“The Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes”
On this day, May 24, 1972, President Nixon and Soviet Chairman Alexei Kosygin signed the Agreement Concerning Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes.
This culminated in the 1975 linking of an Apollo spacecraft with a Soyuz command module.
You can see this original document now at the National Archives in Washington D.C.
“That we have the vote means nothing. That we use it in the right way means everything. Our political work has only begun when we have the ballot. And that work should be carried out exactly as our college work is — as any good work which we undertake is — it must be thoughtful, idealistic, clean, effective.”
-Lou Henry Hoover, April 10, 1920
Before she was First Lady, Lou Henry Hoover spoke at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. At the time of her speech, the 19th Amendment had been passed by Congress. On August 18, 1920, the amendment was ratified, guaranteeing American women the right to vote.
-from the Hoover Library
POW Week at the Nixon Library
A sheriff-led motorcade will escort Vietnam POWs to the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California at 12:30PM PT. Their arrival at the Library coincides with the 40th anniversary of President Nixon’s POW homecoming dinner at the White House.
An All-American Homecoming is a new exhibit at the Nixon Library about the POWs visit to the White House. The event occurred on May 24, 1973, and it remains the largest dinner ever held at the White House. This week, the Nixon Foundation is hosting a series of events to celebrate the POWs.
Tomorrow evening, on the anniversary of the original White House homecoming, the Foundation will hold a reunion dinner for the POWs in the Nixon Library’s “East Room.” The original menu will be recreated, including American comfort foods like sirloin steak and potatoes.
Learn more about POW Week at the Nixon Library through the Nixon Foundation.
Photo: Entertainers sing “God Bless America” to the returned POW troops at the White House. From L-R: Phyllis Diller, Former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley, actress Joey Heatherton, President Nixon, Songwriter Irving Berlin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Pat Nixon and Comedian Bob Hope. 5/24/73.
L. Gordon Cooper was the first American astronaut to sleep in space. His historic slumber occurred aboard his MA-9 flight, the last Mercury mission.
The MA-9 mission helped NASA learn about the effects of sending astronauts into space for longer time spans. At over 34 hours, Cooper spent more time in space than all of the previous Mercury astronauts combined. In all, he would orbit the Earth 22 times.
Photos from the celebration of L. Gordon Cooper, Jr.’s successful MA-9 Mission. Presentation of Distinguished Service Medal. May 21, 1963.
-L. Gordon Cooper, Jr. family with President John F. Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Alan Shephard, Leverett Saltonstall, Everett Dirksen.
-President John F. Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson.
-from the LBJ Library
More on L. Gordon Cooper from NASA
The American Red Cross was founded on this day — May 21, 1881.
On the founding anniversary of the American Red Cross, here’s Kathleen Kennedy in her A.R.C. uniform from World War II. The photo was taken in London, circa 1943.
Kathleen was the second daughter and fourth child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy.
While in college, Kathleen Kennedy began volunteering for the Red Cross in New York in the summer of 1940. After working for the Times-Herald newspaper, she rejoined the war effort by volunteering again for the Red Cross, this time in London. Read More
-From the JFK Library
Our gratitude goes out to all the volunteers and relief workers of the Red Cross in Oklahoma today, and across the world everyday.
Day 43: May 18
Leg braces used by Franklin Roosevelt
FDR could not stand without the support of leg braces like these. They were strapped to his legs and locked at the knee. These braces weigh approximately ten pounds.
In order to appear to “walk” in public, Roosevelt used a cane and a strong companion’s arm to support his weight while he pitched his body forward. This required skill and considerable upper body strength, developed through practice and exercise.
April 21, 1967, 12:30 am. The Situation Room informs the President about the early morning military coup in Greece. Details emerge throughout the day about the overthrow of the Greek Government. While the Prime Minister as well as other political leaders are arrested, King Constantine seems to remain in power. This leads some to question whether the King was involved in the coup.
Memo, Situation Room to the President, 4/21/67, #122, “Greece, Volume 2,” Country File, NSF, Box 126, LBJ Library.
Brown vs. Board of Education
On May 17, 1954 the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision overturning “separate but equal” as unconstitutional, stating that segregation in public schools was a violation of the 14th amendment.
Four years earlier, members of the Topeka, Kansas, Chapter of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) challenged the “separate but equal” doctrine governing public education through a class action suit when they were denied the opportunity to enroll their children in the white-only schools.
When the Topeka case made its way to the United States Supreme Court it was combined with other NAACP cases from Delaware, Virginia, South Carolina and Washington, D.C. The combined cases became known as Oliver L. Brown et. al. vs. The Board of Education of Topeka (KS).
You can see the original Complaint against the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, the Court Order, and correspondences between President Eisenhower about Brown vs. Board of Education from Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Papers as President here.
Pictured: Supreme Court Opinion of Brown vs. Board of Education, pages 1-3. 5/31/55.
-from the Eisenhower Library
Bill to Break the Sound Barrier
If you were the first woman to break the sound barrier, who would you pick to fly the chase plane behind you?
Jacqueline Cochran tapped her friend, Colonel Chuck Yeager for the task for her May 18, 1953 flight. A logical decision, since he was the first pilot to break the barrier in 1947.
Here is his final bill for his expenses, including the replacement of dead chickens that stampeded when her low-flying Sabre jet flew over a ranch.
-from the Eisenhower Library
The S.S. Mayaguez Crisis — This Week in 1975
President Ford briefs the Bipartisan Congressional Leadership on the seizure of the American merchant ship S.S. Mayaguez on May 14, 1975.
The Mayaguez had been seized in international waters off the coast of Cambodia on May 12. Over the next two days President Ford and the National Security Council closely monitored the situation, ultimately deciding to use air strikes and send in Marines to rescue the boat’s crew.
President Ford received word that the Mayaguez and its entire crew had been safely recovered shortly after 11:00 p.m. on the 14th, and at 12:30 a.m. he made the official announcement to the press.
In accordance with the War Powers Act, on May 15 President Ford sent a letter to the Speaker of the House and president pro tem of the Senate regarding the Mayaguez incident. Read the President’s account of his actions here.
-from the Ford Library