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 May 22 in History

 Today's birthday

For the week of May. 17, 2015

Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka (1954): African American. On this date the Supreme Court unanimously issued its historic decision holding that segregation in public education was a denial of the right to equal protection under the law and directing the lower courts to oversee the desegregation of the nationis schools iwith all deliberate speed.i This decision, which established the principle that segregation is unconstitutional, formed the legal basis for the civil rights movement of the late 1950 and 1960s.

Frank Capra (1897-1991): Italian American. film director. From the 1920s to the 1950s, Capra was one of Hollywoodis most successful directors. Remembered especially for his comedies celebrating the integrity and spirit of the common man, Capra won three Academy Awards as best Director for It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and You Canit Take It With You.

Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) : African American. Playwright and civil right activist. Hansberry is best known for her play iA Raisin in the Suni, the first play by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway. The play was an enormous success with critics and audiences when it opened in 1959, was made into a popular film, and has attained the status of a modern classic. Before her brilliant career was cut short by cancer, she wrote several other stage and television plays and a number of essays, and devoted much of her time to working and speaking out for the civil rights movement.

Malcolm X (1925-1965: African American. Civil rights leader. Malcolm Little adopted the name Malcolm X when he joined the Nation of Islam (Black Muslims), a religious movement advocating Black separatism, while serving a prison term for burglary. Upon his release in 1952 he became a leading spokesman for the Muslims. In 1964 he broke with the group, rejecting racial separatism and forming his own group, the Organization of Afro-American Unity. He continued to speak out until his assassination on February 21, 1965, urging Blacks to take pride in their race and to take action to claim their civil and human rights.

Ataturk Commemoration and Youth & Sports Day: Turkey. Kemal Ataturk was the first president of the Turkish Republic, which he founded in 1923 and served until 1938. Ataturk westernized and secularized Turkey, creating the basis for a modern nation state.

Santo Christo Day : Portugal. This holiday begins on the fifth Sunday after Easter and is celebrated for a full week. It commemorates the gift to the Cathedral of Sao Miguel in the Azore Island (off the coast of Portugal) of a statue depicting Jesus wearing a crown of thorns. The holiday is celebrated by processions, religious services, and festive gatherings.

Lazaro Cardenas (1895-1970): Mexican. Political and military leader. As president of Mexico from 1934 to 1940, Cardenas did more than any other Mexican chief executive to achieve the goals of the Mexican Revolution: redistributing land from large landowners to peasants, organizing confederations of workers and peasants, and taking control over foreign-owned industries. He emerged from retirement in 1943 to serve as defense minister and then chief of the army, retiring again in 1945.

Victoria Day observed: Canada. This public holiday in Canada commemorates the birth of Queen Victoria, who lived from 1819 to 1901 and ruled Britain from 1837 to 1901, during which time England became the worldis leading industrial power and the center of the British Empire.

Leo Baeck (1873-1956): Jewish German. Religious leader. Baeck was a leader of German Jews and of Progressive Judaism. He became head of the World Union of Progressive Judaism and a leader of Reform Judaism, the branch of the faith that emphasized Judaism as a system of ethical monotheism.

Declaration of the Bab: Baha`i. This holiday commemorates the Babis prediction in Shiraz, Persia, in 1844 of the imminent appearance of the new messenger of God.

Ines Mexia (1870-1938) : Mexican American. Botanical explorer. Mexia discovered her vocation at the age of 55, when she took a summer course on flowering plants at the University of California. Over the next 13 years she traveled throughout the southwestern states, to Alaska, and through much of South America, often living in primitive conditions as she gathered thousands of specimens, many of them previously unclassified, for academic institutions and government agencies. Her intrepid spirit and her careful preservation of plant materials in difficult field conditions won her the admiration of her colleagues.

James Francis (Jim) Thorpe (1888-1953): American Indian (Sauk and Fox). Athlete. Chosen as the best athlete of the first half of the century in an Associated Press poll, Jim Thorpe won the decathlon at the 1912 Olympic Games and went on to play professional baseball and then professional football, and to be named to the college and professional football Halls of Fame. Thorpe was forced to give up his Olympic medals when it was discovered that he had briefly played professional baseball, disqualifying him from competition as an amateur. This action was rescinded in 1983 by the International Olympic Committee, which retroactively recognized his amateur status and presented his heirs with duplicates of his medals.

Coleman A. Young (1918-1997): African American. Politician. Coleman Young became the first African American Mayor of Detroit, Michigan, in 1973 and served in that office for the next twenty years, the longest period of time that any mayor had served in that position. During his administrations, Detroit rebuilt much if its business area, created the Renaissance Center and fought tirelessly the social and economic problems facing many of Americais cities.

Ascension Day: Christian. This marks the anniversary of the day Christians believe that Jesus rose to heaven.

Ascension Day: Eastern Orthodox Christian. This marks the anniversary of the day Eastern Orthodox Christians believe that Jesus rose to heaven.