Brown V Board of Education ~~ Equality & Opportunity


Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
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Brown v. Board of Education (1954), now acknowledged as one of the greatest Supreme Court decisions of the 20th century, unanimously held that the racial segregation of children in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Although the decision did not succeed in fully desegregating public education in the United States, it put the Constitution on the side of racial equality and galvanized the nascent civil rights movement into a full revolution.Image result for brown v board of education

In 1954, large portions of the United States had racially segregated schools, made legal by Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which held that segregated public facilities were constitutional so long as the black and white facilities were equal to each other. However, by the mid-twentieth century, civil rights groups set up legal and political, challenges to racial segregation. In the early 1950s, NAACP lawyers brought class action lawsuits on behalf of black schoolchildren and their families in Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware, seeking court orders to compel school districts to let black students attend white public schools.Image result for brown v board of education

One of these class actions, Brown v. Board of Education was filed against the Topeka, Kansas school board by representative-plaintiff Oliver Brown, parent of one of the children denied access to Topeka’s white schools. Brown claimed that Topeka’s racial segregation violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause because the city’s black and white schools were not equal to each other and never could be. The federal district court dismissed his claim, ruling that the segregated public schools were “substantially” equal enough to be constitutional under the Plessy doctrine. Brown appealed to the Supreme Court, which consolidated and then reviewed all the school segregation actions together. Thurgood Marshall, who would in 1967 be appointed the first black justice of the Court, was chief counsel for the plaintiffsImage result for brown v board of education.

Thanks to the astute leadership of Chief Justice Earl Warren, the Court spoke in a unanimous decision written by Warren himself. The decision held that racial segregation of children in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states that “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The Court noted that Congress, when drafting the Fourteenth Amendment in the 1860s, did not expressly intend to require integration of public schools. On the other hand, that Amendment did not prohibit integration. In any case, the Court asserted that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees equal education today. Public education in the 20th century, said the Court, had become an essential component of a citizen’s public life, forming the basis of democratic citizenship, normal socialization, and professional training. In this context, any child denied a good education would be unlikely to succeed in life. Where a state, therefore, has undertaken to provide universal education, such education becomes a right that must be afforded equally to both blacks and whites.

Were the black and white schools “substantially” equal to each other, as the lower courts had found? After reviewing psychological studies showing black girls in segregated schools had low racial self-esteem, the Court concluded that separating children on the basis of race creates dangerous inferiority complexes that may adversely affect black children’s ability to learn. The Court concluded that, even if the tangible facilities were equal between the black and white schools, racial segregation in schools is “inherently unequal” and is thus always unconstitutional. At least in the context of public schools, Plessy v. Ferguson was overruled. In the Brown II case a decided year later, the Court ordered the states to integrate their schools “with all deliberate speed.”

Opposition to Brown I and II reached an apex in Cooper v. Aaron (1958), when the Court ruled that states were constitutionally required to implement the Supreme Court’s integration orders. Widespread racial integration of the South was achieved by the late 1960s and 1970s. In the meantime, the equal protection ruling in Brown spilled over into other areas of the law and into the political arena as well. Scholars now point out that Brown v. Board was not the beginning of the modern civil rights movement, but there is no doubt that it constituted a watershed moment in the struggle for racial equality in America.

History of Brown v. Board of Education

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The Plessy Decision ~~ Separate but Equal?

Although the Declaration of Independence stated that “All men are created equal,” due to the institution of slavery, this statement was not to be grounded in law in the United States until after the Civil War (and, arguably, not completely fulfilled for many years thereafter). In 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified and finally put an end to slavery. Moreover, the Fourteenth Amendment (1868) strengthened the legal rights of newly freed slaves by stating, among other things, that no state shall deprive anyone of either “due process of law” or of the “equal protection of the law.” Finally, the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) further strengthened the legal rights of newly freed slaves by prohibiting states from denying anyone the right to vote due to race.

Despite these Amendments, African Americans were often treated differently than whites in many parts of the country, especially in the South. In fact, many state legislatures enacted laws that led to the legally mandated segregation of the races. In other words, the laws of many states decreed that blacks and whites could not use the same public facilities, ride the same buses, attend the same schools, etc. These laws came to be known as Jim Crow laws. Although  many people felt that these laws were unjust, it was not until the 1890s that they were directly challenged in court. In 1892, an African-American man named Homer Plessy refused to give up his seat to a white man on a train in New Orleans, as he was required to do by Louisiana state law. For this action he was arrested. Plessy, contending that the Louisiana law separating blacks from whites on trains violated the “equal protection clause” of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, decided to fight his arrest in court. By 1896, his case had made it all the way to the United States Supreme Court. By a vote of 8-1, the Supreme Court ruled against Plessy. In the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, Justice Henry Billings Brown, writing the majority opinion, stated that:

“The object of the [Fourteenth] amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the equality of the two races before the law, but in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to endorse social, as distinguished from political, equality. . . If one race be inferior to the other socially, the Constitution of the United States cannot put them upon the same plane.”

The lone dissenter, Justice John Marshal Harlan, interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment another way, stated, “Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens.” Justice Harlan’s dissent would become a rallying cry for those in later generations that wished to declare segregation unconstitutional.

Sadly, as a result of the Plessy decision, in the early twentieth century the Supreme Court continued to uphold the legality of Jim Crow laws and other forms of racial discrimination. In the case of Cumming v. Richmond (Ga.) County Board of Education (1899), for instance, the Court refused to issue an injunction preventing a school board from spending tax money on a white high school when the same school board voted to close down a black high school for financial reasons. Moreover, in Gong Lum v. Rice (1927), the Court upheld a school’s decision to bar a person of Chinese descent from a “white” school.

The Road to Brown

(Note: Some of the case information is from Patterson, James T. Brown v. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy. Oxford University Press; New York, 2001.)

Early Cases

Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in Plessy and similar cases, many people continued to press for the abolition of Jim Crow and other racially discriminatory laws. One particular organization that fought for racial equality was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) founded in 1909. For about the first 20 years of its existence, it tried to persuade Congress and other legislative bodies to enact laws that would protect African Americans from lynchings and other racist actions. Beginning in the 1930s, though, the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund began to turn to the courts to try to make progress in overcoming legally sanctioned discrimination. From 1935 to 1938, the legal arm of the NAACP was headed by Charles Hamilton Houston. Houston, together with Thurgood Marshall, devised a strategy to attack Jim Crow laws by striking at them where they were perhaps weakest—in the field of education. Although Marshall played a crucial role in all of the cases listed below, Houston was the head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund while Murray v. Maryland and Missouri ex rel Gaines v. Canada were decided. After Houston returned to private practice in 1938, Marshall became head of the Fund and used it to argue the cases of Sweat v. Painter and McLaurin v. Oklahoma Board of Regents of Higher Education.

Murray v. Maryland (1936)

Disappointed that the University of Maryland School of Law was rejecting black applicants solely because of their race, beginning in 1933 Thurgood Marshall (who was himself rejected from this law school because of its racial acceptance policies) decided to challenge this practice in the Maryland court system. Before a Baltimore City Court in 1935, Marshall argued that Donald Gaines Murray was just as qualified as white applicants to attend the University of Maryland’s School of Law and that it was solely due to his race that he was rejected. Furthermore, he argued that since the “black” law schools which Murray would otherwise have to attend were nowhere near the same academic caliber as the University’s law school, the University was violating the principle of “separate but equal.” Moreover, Marshall argued that the disparities between the “white” and “black” law schools were so great that the only remedy would be to allow students like Murray to attend the University’s law school. The Baltimore City Court agreed and the University then appealed to the Maryland Court of Appeals. In 1936, the Court of Appeals also ruled in favor of Murray and ordered the law school to admit him. Two years later, Murray graduated.

Missouri ex rel Gaines v. Canada (1938)

Beginning in 1936, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund decided to take on the case of Lloyd Gaines, a graduate student of Lincoln University (an all-black college) who applied to the University of Missouri Law School but was denied because of his race. The State of Missouri gave Gaines the option of either attending an all-black law school that it would build (Missouri did not have any all-black law schools at this time) or having Missouri help to pay for him to attend a law school in a neighboring state. Gaines rejected both of these options, and, employing the services of Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, he decided to sue the state in order to attend the University of Missouri’s law school. By 1938, his case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, and, in December of that year, the Court sided with him. The six-member majority stated that since a “black” law school did not currently exist in the State of Missouri, the “equal protection clause” required the state to provide, within its boundaries, a legal education for Gaines. In other words, since the state provided legal education for white students, it could not send black students, like Gaines, to school in another state.

Sweat v. Painter (1950)

Encouraged by their victory in Gaines’ case, the NAACP continued to attack legally sanctioned racial discrimination in higher education. In 1946, an African American man named Heman Sweat applied to the University of Texas’ “white” law school. Hoping that it would not have to admit Sweat to the “white” law school if a “black” school already existed, elsewhere on the University’s campus, the state hastily set up an underfunded “black” law school. At this point, Sweat employed the services of Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and sued to be admitted to the University’s “white” law school. He argued that the education that he was receiving in the “black” law school was not of the same academic caliber as the education that he would be receiving if he attended the “white” law school. When the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 1950, the Court unanimously agreed with him, citing as its reason the blatant inequalities between the University’s law school (the school for whites) and the hastily erected school for blacks. In other words, the “black” law school was “separate,” but not “equal.” Like the Murray case, the Court found the only appropriate remedy for this situation was to admit Sweat to the University’s law school.

McLaurin v. Oklahoma Board of Regents of Higher Education (1950)

In 1949, the University of Oklahoma admitted George McLaurin, an African American, to its doctoral program. However, it required him to sit apart from the rest of his class, eat at a separate time and table from white students, etc. McLaurin, stating that these actions were both unusual and resulting in adverse effects on his academic pursuits, sued to put an end to these practices. McLaurin employed Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund to argue his case, a case which eventually went to the U.S. Supreme Court. In an opinion delivered on the same day as the decision in Sweat, the Court stated that the University’s actions concerning McLaurin were adversely affecting his ability to learn and ordered that they cease immediately.

Brown v. Board of Education (1954, 1955)

The case that came to be known as Brown v. Board of Education was actually the name given to five separate cases that were heard by the U.S. Supreme Court concerning the issue of segregation in public schools. These cases were Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Briggs v. Elliot, Davis v. Board of Education of Prince Edward County (VA.), Boiling v. Sharpe, and Gebhart v. Ethel. While the facts of each case are different, the main issue in each was the constitutionality of state-sponsored segregation in public schools. Once again, Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund handled these cases.

Although it acknowledged some of the plaintiffs’/plaintiffs claims, a three-judge panel at the U.S. District Court that heard the cases ruled in favor of the school boards. The plaintiffs then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

When the cases came before the Supreme Court in 1952, the Court consolidated all five cases under the name of Brown v. Board of Education. Marshall personally argued the case before the Court. Although he raised a variety of legal issues on appeal, the most common one was that separate school systems for blacks and whites were inherently unequal, and thus violate the “equal protection clause” of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Furthermore, relying on sociological tests, such as the one performed by social scientist Kenneth Clark, and other data, he also argued that segregated school systems had a tendency to make black children feel inferior to white children, and thus such a system should not be legally permissible.

Meeting to decide the case, the Justices of the Supreme Court realized that they were deeply divided over the issues raised. While most wanted to reverse Plessy and declare segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional, they had various reasons for doing so. Unable to come to a solution by June 1953 (the end of the Court’s 1952-1953 term), the Court decided to rehear the case in December 1953. During the intervening months, however, Chief Justice Fred Vinson died and was replaced by Gov. Earl Warren of California. After the case was reheard in 1953, Chief Justice Warren was able to do something that his predecessor had not—i.e. bring all of the Justices to agree to support a unanimous decision declaring segregation in public schools unconstitutional. On May 14, 1954, he delivered the opinion of the Court, stating that “We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. . .”

Expecting opposition to its ruling, especially in the southern states, the Supreme Court did not immediately try to give direction for the implementation of its ruling. Rather, it asked the attorney generals of all states with laws permitting segregation in their public schools to submit plans for how to proceed with desegregation. After still more hearings before the Court concerning the matter of desegregation, on May 31, 1955, the Justices handed down a plan for how it was to proceed; desegregation was to proceed with “all deliberate speed.” Although it would be many years before all segregated school systems were to be desegregated, Brown and Brown II (as the Courts plan for how to desegregate schools came to be called) were responsible for getting the process underway.

60 years and the struggle for Equity and Opportunity continues! In this 21st Century we still have folks pushing separate Nativegrl77

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In Portland’s Or, PNW heart, 2010 Census shows diversity dwindling


By Nikole Hannah-Jones, The Oregonian

Portland, already the whitest major city in the country, has become whiter at its core even as surrounding areas have grown more diverse.

Of 354 census tracts in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties, 40 became whiter from 2000 to 2010, according to The Oregonian’s analysis of the 2010 Census. Of those, two lie in rural Clackamas County. The 38 others are in Portland.

The city core didn’t become whiter simply because lots of white residents moved in, the data show. Nearly 10,000 people of color, mostly African Americans, also moved out.

And those who left didn’t move to nicer areas. Pushed out by gentrification, most settled on the city’s eastern edges, according to the census data, where the sidewalks, grocery stores and parks grow sparse, and access to public transit is limited.

As a result, the part of Portland famous for its livability — for charming shops and easy transit, walkable streets and abundant bike paths — increasingly belongs to affluent whites.

The change raises unsettling questions for a city that prides itself on tolerance, social equity and valuing diversity. What did Portland, a city known for planning, do as people of color were forced to the city’s fringes and beyond? What role did city leaders play in the dispersal? And as the city maps its future, what steps will it take to protect the diversity that remains?

“The exodus from the central city causes me great concern; it is alarming,” Portland Mayor Sam Adams said. “Whether you are a Portlander of color or a white Portlander, you should care about the fact that we offer such limited access to equal opportunities.”

Striking transformation

The rate of displacement surprised even people with a front-row view.

“I am so saddened by these numbers,” said Judith Mowry, who runs the city’s Restorative Listening Project, which brings people together to discuss the harms of gentrification. “This is not a healthy, sustainable city; this is not who we want to be.”

The trend also runs counter to state and citywide numbers. Overall, Oregon saw significant gains in communities of color, particularly with 64 percent growth for Latinos and 40 percent for Asians. Statewide, the nonwhite population climbed from 16 percent in 2000 to 22 percent in 2010.

Portland as a whole grew more diverse, too, with its nonwhite population increasing from 25 percent to 28 percent. Still, the city showed small gains in diversity compared with most big U.S. cities and solidified its position as the nation’s whitest. For the first time, Multnomah County, dominated by Portland, took a back seat to Washington County as the state’s most diverse.

On the city’s inner east side, however, most census tracts became whiter, even those already overwhelmingly white. Tracts along Southeast Stark Street, for example, climbed from 78 percent white to 82 percent, or 80 percent to 85 percent.

Inner North and Northeast witnessed the most striking transformation. The area bounded by the Willamette River, North Greeley Avenue, Northeast Columbia Boulevard, Northeast 42nd Avenue and Interstate 84 lost about 8,400 people of color, including 7,700 African Americans, or a loss of one in four compared with the population in 2000. Today, about 29,900 people of color remain in a total population of 105,500.

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For people pushed from their cultural homes, the loss can be devastating. In all of Oregon, only Northeast Portland provides the cluster of churches, beauty salons, restaurants, nonprofits and political groups that signal to African Americans that they have a place in a very white state.

“Often residents no longer feel they have power in the community,” Japonica Brown-Saracino, a Boston University ethnographer, said of such displacements. “Their social networks are gone.”

North/Northeast remains home to the highest concentration of African Americans in the state. But in 2000, people of color outnumbered whites in 10 of the area’s census tracts. A decade later, all of those tracts had flipped to majority white. One tract alone, encompassing the Woodlawn neighborhood, saw a net loss of 915 black residents and a net gain of 840 white residents, shifting from 33 percent white in 2000 to 53 percent white in 2010.

As Karen Gibson, a Portland State University urban planner, put it: “Those who can afford it push out those who can’t.”

“Fraud and deception”

How did we get here? Mowry said people like to think of what happened as completely in the past, unrelated to what we see today. But it’s not history, she said. It’s part of one long story of a city that today professes a live-and-let-live ethic but was once known as the most segregated city outside the South.

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The seeds of gentrification were planted during World War II, when African Americans from the South flowed into Portland to take jobs in the shipyards.

Portland officials and community members, from real estate agents to bankers, pushed the black community into a small area called Lower Albina, near the present-day Rose Quarter, through redlining and other now-illegal practices. White Portlanders fled, and the city began a long pattern of disinvestment.

Street and sidewalk repairs were neglected, and the city did little to develop businesses or enforce housing codes, said Gibson, the PSU planner, who wrote a study in 2007 called “Bleeding Albina: A History of Community Disinvestment, 1940-2000.”

Many banks refused to make home loans in black areas. Some residents were denied loans for less money than their bank-approved car loans. Appraisers artificially devalued the area’s housing stock, so even people who did own saw little growth in wealth or equity that they could tap to maintain their homes. Predatory lenders swept in, and the area became ripe for drugs and crime.

“The degree of fraud and deception perpetrated on the people of Albina was remarkable,” Gibson wrote. “Hundreds rented substandard housing while others paid high rates or were swindled out of homeownership.”

anjala.JPGPortland native Anjala Ehelebe, historian of Northeast Portland’s  Woodlawn neighborhood, moved there 27 years ago and has watched it undergo dramatic change. Woodlawn saw a net loss of 915 black residents from 2000 to 2010, more than any other Portland neighborhood, going from 33 percent white to 53 percent.

Anjala Ehelebe remembers the frustration she and others felt when she moved into Woodlawn 27 years ago. She’d fallen in love with a 1913 Craftsman bungalow on a double lot. Like her, Ehelebe’s neighbors were black.

“There were people here who wanted to fix up their houses, but they couldn’t,” she said. “It’s not a fair system, and people do the best with what they’ve got.”

Ehelebe said the neighborhood got little help when gangs took hold. “We were told that (police) said, ‘These people deserve the crime they get,'” said Ehelebe, who serves on the neighborhood board and wrote a book on Woodlawn’s history. “Our property values just went down and down.”

An investigation in The Oregonian in 1990 titled “Blueprint for a Slum” detailed the city’s neglect and lenders’ illegal practices. It found that Northeast Portland held one-third of the city’s abandoned homes, with 26 percent in just two neighborhoods, Boise and King.

Block-by-block plan

The investigation inspired Gretchen Kafoury, then a new city commissioner, to lead a campaign to bring predatory lenders to justice and redevelopment dollars into the sagging neighborhoods.The city and county collaborated to funnel local and federal money into the area and to transfer hundreds of tax-foreclosed properties to community development corporations created to repair and sell decrepit homes.

Kafoury led the city to adopt a block-by-block action plan in which code enforcers tracked down absentee landlords and forced them to fix up or sell their units, or face steep fines.

“We changed the whole focus with the way we dealt with the neighborhoods in inner Northeast,” Kafoury said. She also worked to shame banks that had abandoned or preyed on Northeast Portland into making loans there.

But that rush of official attention and investment had consequences after years of neglect.

Experts say Portland followed a typical road map to gentrification, which is challenging cities as demographically diverse as Seattle, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. First comes disinvestment in areas near downtown where affluent, typically white, residents have fled. Then comes an economic resurgence, drawing middle-class residents back.

Portland, with an economic boom in the 1990s, was ripe for the “new urbanism” wave in which young adults rediscovered the allure of old homes and the benefits of living close-in.

City reinvestment and the influx combined to send home prices and rents climbing. The urban-growth boundary, by restricting new construction, pushed prices even higher. Restaurants and boutiques opened, displacing longtime businesses and making the areas even more desirable to newcomers.

“We are now seeing people return to the cities, and it’s an issue of personal taste and convenience,” said Sabiyha Prince, an anthropology professor at American University who is writing a book on gentrification in Washington, D.C.

“The early pioneers of gentrification have been gay people, artists, empty-nesters, people who didn’t necessarily have kids and didn’t have to be concerned about putting their kids in the schools,” she said. “But they are the ones who also have access to the loans.”

Ehelebe watched her neighborhood change in ways both good and bad in the 1990s. She liked the diversity of her block as more whites and Latinos moved in, and she liked that her home value inched up.

She didn’t like the assumption that white residents made the neighborhood better, or the lengthening list of closed black businesses.

But it was nothing like what was to come.

“Oh my God,” Kafoury said when shown the 2010 Census figures. “We thought we were doing a good thing.”

Nikole Hannah-Jones Follow nhannahjones on Twitter

on this day 5/17 1954 – The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled for school integration in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka. The ruling declared that racially segregated schools were inherently unequal.


1540 – Afghan chief Sher Khan defeated Mongul Emperor Humayun at Kanauj.

1630 – Italian Jesuit Niccolo Zucchi saw the belts on Jupiter’s surface.

1681 – Louis XIV sent an expedition to aid James II in Ireland. As a result, England declares war on France.

1756 – Britain declared war on France, beginning the French and Indian War.

1792 – The New York Stock Exchange was founded at 70 Wall Street by 24 brokers.

1814 – Denmark ceded Norway to Sweden. Norway’s constitution, which provided a limited monarchy, was signed.

1875 – The first Kentucky Derby was run at Louisville, KY.

1877 – The first telephone switchboard burglar alarm was installed by Edwin T. Holmes.

1881 – Frederick Douglass was appointed recorder of deeds for Washington, DC.

1926 – The U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires was damaged by bombs that were believed set by sympathizers of Sacco and Vanzetti.

1932 – The U.S. Congress changed the name “Porto Rico” to “Puerto Rico.”

1939 – The first fashion to be shown on television was broadcast in New York from the Ritz-Carleton Hotel.

1940 – Germany occupied Brussels, Belgium and began the invasion of France.

1946 – U.S. President Truman seized control of the nation’s railroads, delaying a threatened strike by engineers and trainmen.

1948 – The Soviet Union recognized the new state of Israel.

1954 – The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled for school integration in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka. The ruling declared that racially segregated schools were inherently unequal.

1956 – The first synthetic mica (synthamica) was offered for sale in Caldwell Township, NJ.

1973 – The U.S. Senate Watergate Committee began its hearings.

1975 – NBC TV bought the rights to show “Gone With the Wind.” The one time rights cost NBC $5,000,000.

1980 – Rioting erupted in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood after an all-white jury in Tampa acquitted four former Miami police officers of fatally beating black insurance executive Arthur McDuffie. Eight people were killed in the rioting.

1985 – Bobby Ewing died on the season finale of “Dallas” on CBS-TV. He returned the following season.

1987 – Eric ‘Sleepy’ Floyd of the Golden State Warriors set a playoff record for points in a single quarter with 29.

1987 – An Iraqi warplane attacked the U.S. Navy frigate Stark in the Persian Gulf, killing 37 American sailors. Iraq and the United States called the attack a mistake.

1996 – U.S. President Clinton signed a measure requiring neighborhood notification when sex offenders move in. Megan’s Law was named for 7-year-old Megan Kanka, who was raped and killed in 1994.

1997 – Rebel leader Kabila declared himself president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire.

1998 – New York Yankees pitcher David Wells became the 13th player in modern major league baseball history to throw a perfect game.

1999 – Eric Ford, a tabloid photographer, was sentenced to 6 months at a halfway house, 3 years probation and 150 hours of community service. The sentence stemmed from a charge that Ford had eavesdropped on a call between Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman and then sold a recording of the conversation.
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2000 – Thomas E. Blanton Jr. and David Luker surrendered to police in Birmingham, AL. The two former Ku Klux Klan members were arrested on charges from the bombing of a church in 1963 that killed four young black girls.

2000 – Austria, the U.S. and six other countries agreed on the broad outline of a plan that would compensate Nazi-Era forced labor.

2000 – It was announced that Terra Networks SA and Lycos would be merging with the new name to be Terra Lycos. Terra made the deal happen with the purchase of $12.5 billion in stock.

2001 – The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp based on Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic strip.

2002 – Legoland Deutschland opened in Günzburg, Germany.

2006 – The U.S. aircraft carrier Oriskany was sunk about 24 miles off Pensacola Beach. It was the first vessel sunk under a Navy program to dispose of old warships by turning them into diving attractions. It was the largest man-made reef at the time of the sinking.

2007 – Trains crossed the border dividing North and South Korea for the first time since 1953.