This Day in Black History: January

This Day in Black History: January

WYBC celebrates Black History EVERYDAY!

Facts from


January 1

1997 – Kofi Annan of Ghana becomes first black secretary of United Nations.

1960 – Cameroon gains independence

1956 – Sudan proclaimed independent.

1863 – President Lincoln signed Emancipation Proclamation


January 2

1968 – Cuba Gooding Jr, actor born in Bronx NY

1965 – Voter registration drive, led by Martin Luther King Jr., started in Selma, Alabama.

1954 – Oprah Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi. She went on to become a celebrated talk show hostess, actress, movie producer and business woman.


January 3

1997 – Bryant Gumble resigns after 15 years as host of NBC’s Today Show

1989 – The Arsenio Hall Show premieres. It is the first regularly scheduled nightly talk show to star an African American.

1947 – United States Population: 150,697,361. Black population: 15,042,286 (10 per cent).

1621 – First African American, William Tucker, born


January 4

1971 – Congressional Black Caucus organized.

1920 – first black baseball league, National Negro Baseball League organized


January 5

1943 – George Washington Carver Day

1875 – President Grant sent federal troops to Vicksburg, Mississippi.


January 6

1832 – New England Anti-Slavery Society organized at African Baptist Church on Boston’s Beacon Hill.

1773 – Massachusetts slaves petitioned the legislature for freedom. There is a record of eight freedom petitions during the Revolutionary War period.


January 7

2002 – Shirley Franklin is sworn in as the first African American Mayor of Atlanta and the only African American female mayor of a major American city.

1955 – Marian Anderson made debut at Metropolitan Opera House as Alrica in Verdi’s Masked Ball. She was the first Black singer in the company’s history.

1890 – W.B. Purvis patented the fountain pen


January 8

1912 – African National Congress founded

1867 – Legislation giving the suffrage to Blacks in the District of Columbia was passed over President Andrew Johnson’s veto.

1815 – The Battle of New Orleans, the last battle of the War of 1812, was fought. Black troops, the Battlaion of Free Men of Color and a Battalion from Santa Domingo supported Andrew Jackson in the campaign against the British.


January 9

1989 – Time, Inc. agrees to sell NYT Cable for $420 million, to a group led by J. Bruce Llewellyn, the largest cable TV acquisition by an African American

1866 – Fisk University established. Rust College (Miss.) and Lincoln (Mo.) were also founded in 1866.


January 10

1957 – Southern Christian Leadership Conference founded

1925 – Drummer, Max Roach, born

1866 – Georgia Equal Rights Association organized.


January 11


1971 – Mary J. Blige born


January 12

1952 – University of Tennessee admitted first Black student.

1948 – U.S. Supreme Court decision (Sipuel v. Oklahoma State Board of Regents) said an state must afford Blacks “an opportunity to commence the study of law at a state institution at the same time as [other] citizens.”

1944 – Joe Frazier, 55, former boxer,born Beaufort, SC


January 13

1999 – Michael Jordan announces his second retirement from the NBA.

1997 – WWII veteran Vernon Baker is awarded the Medal of Honor at age 77

1966 – Robert Weaver beacme the first Black appointed to a presidential cabinet when President Lyndon B. Johnson named him to head the newly created Departmentof Housing and Urban Development.

1953 – Don Barksdale becomes first Black person to play in an NBA All-Star Game


January 14

1990 – In Richmond, Virginia former Lt. Governor Lawrence Douglas Wilder took office as the first popularly elected African American governor of an American state.

1948 – Carl Weathers, 51, actor born in New Orleans


January 15

1929 – Activist and civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr was born

1865 – Black division, under command of Maj. Gen. Charles Paine, participated in Fort Fisher (N.C.) expedition which closed Confederate’s last major port.


January 16

2003 – Richard Parsons, chief executive, is tapped to be the next chairman of AOL Time Warner.

1986 – On January 16, 1986, a bronze bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. is the first of any black American placed in the Capitol. The first national Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is celebrated on January 20.

1978 – January 16, 1978 – NASA names Black astronauts: Maj. Frederick D. Gregory, Maj. Guion S. Bluford, and Dr. Ronald McNair.

1974 – Muhammad Ali named the Associated Press Athlete of the Year


January 17

1966 – Martin Luther King Jr. opened campaign in Chicago

1942 – Boxing champion, Muhammad Ali was born

1931 – James Earl Jones born in Tate County, MS


January 18

1981 – Grant Fuhr, goalie for the world champion Edmonton Oilers, is picked in the first round of the National Hockey League draft to become the first Black professional hockey player

1975 – “The Jeffersons” premiered on television, one of the first sitcoms about an African-American family.


January 19

1969 – UCLA renames its social science buildings to honor alumnus Ralph Bunche.

1918 – John H Johnson, publisher of “Ebony Magazine” and “Jet” was born, 1918


January 20

2001 – Colin Luther Powell is sworn in by President George W. Bush as Secretary of State. He is the first black secretary of state in U.S. history.

1997 – On this day in 1997, former major league outfielder Curt Flood, who challenged baseball’s reserve system and made possible today’s megasalaries, dies at age 59.

1993 – “ON THE PULSE OF MORNING” by Maya Angelou delivered at the Presidential Inaguration Ceremony

1986 – Today the first national Martin Luther King Jr holiday was celebrated.


January 21

1971 – Twelve Black congressman boycotted Richard Nixon’s State of the Union message because of his “consistent refusal” to respond to the petitions of Black Americans.


January 22

1948 – George Foreman, two-time heavyweight boxing champion, was born in Marshall, TX. In a 1973 Kingston, Jamaica bout, he defeated Joe Frazier to receive the haveyweight championship. Foreman kept the title for 22 months until losing it to Muhammad Ali.

1931 – Sam Cook, Father of Soul Music, born.


January 23

1977 – ABC-TV begins televising the Alex Haley inspired miniseries Roots

1964 – The 24th Amendment to the US Constitution is ratified. It abolishes poll tax, which was used as a means of preventing african americans from voting

1821 – Minister Lott Cary left the United States leading a group of freed slaves, most of whom were members of the American Colonization Society, to colonize a small portion of West Africa. This area became known as the Republic of Liberia in 1847.


January 24

1993 – First Black Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall, dies

1977 – Howard T Ward becomes Georgia’s first Black Superior Court Judge

1962 – Jackie Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1949 – Birthday of Aaron Neville, singer


January 25

1980 – Black Entertainment Television (BET) – first black owned company to be listed on the NYSE, begins broadcasting from Washington, DC

1972 – Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm begins her campaign for President of the U.S.

1966 – Constance Baker Motley – becomes the first african american woman to be appointed to a federal judgeship


January 26

1990 – Elaine Weddington Steward was named assistant general manager of the Boston Red Sox, making her the first Black woman executive of a professional baseball organization.

1958 – Birthday of Anita Baker, Grammy award winning singer.

1948 – Executive Order 9981, to end segregation in US Armed Forces is signed by President Harry Truman

1944 – Angela Davis was born

1863 – War Department authorized Massachusetts governor to recruit Black troops. The Fifty-fourths Massachusetts Volunteers was first Black regiment recruited in North.


January 27

1973 – Joseph Lowze named auxiliary Bishop of Mississippi


January 28

1997 – At South Africa’s Truth Commission, police confessed to the 1977 murder of Steve Biko.

1986 – On this day in 1986 astronaut Ronald McNair died in the space shuttle Challenger disaster. Surviving him are his wife Cheryl McNair and children.


January 29

1997 – Louis E Martin, presidential adviser known as the “godfather of black politics” dies in Orange, Calif

1991 – Nelson Mandela and Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi held the first talks for almost 30 years between predominantly Zulu Inkatha and the ethnically mixed African National Congress.

1954 – Oprah Winfrey Born.


January 30

1979 – Franklin Thomas named president of the Ford Foundation

1927 – Harlem Globetrotters formed


January 31

1988 – Washington Redskins quarterback Doug Williams, the first African American quarterback to play in a Super Bowl game, is named MVP in Super Bowl XXII.

1962 – Samuel L Gravely becomes first Black person to command a U.S. warship.

1931 – Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks was born in Dallas, TX.

1919 – Jackie Robinson – the first African American to play major league baseball is born.


Facts from