As we go through life, one day seems pretty much like yesterday or the day before, unless some major event fights its way into our memories.

Most of us who are old enough remember where we were when Kennedy was shot or 9/11.

History has a way of happening with our without our consent. And on May 17th, a lot of interesting stuff happened.

Here’s a small sample of some events that changed America.

The New York Stock Exchange

On May 17, 1792, 24 brokers met by a buttonwood tree on what is currently 68 Wall Street to form the New York Stock Exchange. And, as you might have guessed, they called their agreement the Buttonwood Agreement.

The Kentucky Derby

The fastest two minutes in sport, commonly called The Kentucky Derby, first took place at Churchill Downs on May 17, 1875.

Thirteen of the 15 jockeys in that race were African Americans including Oliver Lewis the winner who was riding Aristides. I’m guessing none of the 10,000 attendees drove to that first race.

Brown vs. Board of Education Of Topeka

On May 17,1954, the Warren Court issued a 9-0 ruling that ended school segregation in the United States. The court ruled that separate “educational facilities are inherently unequal.”

While the court offered no solution as to how states were to solve this problem they did order states to desegregate “with all deliberate speed.”

That resulted in federal troops escorting African American students into white schools against the wishes of several Southern governors.

It was the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.

The Watergate Hearings

In 1973 people were riveted to their TV screens watching North Carolina senator Sam Ervin convene the first day of the Watergate hearings that lead to President Richard Nixon’s resignation and many members of his administration being sent to prison. President Gerald Ford later pardoned President Nixon.

Same Sex Marriage In Massachusetts

On May 17, 2004, same sex couples exchanged marriage vows for the first time in US history.

Some Final Thoughts

As you can see a lot of life altering events happened on this date. The beginning of the Civil Rights movement, the Stock Market, same-sex marriage, and the Watergate Hearings.

All changed America.

Anything happen to you on May 17th?

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