This Week in History: Jan. 22-28, 2024

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This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate
their own understanding of their history.” George Orwell

Jan. 22-28, 2024




January 22

1814 – The first Knights Templar grand encampment in the U.S. is held in New York City.

1917 – President Wilson pleads for an end to war in Europe, calling for “peace without victory.” America entered the war the following April.

1946 – Congress creates the CIA, Central Intelligence Agency, during the Hoover administration. Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter was its first director.

1950 – Automaker Preston Tucker is found not guilty of mail fraud and conspiracy to defraud after being hounded by the SEC for years. Tucker’s defense attorneys surprised everyone by not calling any witnesses to the stand. Even though Tucker was acquitted, his factory had been closed down and he was deep in debt. Of the 51 Tucker Sedans that were made, 48 are still around, mostly in private collections. He died in 1956 at age 53. Watch a video on the rise and fall of Tucker.



1973 – The U.S. Supreme Court legalizes some abortions in the Roe vs. Wade decision. There have been an estimated 62.5 million abortions in the U.S. since Roe vs. Wade.

1990 – Robert Tappan Morris, Jr. is convicted of releasing the 1988 Internet worm. He was the first person to be indicted under the new Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Morris was sentenced to three years of probation, 400 hours of community service, and fined $10,050.

2002 – Kmart Corp becomes the largest retailer in U.S. history to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

January 23

1855 – The first bridge over the Mississippi River opens in what is now Minneapolis, Minnesota. The bridge today is called the Father Louis Hennepin Bridge.

1862 – Agoston Haraszthy, the first vintner in Sonoma Valley, California, imports 10,000 grapevine cuttings. He introduced more than 300 varieties of European grapes. Haraszthy, a Hungarian immigrant, is called the “Father of Modern Winemaking in California.” He had previously started the second oldest winery in the U.S. in Wisconsin.

1930 – The George Washington Birthplace National Monument is established in Colonial Beach, Virginia.

1968 – The spy ship USS Pueblo and its 83-man crew are seized in Sea of Japan by North Korea. The crew was released 11 months later, but the ship still remains in North Korea. Watch a video by the Council on Foreign Relations.



1986 – The first inductees into Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame are Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, “Fats” Domino, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

1993 – New York Newsday reports that Oregon’s Senator Bob Packwood sexually harassed 23 women. Packwood announced his resignation from the Senate on September 7, 1995, after the Senate Ethics Committee unanimously recommended that he be expelled from the Senate for ethical misconduct.

2002 – Reporter Daniel Pearl is kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan. He was subsequently murdered by Al-Quaeda terrorists on live TV. A British national of Pakistani origin was sentenced to death by hanging in Pakistan for the murder.

2013 – The U.S. armed forces overturn a 1994 ban on women serving in combat.

2019 – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi disinvited President Donald Trump from making the State of the Union Address in Congress.


January 24

1848 – James Marshall finds gold in Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California, starting the gold rush.

1922 – Christian K. Nelson gets the patent for the Eskimo Pie, a chocolate covered ice cream bar. It was originally called the “I Scream Bar.” Woke culture extremists coerced Eskimo Pies to be renamed Edy’s Pie in 2021.

1935 – The Krueger Brewing Company sells the first canned beer, “Krueger Cream Ale.” Beer had previously only been sold in bottles.

1964 – The 24th Amendment to the Constitution goes into effect. It states that voting rights cannot be denied due to failure to pay taxes.

1984 – Apple Computer Inc. unveils its revolutionary Macintosh personal computer. It sold for $2,500. Watch Apple’s first Mac commercial.



1989 – Confessed serial killer Ted Bundy is put to death in Florida’s electric chair for the 1978 kidnap-murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach. He murdered more than 25 girls and young women between 1974 and 1978.

2003 – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security officially begins operation. It was established by President George Bush following the 9-11 attacks.

2017 – President Trump withdraws the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).


January 25

1851 – Sojourner Truth addresses the first Black Women’s Rights Convention, held in Akron, Ohio.

1890 – Nellie Bly beats the fictional Phileas Fogg’s time around world by 8 days. American-born Bly traveled around the world mostly by ship and rail, completing the trip alone in just over 72 days. Bly died in 1922 at age 57.

1907 – Julia Ward Howe, who penned “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” is the first woman elected to National Institute of Arts & Letters.

1937 – The first broadcast of “Guiding Light” airs on NBC radio. It premiered on TV in 1952 and aired until 2009. It is still the longest running soap opera ever. General Hospital is the longest-running soap opera still in production with 61 seasons.

1949 – The first television Emmy Awards ceremony is aired. Ventriloquist Shirley Dinsdale and the popular TV show “Pantomime Quiz” won the first Emmy awards.

1971 – Charles Manson and three women followers are convicted of the seven Tate-LaBianca murders. He was sentenced to death but his sentence was changed to life in prison when the death penalty was abolished. He was repeatedly denied parole. Manson died in 2017 at age 83.

1981 – The 52 Americans held hostage by Iran for 444 days arrived back in the U.S. They were freed just moments after President Reagan was inaugurated. Watch their emotional return.



1996 – Billy Bailey is the last person to be executed by hanging in the U.S. He was convicted of a double murder. Bailey chose to be executed by hanging instead of lethal injection.

2004 – The Mars Exploration Rover “Opportunity” lands on surface of Mars. The 3-month mission lasted 14 years longer than its operating plan, gathering scientific observations and sending reports to Earth. Communication was lost in 2018 after a severe dust storm. Opportunity traveled 28 miles over the surface of Mars.

2017 – The Dow Jones closes above 20,000 for the first time, just 5 days after Donald Trump is inaugurated as president. It was at almost 31,000 when Trump left office. The Dow dropped to 19,000 during the Biden’s first year in office.


January 26

1784 – Ben Franklin expresses unhappiness over the eagle as America’s symbol. It was said he preferred the turkey.

1913 – Jim Thorpe relinquishes his 1912 Olympic medals for playing semi-professional baseball. His medals were posthumously returned on January 18, 1983. Thorpe died in 1953 at age 64.

1931 – “Cimarron” premieres in New York and is the first western to win Best Outstanding Production/Picture. It was directed by Wesley Ruggles and starred Richard Dix and Irene Dunne.

1948 – President Truman signs Executive Order 9981, ending segregation in the U.S. Armed Forces.

1954 – Groundbreaking begins on Disneyland in California. The theme park opened on July 17, 1955. Walt Disney was introduced at the opening ceremony by the future California governor and future president Ronald Reagan. Watch Reagan open Disneyland.



1961 – Dr. Janet G. Travell becomes the first woman “personal physician to the president.” She was President Kennedy’s physician. Travell died in 1997 at the age of 95.

1988 – “The Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber makes its U.S. debut at the Majestic Theater in New York City. It is the longest running show in Broadway history, playing almost 14,000 performances in 36 years.

2009 – The U.S. Senate confirms President Obama’s nominee Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury in spite of the fact that Geithner failed to pay $35,000 in taxes.

2009 – In Houston, Texas, 27-year-old Nadya Suleman gives birth to the only known living set of octuplets. She already had six children, all conceived by In Vitro Fertilization.


January 27

1825 – Congress approves a plan by Secretary of War John C. Calhoun for an Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. This cleared the way for the forced relocation of the Eastern Indians through the Indian Removal Act of 1830 during what became known as the “Trail of Tears.”

1888 – The National Geographic Society is organized in Washington, DC. Alexander Graham Bell served as the second president.

1918 – “Tarzan of the Apes,” the first Tarzan film, premieres in New York City. Tarzan was a fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in a 1912 novel. Tarzan was first played by Elmo Lincoln. Of the 24 actors who portrayed Tarzan, the most well-known was 5-time Olympic gold medal winner (swimming) Johnny Weissmuller.

1927 – United Independent Broadcasters Inc. starts a radio network with 16 stations. The company later became Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS).

1951 – The U.S. conducts the first nuclear test at the Nevada Test Site located 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The mushroom-shaped cloud could be seen from Las Vegas. A total of 928 nuclear tests were conducted there between 1951 and 1992, of which 100 were above ground.

1967 – Astronauts Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White, and Roger B. Chaffee die when a flash fire engulfs their Apollo 1 command capsule during testing. They were the first astronauts to die in the line of duty.

1973 – The United States and Vietnam sign the Paris Peace Accord initiating a cease-fire. Negotiations began in 1968. The Vietnam War did not officially end until May 1975.

1998 – First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton appears on NBC’s “Today” show with charges that the allegations against her husband are the work of a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” President Clinton was impeached December 1998. Watch her claim.



2010 – Steve Jobs unveils the Apple iPad, priced starting at $499. Jobs died in 2011 at age 56.


January 28

1878 – George W. Coy is hired in New Haven, Connecticut, as the first full-time telephone operator at the first telephone exchange.

1915 – The Coast Guard is created by an act of Congress to fight contraband trade and aid distressed vessels at sea.

1956 – Elvis Presley makes his first TV appearance. He performed on the Dorsey Brothers Stage Show with Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey.



1985 – USA For Africa records the song “We are the World.” The song is written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones. It sold more than 20 million copies. Watch the official star-studded video.



1986 – The Challenger, on the 25th Space Shuttle mission, explodes 73 seconds after liftoff. All crewmembers were lost. The space shuttle program was halted for 32 months. The first space shuttle mission after the Challenger disaster was the Discovery in September of 1988.

1990 – The San Francisco 49ers beat the Denver Broncos 55-10 in Super Bowl XXIV. It was the most lopsided game in Super Bowl history.

2013 – John Kerry succeeds Hillary Rodham Clinton as U.S. Secretary of State. The current Secretary of State is Antony Blinken.




Image from: www.mysanantonio.com


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