History & Headlines

Done in May 1951

Baby Boomer Trivia From May 1951: Aracaro on Bold Wins Preakness, Restaurant Segregation Ruled Illegal, Operation Greenhouse

On May 19, 1951, jockey Eddie Arcaro rode 3-year-old colt Bold to victory in the 76th running of the historical Preakness Stakes, the second jewel in American horse racing’s triple crown. Bold’s first race had been only 10 days before the Preakness, and he was a long shot in the odds. The Preakness was jockey Eddie Arcaro’s first ride on Bold, and Arcaro’s fourth win of the Preakness Stakes. Bold led the Preakness race the entire way and won by 7 lengths. Bucked shins suffered during the Preakness affected Bold’s ability to run in subsequent races as a 3 and 4-year-old.

1951 may, bold, winner 76th preakness, horse racing, race horse, struck by lightningAbove, Bold, winner of the 76th Preakness Stakes in 1951. (Photo: Pinterest).

On July 9th 1952 Bold (above) was in an outdoor training paddock when he was struck by lightning and killed. Jockey Eddie Arcaro would rack up 4,779 horse racing wins from the age of 16-46 before retiring in 1962; Arcaro was an octogenarian senior citizen when he died in 1997.

After the American Civil War, the Civil Rights Act of 1875 guaranteed that everyone, regardless of race or color, was entitled to the same treatment in public accommodations (inns, public transportation, theaters, etc.). When the Civil War Reconstruction period ended in 1877, the Federal Government withdrew the last soldiers from the southern states. By this time, white Democrats had the political power in southern states and it was these state and municipal governments that enacted “Jim Crow” laws to segregate the blacks and white populations. In 1883 the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. It wasn’t until after World War II that the Civil Rights Movement began to grow and the Jim Crow laws were challenged.

On May 24, 1951 the Washington D. C. Municipal Court of appeals ruled that racial segregation in Washington restaurants was illegal. The baby boomer generation and their parents would lead protests against Jim Crow laws during the 1950’s and 1960’s.

The United States began conducting a fifth round of nuclear tests called Operation Greenhouse in the Pacific on the Enewetak Atoll, part of the Marshall Islands, in the spring of 1951. On May 9th the world’s first test of a thermonuclear bomb (known as a hydrogen bomb or h-bomb), the George, was exploded on the Enewetak Atoll. On May 24th, the Item test bomb from Operation Greenhouse, was the first boosted fission weapon, almost double that of a non-boosted weapon. 

1951 may, h-bomb test, hydrogen bomb test, george test bomb, pacific island, thermonuclear bomb testingAbove, the George explosion May 9 1951. (Photo: The Atlantic)

Hungarian-American theoretical physicist Edward Teller and Polish-American mathematician Stanislaw Ulam were both members of the World War II Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bomb. The George bomb from Operation Greenhouse was an early test of the “Teller-Ulam configuration” used in all modern U.S. thermonuclear bombs today, and Teller has been called “the father of the H-Bomb”.


Note: This article was first published in 2016. It has been updated with new / additional content.

*Images are assumed to be in the public domain and/or Creative Commons licensed & sourced via Wikimedia Commons, Vimeo, YouTube, or Flickr, unless otherwise noted*

Anita Hamilton

50+ World editor & baby boomer writer Anita Hamilton has always been interested in the "real people" stories behind the characters that create and inhabit the world of music, books, movies, television shows, current events, history, etc. A lifelong love of research (ok, nosiness) and writing, combined with a loving and supportive family complete with 3 mini-dachshund minions, keeps her busy.

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