(Wednesday, May 27, 1896, at around 6:15 p.m. local time) — 255 people were killed tonight when a tornado struck St. Louis, Missouri, and East St. Louis, Illinois, causing over $10 million in damage (approximately $2.9 billion in damage adjusted for 1997).
(Monday, May 18, 1896) — The U.S. Supreme Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson, today upheld the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation in public facilities under the doctrine of “separate but equal.”
The decision was handed down by a vote of 7 to 1 with the majority opinion written by Justice Henry Billings Brown and the dissent written by Justice John Marshall Harlan.
The concept was renounced 58 years later in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.
(Easter Monday, April 6, 1896) — The opening ceremonies of the 1896 Summer Olympics, the first modern Olympic Games, were held today in Athens as King George I of Greece and a crowd of 80,000 spectators welcomed 241 athletes from 14 nations to the international competition (which continued through Apr. 15, 1896).