command Lt. Col. Patricia Fornes is sworn in as commander of the 740th Missile Squadron at Minot Air Force Base.
1972 Watergate Five men are arrested for breaking into the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate complex.
1963 Religion Requiring the recitation of the Lord's Prayer or Bible verses in public schools is ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
1950 First human kidney transplant American physician Dr. Richard Harold Lawler implants a kidney from a deceased woman into a patient whose diseased left kidney had been removed.
1939 Voyage of the Damned The German liner St. Louis arrives in Belgium. It had been on a month-long voyage carrying more than 900 Jews attempting to escape the Nazis by travelling from Germany to Cuba. All but 28 passengers were turned away by the Cuban, U.S., and Canadian governments and returned to Europe where many died in the Holocaust. These events were the basis of the 1976 film Voyage of the Damned.
1928 First Transatlantic Flight by a Woman Amelia Earhart takes off in the Friendship, completing the trip following day. Although she did not pilot the flight. She commented, "Stultz did all the flying - had to. I was just baggage, like a sack of potatoes." "&helip;maybe someday I'll try it alone," which she did in 1932.
1871 Tallest married couple Anna Hanen Swan (7 ft. 5½ in.) marries Martin Van Buren Bates (7 ft. 2½ in.).
1843 Bunker Hill Monument is completed and dedicated, with an address given by Daniel Webster.
Today's Birthdays for June 17
1954 Mark Linn-Baker American actor. TV: Perfect Strangers (Larry). Film: My Favorite Year (1982, narrator Benjy Stone)
1951 Joe Piscopo American comedian. TV: Saturday Night Live and beer commercials.
1948 Robert Chance Browne cartoonist. Artist for Hi and Lois (1989‑).
1943 Barry Manilow (Barry Alan Pincus), American Emmy-Tony-Grammy-winning singer. Music: Mandy (1975, #1), I Write the Songs (1976, #1), and he sang the McDonald's jingle You Deserve a Break Today.
1914 John Hersey d. 1993 Chinese-born American Pulitzer-winning author, journalist, A Bell for Adano (1944, Pulitzer).
1904 Ralph Bellamy d. 1991 American Tony-winning actor. Stage: Sunrise at Campobello (1958, Pres. Roosevelt, Tony Award), The Winds of War (Pres. Roosevelt), Rosemary's Baby (1968, evil doctor), Trading Places (1983, conniving billionaire), and as Ellery Queen in the films of the 1940s.
1882 Igor Fedorovich Stravinsky d. 1971 Russian composer, The Firebird, The Rite of Spring, and Petrushka.
1870 George Cormack d. 1953 American inventor of Wheaties cereal (1921). The name "Wheaties" was chosen by a company-wide naming contest.
1239 Edward I d. 1307 King of England (1272-1307).
Deaths for June 17
2012 Rodney King b. 1965 Los Angeles police punching bag. In 1991, he was videotaped being beaten by police officers after a high speed auto chase. The acquittal of four officers charged in the incident led to the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
2008 Cyd Charisse b. 1922 (Tula Ellice Finklea), American dancer, actress. Film: Singin' in the Rain (1952).
1996 Thomas S. Kuhn b. 1922 American science historian. His book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), was one of the most influential books in 20th-century social sciences, humanities, and philosophy.
1984 Swale b. ???? racehorse, Belmont Stakes and Kentucky Derby winner.
1981 Zerna Addis Sharp b. 1889 American author. She created the Dick and Jane primary readers. "Run Spot run. See Spot run."
1887 Mark Hopkins b. 1802 American educator. U.S. President Garfield once commented, "A pine bench, with Mark Hopkins at one end of it and me at the other, is a good enough college for me!"
1881 James Starley b. 1830 British inventor, father of the bicycle industry. He also invented the open differential.
1851 John Brown Russwurm b. 1799 American publisher. He co-published the first Negro newspaper in American (1827, Freedom's Journal).
676 Adeodatus II b. ???? Italian religious leader, 77th Pope (672-676).