This Day in History… May 21, 1966

Opening of SIPEX

US #1310 was issued on the opening day of SIPEX.

On May 21, 1966, the Sixth International Philatelic Exhibition opened in Washington, DC.

All five previous US international philatelic exhibitions had been held in New York City. Initially, SIPEX was also to be held there, but disagreement among the show’s planners nearly canceled the event.

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This Day in History… May 20, 1939

Trans-Atlantic Airmail Service

US #C24 was issued four days earlier specifically for this flight.

On May 20, 1939, the US Post Office inaugurated its official trans-Atlantic airmail service to Europe.

The flight wasn’t the first to carry mail from the US to Europe. As early as 1919, individual pilots had carried mail across the Atlantic. And in the early 1930s, German and French airlines started airmail service across the South Atlantic between West Africa and Brazil.

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This Day in History… May 19, 1883

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West 

US #2177 from the Great Americans series.

On May 19, 1883, the first Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show opened in Omaha, Nebraska.

A fascination with the untamed West had already existed for years. Horse shows and exotic animal displays were popular since the 18th century and medicine shows hired frontiersmen and Native Americans to help sell their tonics and “natural” medicines.

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This Day in History… May 18, 1863

Siege of Vicksburg

US #4787 pictures an 1863 Currier and Ives lithograph titled Admiral Porter’s Fleet Running the Rebel Blockade of the Mississippi at Vicksburg.

On May 18, 1863, the key Siege of Vicksburg Began.

Vicksburg, Mississippi, was called the “Gibraltar of the West” because cannons mounted on the bluffs kept enemy ships from passing by on the Mississippi River while narrow ridges and deep ravines protected the city from a land attack. North and South both knew the importance of controlling the key position.

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This Day in History… May 17, 1954

Brown vs. Board of Education 

US #3937j from the More Perfect Union sheet.

On May 17, 1954, the US Supreme Court ordered the desegregation of schools as a result of the case of Brown vs. Board of Education.

Decades earlier, a precedent had been set in the case of Plessy vs. Ferguson. That case ruled that as long as the separate facilities for separate races were equal, they didn’t violate the 14th Amendment of equal protection.

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This Day in History… May 16, 1919

First Transatlantic Flight 

Marshall Islands #666a pictures the NC-4 that completed this journey.

On May 16, 1919, Albert Cushing Read departed Newfoundland, beginning first transatlantic flight.

As early as 1910, aviators hoped to be the first to fly across the Atlantic. Then in 1913, British newspaper publisher Lord Northcliffe issued a challenge – 10,000 pounds to the first person to fly across the Atlantic in 72 hours. Around the world, aviators scrambled to be the first. In the US, Glenn Curtiss was among the hopefuls.

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