Jan. 17- 1920: Prohibition era begins in the U.S. one year after ratification of the 18th Amendment. It lasts almost 14 years until ratification of the 21st amendment on December 5, 1933. 1942: American boxer Cassius Clay is born in Louisville, KY. Took the name “Muhammad Ali” in 1964. 1984: U.S. Supreme Court rules that using VCRs to record television shows does not violate federal copyright laws.

New York City Deputy Police Commissioner John A. Leach, right, watching agents pour liquor into sewer following a raid during the height of prohibition. Library of Congress

Jan. 18- 1803: President Thomas Jefferson requests funding from Congress to send an exploration party to western territories. With some objection, they eventually approved $2,500 for the Corp of Discovery Expedition, led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. 1974: “The Six-Million Dollar Man” starring Lee Majors premieres on ABC-TV. Just imagine what he would cost today! 1983: The International Olympic Committee restores medals won by American Jim Thorpe 70 years after they were taken from him for accepting $25 to play semi-pro baseball.

Jan. 19- 1915: German zeppelins drop bombs on Great Britain during World War I. 1966: Indira Gandhi elected first female Prime Minister of India. 2013: NASA’s Curiosity Rover discovers calcium deposits on Mars but not a drop of water.

Jan. 20 Inauguration Day- 1930: American astronaut Buzz Aldrin born in Glen Ridge, NJ. 1945: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sworn in for 4th term. 1980: President Jimmy Carter announces U.S. boycott of 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. 2009: Barack Obama is sworn in as first African-American U.S. president.

Jan. 21- 1793: French King Louis XVI executed by guillotine during French Resolution.
1976: First commercial flights of the supersonic Concorde. With a speed of 1,350 mph, the Concorde reduced trans-Atlantic travel time by more than 50% but lost luggage was still a problem. 1990: John McEnroe becomes the first tennis player ever expelled from the Australian Open. Like King Louis XVI, Mr. McEnroe sort of “lost his head” during an on-court fit of temper!

Jan. 22- 1973: The U.S. Supreme Court issues landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, ruling that excessively restrictive state regulation of abortion is unconstitutional. Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022. 1973: 36th President Lyndon B. Johnson died of a heart attack at his ranch in Johnson City, TX. 1977: Oklahoma woman Lottie Williams becomes the first and only reported person to be struck by falling space debris. And you thought YOU were having a bad day?

Jan. 23- 1737: Founding Father and notable signer of the Declaration of Independence John Hancock was born in Braintree, MA. 1957: Wham-o toy company rolls out first Frisbees. They were spotted on numerous suburban rooftops not long after! 2020: China locks down the city of Wuhan to control the Covid-19 epidemic.