Saturday, May 17, 2008

Today in History: May 17

  • 1749 English surgeon Edward Jenner born; discovered a safe vaccine (cowpox pustule fluid) for smallpox. The term "vaccine", coined by Jenner, is from "vacca", Latin for "cow".
  • 1836 Austrian-American chess player Wilhelm Steinitz born; invented the modern style of chess play; world champion from 1866 (his match against Adolf Anderssen, and given Paul Morphy's retirement) to 1894 (his loss to Emanuel Lasker).
  • 1954 The Supreme Court unanimously ends state-mandated government school racial segregation in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. The "Separate-but-Equal" approach had been used as a false front for separate-but-unequal facilities since the end of the Civil War (1865) and had been reinforced by Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).
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