Following its discovery by Dr. Jonas Salk, the polio vaccine was released for mass use. The vaccine virtually eradicated polio, a disease that plagued thousands of children by damaging the nervous system, which could have led to muscle paralysis.
April 15, 1955
Des Plaines, Illinois
Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald's in Des Plaines, IL after buying the assembly-line company from Maurice and Richard McDonald in California. In four years, Kroc established 100 restaurants nationally and by ten years, expanded to over 700 McDonald's.
August 27, 1955
Sir Hugh Beaver, Managing Director of Guinness Brewery, had the idea for a book of facts and records after having a debate on Europe's fastest bird. Four years later, the first edition of The Guinness Book of World Records was published and topped Britain's bestseller list before Christmas. The book now sells over 3 million copies annually and is published in 25 languages.
September 30, 1955
James Dean died in a car accident the same year he got his big break in East of Eden, a film that garnered him a Best Actor Academy Award nomination. One month after his death, Rebel Without a Cause sealed his stardom when it debuted in theaters.
December 1, 1955
Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus for a white passenger in Montgomery, AL in direct violation of the city's racial segregation laws. Her act resulted in a boycott led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the law was unconstitutional. Parks would become known as the 'mother of the civil rights movement' and will be laid in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda upon her passing.