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
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
On May 11, 1976, President Ford signed the National Science and Technology Policy, Organization and Priorities Act of 1976. First proposed in June 1975, this legislation established the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
This May 8 decision memo from James Cannon to the President outlines the main provisions of the bill. In addition to designating the director of the OSTP as the President’s adviser on science and technology this legislation also called for an intensive study of the way the government utilized science and technology to solve problems. From President Ford’s remarks:
“Those of us here today share a very strong view that science and engineering and technology can and must continue to make great contributions to the achievement of our goals.”
-from the Ford Library
Happy Birthday to Harry Truman, born on May 8 in 1884!
This post-Presidential photograph shows Truman holding a copy of the famous Chicago Daily Tribune declaring “Dewey Defeats Truman.” The newspaper had relied on early Gallup polls to predict the winner, but the polls were wrong. Truman was reelected.
The 33rd President grew up in Independence, Missouri, (now the site of Harry S. Truman Library & Museum) and after serving in World War I, he returned home and he married Bess Wallace, his childhood sweetheart. In 1934, he was elected to the Senate. He had only been Vice President for a few weeks when FDR died, and Truman was sworn in as 33 President of the United States.
For more Presidential photos and history, visit the new Our Presidents boards over on Pinterest!
from the U.S. National Archives
Iconic Presidential Photos
The Presidential Libraries are now on Pinterest. You’ll find some of the most requested images from the holdings of all 13 Presidential Libraries.
We’re pinning the historic moments, meetings with world leaders, Air Force One, First Ladies, and much more. You’ll find a fair share of White House pet pics too.
Take a look and let us know what else you would like to see!
Photos: Lyndon B. Johnson gives Senator Richard Russell the “Johnson Treatment.” 11/7/63.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower Meeting the Troops Prior to the Normandy Invasion. 6/5/44.
The Big Three — Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin at the Yalta Conference. 2/9/45.
John F. Kennedy points to a reporter at a news conference. 11/20/62.
Gerald R. Ford in the Oval Office. 3/25/75
President Obama is in Mexico today, and will speak from the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City. In 1947, Mexican President Miguel Aleman greeted Harry Truman in the nation’s capital.
Here’s a photo of Aleman and Truman’s Presidential motorcade touring Mexico City. March 3, 1947.
-from the Truman Library
This Saturday, The National Archives and its Presidential Libraries will be at the National Air and Space Museum’s annual Space Day.
We’ll be hosting activities including:
- A Mission Checklist hunt for Apollo-related items at the National Archives and the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
- A Presidential Pop Quiz on U.S. Presidents and the Space Program.
Want a head start on your Mission Checklist? These Moon Tongs were used by Apollo mission astronauts to collect lunar samples.
The tongs are from the holdings of the Nixon Presidential Library and can be seen for a limited time in the “Nixon and the U.S. Space Program” display at the National Archives in D.C.
Close-up view of a set of tongs, an Apollo Lunar Hand Tool, being used by Astronaut Charles Conrad Jr., to pick up lunar samples during the Apollo XII mission, November 19, 1969. Photo courtesy of NASA.
This set of tongs was used to collect lunar samples from the “Ocean of Storms,” the largest dark spot on the Moon’s surface, during the Apollo XII mission. It was presented to President Nixon by astronauts Charles Conrad, Jr., Richard Gordon, Jr., and Alan Bean.