May 2017

This Day in History… May 7, 1901

Happy Birthday Gary Cooper 

U.S. #4421 – Cooper was the 15th honoree in the Legends of Hollywood series.

Frank James Cooper was born on May 7, 1901, in Helena, Montana.

Cooper’s family had a cattle ranch outside of town where they spent their summers riding horses, hunting, and fishing. In 1909 Cooper and his brothers traveled to England to attend grammar school.

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This Day in History… May 6, 1863

Battle of Chancellorsville 

U.S. #2975p pictures two Union artillery batteries facing an overwhelming Confederate infantry.

On May 6, 1863, the Battle of Chancellorsville ended in a Confederate victory.

Robert E. Lee delivered the Union a stunning defeat at Fredericksburg in December 1862. But Joseph Hooker used the months that followed to reorganize and reinvigorate his troops. Proclaiming he had created “the finest Army on the Planet,” Hooker devised an elaborate plan to turn the left flank of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. The rebel troops, who were outnumbered and starving, were camped near Fredericksburg in the spring of 1863 as Hooker prepared to spring his trap.

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This Day in History… May 5, 1864

Battle of the Wilderness

U.S. #1181 from the Civil War Centennial set.

On May 5, 1864, Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee clashed at the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia.

Grant had been made commander of all Union armies in March 1864.  His goal was to destroy the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, which should, in turn, lead to the fall of Richmond.  That spring, he launched his Overland Campaign in pursuit of General Lee.

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This Day in History… May 4, 1961

“Freedom Riders” Bus Trip 

U.S. #3937f from the “To Form a More Perfect Union” sheet.

On May 5, 1961, the “Freedom Riders” began their highly publicized ride through the south to protest segregation laws.

By the early 1960s, the United States Supreme Court had ruled segregated public buses were unconstitutional.  In the South, these rulings were often ignored.  To bring attention to their cause, a group of civil rights activists staged a series of freedom rides.

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This Day in History… May 3, 1915

“In Flanders Fields”

Canada #487 was issued for the 50th anniversary of McCrae’s death.

On May 3, 1915, Canadian physician John McCrae penned the poem, “In Flanders Fields,” in honor of a fallen fellow soldier following the Second Battle of Ypres.

The small town of Ypres was located in the path of Germany’s intended route across northern Belgium and into France, making it a prime location for several World War I battles.  Launched on April 21, 1915, the Second Battle of Ypres was Germany’s first and only offensive of the year.

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This Day in History… May 2, 1920

First Game of Negro National League Baseball

U.S. #4465-66 pictures a game scene and the league’s founder, Rube Foster.

On May 2, 1920, the first game of the Negro National Baseball League was played in Indianapolis, Indiana.

In the late 1800s, baseball was divided by a color line.  A rule known as the “Gentleman’s Agreement” banned black players from white leagues.  From behind this color line, a new American pastime was born – Negro Leagues Baseball.

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