Montgomery County-Radford City-Floyd County NAACP (Branch 7092)
P.O. Box 6044
Christiansburg, Virginia 24068

Black Facts for January

January 1, 1863 - President Lincoln signs Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in rebel states.

January 2,  1991 - Sharon Pratt Dixon (now Kelly) was sworn in as mayor of Washington, D.C., making this a first for a woman of any race and also making her the first African-American woman to serve as mayor of a major American city.

January 3, 2008 - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama became the first African American to win a US presidential primary/caucus.

January 4, 2007 - Tony Dungy (Indianapolis Colts) and Lovie Smith (Chicago Bears) become the first African American head coaches to play in the NFL's Super Bowl at Super Bowl XLI. Dungy's Colts won.

January 5, 1943 - The United States government designated the farmland upon which George Washington Carver grew up as a national monument and on January 5, 1946 as George Washington Carver day in honor of one of the few Black inventors recognized by mainstream America.

January 6, 1959 - Singer Kathy Sledge born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is best known as a member of Sister Sledge and enjoyed many pop, R&B and disco hits with her sisters Debra, Joni and Kim. She also had success a solo artist with "Take Me Back To Love Again," which hit #1 in 1992.

January 7, 1890 - W.B. Purvis, one of our great African-American inventors, received a patent for the fountain pen.

January 8, 1922 - Colonel Charles Young was the highest ranking African American officer in the army when WWI started. He was also the first African American to reach that rank in the army. Charles Young died on this day in Lagos, Nigeria, 1922.

January 9, 1935 - Earl Gilbert Graves, Sr., author, publisher, entrepreneur and philanthropist born in Brooklyn, New York. He is the founder of Black Enterprise magazine.

January 10, 1864 - Scientist and inventor George Washington Carver most well known for inventing "Peanut Butter" was born on this day in Missouri.

January 11, 1971 - Widely known as the "Queen of Hip Hop Soul", multi-platinum artist Mary J. Blige was born on this day in 1971.

January 12, 1944 - Smoking Joe Frazier considered one of the greatest heavyweights of all time was born on this day in Beaufort, South Carolina.

January 13, 1966 - Robert C. Weaver became the first black Cabinet member as he was appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

January 14, 1972 - President Johnson appoints Thurgood Marshall as the first African-American to the Supreme Court of the United States.

January 15, 1929 - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Activist and civil rights leader born in Macon, Georgia.

January 16, 1950 - Debbie Allen the actress most famous for her role as Lydia Grant in hist television series "Fame" was born on this day.

January 17, 1931 - Lawrence Douglas Wilder, the first African American to be elected as governor of a U.S. state (Virginia).

January 18, 1858 - Dr. Daniel Hale Williams was born on this day in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. He completed the first successful open heart surgery ever performed and was also the first Black physician named as a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons.

January 19, 1918 - John H Johnson, publisher of "Ebony Magazine" and "Jet" was born in Arkansas City, Arkansas. Johnson was the first black person to appear on the Forbes 400 Rich List.

January 20, 1986 - Martin Luther King Jr holiday first celebrated as a National holiday.

January 21, 1906 - Willa Chappell was born in Glasgow, Kentucky. She graduated from Indiana State Teachers College [now Indiana State University], and worked as a school teacher at Roosevelt High School, Gary, Indiana before becoming a pilot. Inspired by Bessie Coleman, Willa started taking flying lessons in 1934 at Chicago’s Aeronautical University. Soon she became a member of the Challenger Air Pilot’s Association and the Chicago Girls Flight Club and purchased her own airplane. She earned her pilot’s license in 1937, she also earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University the same year. Chappell was the first African American woman to become licensed as a pilot in the U.S. Willa earned her mechanic’s license in 1943 and became the first woman in the United States to have both a mechanic’s license and a commercial pilot’s license. Willa was also the first African American in the Civil Air Patrol. Chappell was the founder of the National Airmen Association of America, and trained more than 200 students who became Tuskegee pilots. She and her husband, Cornelius Coffy, owned and operated the first flight school for African Americans. Willa Brown-Chappell was inducted in the Aviation Hall of Fame in 2003.

January 22, 1948 - George Foreman, two-time heavyweight boxing champion, was born in Marshall, TX.

January 23, 1977 - ABC-TV airs Roots, the Mini-Series based on the book by Alex Haley.

January 24, 1962 - Jackie Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

January 25, 1972 - Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm begins her campaign for President of the U.S.

January 26, 1944 - Angela Davis, radical affiliate of the Black Panthers was born on this day.

January 27, 1961 - World renowed opera singer, Leontyne Price debuts at the Metropolitan Opera House.

January 28, 1986 - Astronaut Ronald McNair died on this day in 1986 in the space shuttle Challenger disaster.

January 29, 1954 - Oprah Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi. She is most well known for her self-titled Television show, Oprah which became the highest rated talk show in Television History. Oprah is also an Academy Award nominated actress, a magazine publisher and the only African American female Billionaire. A generous philanthropist she founded the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa with her own money.

January 30, 1844 - Richard Theodore Greener is the first African American to graduate from Harvard University.

January31, 1988 - Doug Williams becomes the first African American quarterback to play in a Super Bowl game. Williams leads the Washington Redskins to a win Super Bowl XXII. He is named MVP.