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This Day in Pop Culture for January 20

Old Radio


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.

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
(Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

2017: Donald Trump Swears in as President

Donald Trump officially became the 45th President of the United States on this day in 2017. After a contentious race for the presidency against Senator Hillary Clinton, President Trump didn’t win over any of his enemies during his inauguration speech although many of them were not even there to hear it as a record number of democrats refused to attend the ceremony. The parade that followed event was met with a large number of protesters as well as Trump supporters. In regards to some the cheers and jeers coming from the crowd, some TV commentators referred to the behavior as the “sound of democracy.” Other president sworn in on this day include Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953), John F. Kennedy (1961), Richard Nixon (1969), Jimmy Carter (1977), Ronald Reagan (1981), George H. W. Bush (1989), Bill Clinton (1993), George W. Bush (2001) and Barack Obama (2009).


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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