On May 17, 1954, in Brown vs. Board of Education, the Supreme Court unanimously declared that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal" and, as such, violate the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees all citizens "equal protection of the laws."
THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE opened on May 17, 1792.
James "Cool Papa" Bell (1903-91) was born in Starkville, MS on May 17, 1903. Satchel Paige said of Bell that he was so fast that he could flick the light switch in their hotel room and be in bed before the light went out.
Andy Kaufman died on May 16, 1984. Jim Carrey starred as Kaufman in the Milos Forman biopic Man in the Moon.
L. Frank Baum (1856-1919) was born in Chittenango, NY on May 15, 1856. Read Orrin's review of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1899)
The state of Israel was born on May 14, 1948.
George Lucas (1944) was born in Modesto, CA on May 14, 1944. Visit the official Star Wars site.
Arlington National Cemetery opened on May 13, 1864, on land previously owned by Robert E. Lee. Stephen spent many days with The Old Guard honoring and burying America's fallen soldiers. Read Gardens of Stone by Nicholas Proffitt, or see the movie (if you listen carefully you can hear Stephen singing cadence during the Vietnam war scene montage.)
Farley Mowatt (1921-), author of the nature classic Never Cry Wolf, was born in Belleville, ONT on May 12, 1921. Here's an interesting article from Salon about his alleged embellishments of his tales.
Edward Lear , illustrator and author
of nonsense verse, was born in Halloway, England on May 12, 1812.
Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra (1925-) was born in St. Louis, MO on May 12, 1925. Three time MVP, he hit 358 homeruns and appeared in 14 World Series. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.
Camilo Jose Cela (1916-) was born in Spain on May 11, 1916. Read Orrin's review of The Family of Pacual Duarte (1942)(Grade: A-)
Richard McKenna (1913-64) was born in Mountain Home, ID on May 9, 1913. Read Orrin's review of The Sand Pebbles (1962)
Richard Adams was born in Newbury, GB on May 9, 1920. His excellent fantasy Watership Down (1972) made Joe Doggett's Suggested Summer Reading List for Students.
James M Barry (1860-1937), author of the children's classic Peter Pan: the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, was born in Angus, Scotland on May 9, 1860.
Abolitionist John Brown was born in Torrington, CT on May 9, 1800. In October 1859 he led an abortive revolt to free the slaves, taking over the arsenal at Harper's Ferry, VA. Robert E. Lee was sent out to subdue him and Brown was subsequently tried and, after a passionate final speech, was hanged.
Happy Birthday to Jenna Walter (May 8)
Romain Gary (1914-80) was born in Vilnius, Lithuania on May 8, 1914. Read Orrin's review of The Roots of Heaven (1956) (Grade: A+)
Harry S Truman (1884-1972), our most overrated president, was born in Lamar, MO on May 8, 1884. Read Orrin's review of Truman (1992)(David McCullough 1933-) (Grade: B)
Friedrich August von Hayek (1899-1992) was born in Vienna, Austria on May 8, 1899. Read Orrin's review of The Road to Serfdom (1944)(Grade: A+)
It's the anniversary of V-E DAY, May 8, 1945, "Victory in Europe."
Thomas Pynchon (1937-) was born in Glen Cove, Long Island on May 8, 1937.
Both Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) and Peter Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) were born on May 7. Brahms in Hamburg, Germany in 1833. Tchaikovsky in Votkinsk, Russia in 1840.
Orson Welles was born in Kenosha, WI on May 6, 1915. He was just 26 when his masterpiece Citizen Kane (1941) was released. It is widely acknowledged to be the greatest movie ever made.
Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846-1916) was born on May 5, 1846. Read Orrin's review of Quo Vadis? (1896)(Henryk Sienkiewicz 1846-1916)(translated by W. S. Kuniczak)(Grade: A+)
Graham Swift (1949-) was born in London, ENG on May 4, 1949. Brothers Judd recommends his terrific novel Waterland
David Gutterson (1956-) was born in Seattle, WA on May 4, 1956. Read Orrin's review of Snow Falling on Cedars (1994) (Grade: C-)
John Collier (1901-80) was born in London, ENG on May 3, 1901. Read Orrin's review of Fancies and Goodnights (1951).
Bing Crosby was born in Tacoma, WA on May 2, 1903. In addition to selling 300 million records, he won a Best Actor Oscar for Going My Way.
The King James Bible was published on May 2, 1611. Perhaps only Shakespeare has had a greater influence on the English language.
Happy Birthday to Sue Herzog (May 1)
Ignazio Silone [Secondo Tranquilli] (1900-78) was born in Pescina, Italy on May 1, 1900. Read Orrin's review of Fontamara (1933)
Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, (1769-1852) was born on May 1, 1769. He is best remembered for winning the Peninsular campaign & defeating Napoleonat Waterloo. We recommend Christopher Hibbert's excellent one-volume biography Wellington: A Personal History and Alan Schom's delightfully harsh Napoleon Bonaparte: A Life.
Joseph Heller (1923-2000) was born in Brooklyn, NY on May 1, 1923. Read Orrin's review of Catch-22(Grade: A)
Annie Dillard (1945-) was born in Pittsburgh, PA on April 30, 1945. Read Orrin's review of Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek (1974)(Grade: A)
Willie Nelson was born in Abbott, TX on April 30, 1933. Try one of his Greatest Hits collections.
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (1899-1974), son of a White House butler, was born in Washington, DC on April 29, 1899. Dryfoos recommends his Blanton Era recordings and the Ellington bio Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington by John Edward Hasse.
Harper Lee (1926-) was born in Monroeville, AL on April 28, 1926. Her great novel, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), is the most flagrant ommission from the Modern Library Top 100. (read Orrin's review, Grade: A+)
James Monroe (1758-1831), 5th President of the United States, was born in Westmoreland
County, VA on April 28, 1758. He is best known for the Monroe Doctrine, which was actually a product of his Secretary of State, John
Quincy Adams. Monroe died on the 4th of July, one of three founding fathers to do so.
Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) was born in Point Pleasant, OH on April 27, 1822. His Memoirs, written while he was dying, in order to save his family from debt, are one of the only real literary achievements penned by a president. Read Orrin's review of Ulysses S. Grant: Soldier & President (1997)(Geoffrey Perret)(Grade: A+)
Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) was born in Surrey, England on April 27, 1737. His masterpiece is The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Frederick Law Olmstead (1822-1903) was born in Hartford, CT on April 26, 1822. Read Orrin's review of A Clearing in the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the Nineteenth Century (1999)(Witold Rybczynski) (Grade:
Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) was born in London, ENG on April 26, 1660. Read Orrin's review of The Life & Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719) (Grade: A)
Anita Loos (1893-1981) was born in Sissons, CA on April 26, 1893. Read Orrin's review of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925)
Bernard Malamud (1914 - 1986) was born in Brooklyn, NY on April 26, 1914. Read Orrin's review of The Fixer (1966)