1891 Earl Warren was born.
1920 U. S. Senate rejected American involvement in the League of Nations. (See June 28th entry.)
J 995 Michael Jordan returned to play basketball. (See February 17 entry.)
One swallow does not a summer make, but today the swallows herald a pretty certain sign of spring in an area where spring is not that easy to differentiate from winter. This is the day when, according to tradition, the swallows come back to the San Juan Capistrano mission in California. It is celebrated in legend and song by people who have never been within a thousand miles of Capistrano, but it helps remind them and us that spring is just around the comer.
When Earl Warren was born on this date in 1891, his hometown of Los Angeles, California, was barely past its frontier days and the U. S. was—so to speak—still in short pants. But before he died Chief Justice Earl Warren presided over two contrasting
Chapters in American history that helped this nation mature. One was the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, in 1954, in which the Supreme Court banned racial segregation as public policy, and reversed the previously accepted idea of separate but equal facilities for African-Americans and whites. Justice Warren’s other historic role was as Chairman of the Warren Commission, which was established to investigate President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and decided that assassin Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone. It was largely because of Warren’s tremendous prestige and integrity that this decision remained relatively unquestioned for so many years.
On this day in 1920, the U. S. Senate rejected the Treaty of Versailles and kept our nation out of the League of Nations. Some historians have contended that if the U. S. had joined the League there might have been sufficient international agreement to prevent the Second World War. That point, of course, is moot. But today we mark the anniversary of the last time the U. S. saw fit to return to an isolationist policy. Soon thereafter, perhaps inevitably, it became impossible for the U. S. to maintain that posture.