(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).
Video: 'Alfred Dreyfus Documentary | Full video |' (Dec. 22, 1894, at 8:55)
(Saturday, December 22, 1894; during the Dreyfus Affair) — French army officer Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason today in a court-martial that triggered worldwide charges of Antisemitism (Dreyfus was eventually vindicated).
Video: 'Weather History: The Great Hinckley Fire of 1894'
(Saturday, September 1, 1894, 3:00 p.m. CDT) — The Great Hinckley Fire destroyed Hinckley, Minnesota, and five other communities today, killing more than 400 people including Thomas P. “Boston” Corbett, the Union soldier who killed Abraham Lincoln’s assassin John Wilkes Booth.
Video: 'Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze, Jan. 7, 1894'
(Sunday, January 7, 1894) — One of the earliest motion picture experiments took place today at the Thomas Edison studio in West Orange, New Jersey, as Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze (a.k.a. Fred Ott’s Sneeze) was filmed taking a pinch of snuff and sneezing.