On this date in 1787, 55 delegates met in Philadelphia to draft a Constitution to replace the unwieldy Articles of Confederation. Did those delegates, all of whom were white and male, do their best? That's a fraught question.
It's a matter of record that they were literally revolutionaries who had risked their lives, fortunes, and their family's future for the idea of self-determination.
Even so, they also seem obtuse today: A new country devoted to independence that granted neither freedom nor equality to a majority of its citizens? That's also a historic fact. Yet, these imperfect men produced a set of founding documents that created a framework for progress -- and for future generations to be liberated from the confines of late 18th century thinking.
It hardly happened overnight, and even after the Civil War and the passage of the 14th and 15th amendments (and the 19th Amendment) social progress came only gradually. Yet progress did come, along with constant reminders of how far we have yet to go. Today, these themes are pitted against one another, as though only one can be true. This is folly. They are both true, as today's date reminds us.
It was on a May 25 in 1935, that Babe Ruth hit home run number 714. Statistically, Ruth is far and away the best baseball player in history, but how do we really know? The great black ballplayers of his day were prohibited from competing against Ruth. The same day that the Bambino stroked his final homer, track star Jesse Owens set three world records and tied a fourth at a Michigan track meet.
A year later, Owens would single-handedly demolish the myth of Aryan supremacy at a track meet in Berlin -- the 1936 Olympic Games.
Sometimes it seems as though we take one step forward and two steps back, but usually that's only an illusion. It was 10 years ago today that the last episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" aired on national television. Oprah went out on top. But it was one year ago today that George Floyd, an unemployed black man down on his luck, was murdered by a clueless Minneapolis police officer. We have miles to go before we rest on our laurels.
Carl M. Cannon is the Washington bureau chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.