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This Day in Pop Culture for January 20

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

1986: First Martin Luther King Jr. Day

At the White House Rose Garden on November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor King. Observed for the first time on January 20, 1986, it is called Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Following President George H. W. Bush’s 1992 proclamation, the holiday is observed on the third Monday of January each year, near the time of King’s birthday. On January 17, 2000, for the first time, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was officially observed in all fifty U.S. states. Arizona (1992), New Hampshire (1999) and Utah (2000) were the last three states to recognize the holiday. (Image: Wikimedia)

1954: National Negro Network is Founded

Founded on this day in 1954, the National Negro Network was a black-oriented radio programming service created by Chicago advertiser W. Leonard Evans, Jr. It was the first black-owned radio network in the country, and its programming was broadcast on up to 45 affiliates. The network featured soap operas, dramatic shows, symphony concerts from black colleges and music featuring black DJs. Although popular, the NNN was short-lived ending after just one year of programming.

Old Radio


  • 1896: George Burns (comedian)
  • 1920: DeForest Kelley (actor)
  • 1926: Patricia Neal (actress)
  • 1929: Arte Johnson (actor)
  • 1930: Buzz Aldrin (astronaut)
  • 1956: Bill Maher (TV host)
  • 1966: Rainn Wilson (actor)
  • 1967: Stacey Dash (actress)
  • 1967: Kellyanne Conway (political strategist)
  • 1970: Skeet Ulrich (actor)

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Jeffrey Totey View All

I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.

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