Today In History Spotlights Jan. 18, 1983, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

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Today’s History Spotlight

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Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929. A Christian minister and activist, King was very active during the American Civil Rights Movement, and led the Montgomery Bus Boycotts, March on Washington, Chicago Freedom Movement, and many other significant events. King was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, and during his time in the Birmingham City Jail, he wrote his famous letter, calling for Christian unity against segregation and Jim Crow laws.

President Ronald Reagan signed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day into law in 1983, though it was not celebrated by all 50 states until 2000. He was assassinated by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. May we never forget his timeless words: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ I have a dream that one day, on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”

What Happened On This Day – January 18

  • 2002 The Sierra Leone Civil War ends. The conflict had lasted 11 years and left over 50,000 dead.
  • 1997 Børge Ousland becomes the first person to cross Antarctica alone and unaided. The Norwegian polar explorer walked 3000 km (1864 miles) across the Earth’s southernmost continent.
  • 1943 Insurgents in the Warsaw Ghetto take up arms against the German oppressors. This lead to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the largest single revolt by Jews during World War II.
  • 1919 The Paris Peace Conference opens. The aim of the conference was to set the peace terms after World War I, resulting in the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.
  • 1886 Modern hockey is born. The foundation of The Hockey Association in England formalized a modern version of the game that had already been played in ancient times.

Births On This Day – January 18

  • 1955 Kevin Costner – American actor, singer, director, producer
  • 1913 Danny Kaye – American actor
  • 1892 Oliver Hardy – American comedian, actor
  • 1882 A. A. Milne – English author
  • 1689 Montesquieu – French philosopher

Deaths On This Day – January 18

  • 2011 Sargent Shriver – American politician, 21st United States Ambassador to France
  • 1956 Konstantin Päts – Estonian politician, 1st President of Estonia
  • 1952 Curly Howard – American actor, comedian
  • 1936 Rudyard Kipling – English author, poet, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1862 John Tyler – American lawyer, politician, 10th President of the United States

The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Garrett Smith
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