NCAA adopts controversial Proposition 48

On January 13, 1986, NCAA schools vote to adopt Proposition 48, a controversial regulation that mandates minimum high school grades and scores on standardized college entrance exames for student-athletes to participate in sports as freshmen. The proposition, which passes by a large margin, has a disproportional impact on Black male athletes.

According to NCAA statistics, only 51 percent of Black male athletes would have qualified for the 1982 season had the bylaw already been in effect, the Hartford Courant reported. “There is no question that some of the most highly skilled athletes will not be competing as freshman,” said Wilford Bailey, NCAA secretary-treasurer, of Proposition 48.

The historically Black schools, led by Grambling State president Joseph Johnson, adamantly objected to the bylaw. “This rule will deny Blacks equal protection and opportunity. Those who proposed it, knew it,” he said.

Proposition 48 required incoming freshmen to maintain a 2.0 grade-point average n the core curriculum of 11 courses in English, math and sciences as well as score 700 or more on the SAT or a 15 on the ACT. The SAT and ACT are standardized college entrance exams. 

The day after Proposition 48 was passed, Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson walked off the court in protest before a game against Boston College.

“I’ve done this because, out of frustration, you’re limited in your options of what you can do in response to something I felt was very wrong,” Thompson said.

The NCAA has adjusted the regulation over the years, but it has remained in effect since 1986.

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All-female team competes in America’s Cup sailing for first time

On January 13, 1995, America3, an all-female sailing team, wins the first race of the America’s Cup defender trials, easily beating Team Dennis Conner by a little more than a minute. The team is the sport’s first all-women team to compete in the 144-year history of the America’s Cup, the world’s oldest continually contested sporting trophy. The Cup represents the pinnacle of international sailing yacht competition.

America3 (pronounced “America Cubed”) was the brainchild of Bill Koch, a millionaire businessman and skipper of the 1992 America’s Cup-winning vessel. Koch wanted to pique American interest in the sport and field a competitive sailing team. So, he assembled a 23-member team that included female sailors, rowers and professional weightlifters to take on Conner’s team in the defender trials.

The navigator aboard Koch’s boat was 26-year racing veteran Ann Nelson, who had won more than 50 championships as part of the U.S. Women’s World Sailing team. The silver medalist in the 1984 Olympic board sailing exhibition didn’t shy from confrontation with Conner, who reportedly made crude comments to Nelson and her teammates the summer before the race.

The pre-race controversy made for great theater leading up to the race, which was expected to be an easy victory for Conner’s newer boat and more experienced team. However, Conner’s team made a critical prestart gaffe by not allowing America3 right of way, resulting in his boat having to take a penalty turn. That swung the race.

“In essence, the race was over at that point,” Conner said. “America3 had a 600- to 700-foot lead and did a good job with it through the rest of the race.”

However, America3 team lost the defender trials to Conner’s team. 

At the end of the trials, Koch was proud of what his team had accomplished, saying, “We had a top team that can compete with anyone… Next time an all-women’s team sails in the top of the competition, they can go all the way. That’s what this team has meant to the sport.”

No all-female team has won the America’s Cup.

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First group of Korean immigrants enter Hawaii

On January 13, 1903, the RMS Gaelic arrives in Honolulu, bringing with it the first Korean immigrants to the United States. The Hawaiian Star calls the 102 newcomers “a possible solution for the problem of labor on plantations,” foreshadowing the difficult lives that await them in the recently-acquired U.S. territory.

As the Star’s framing suggests, early Korean immigration to the United States was largely a product of American planters’ need for cheap labor. The “problem” the paper referenced was sugar and pineapple plantation owners’ difficulties with their mostly-Japanese workers, and their solution had been to send recruiters to Korea. Christian missionaries also stimulated the first wave of Korean immigration to the United States: missionaries Horace Allen and George Herbert Jones had recruited over half of the Koreans aboard the Gaelic from the Naeri Methodist Church near Inchon.

Many of the workers moved on to the Pacific coast of the mainland United States when their contracts were up, and the Korean American diaspora community went on to play an important role in the Korean Independence Movement. The racist Immigration Act of 1924, colloquially known as the Oriental Exclusion Act, put an abrupt end to Korean immigration to the U.S. for a time, but many Koreans still found their way to the U.S. as students. Another wave of Korean immigrants would arrive starting in 1950, most of them fleeing the civil war in their country. Today, there are over 1.8 million Korean Americans, and Koreatowns exist in many U.S. cities—Honolulu’s received official recognition from the State of Hawaii in 2016. January 13 is now recognized nationally as Korean American Day.

READ MORE: Asian American Milestones: Timeline

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Johnny Cash performs at Folsom Prison


Year
1968
Month Day
January 13

In the midst of depression and a steep decline in his musical career, legendary country singer Johnny Cash arrives to play for inmates at California’s Folsom Prison on January 13, 1968. The concert and the subsequent live album launched him back into the charts and re-defined his career.

Despite his outlaw image, Cash never went to prison, save for a few nights drying out in various jails. It was not his own experience but rather the crime film Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison that inspired him to pen “Folsom Prison Blues,” which was a modest hit for Cash in 1956. The song, characteristically mournful, is written from the point of view of an inmate “stuck in Folsom Prison” after shooting a man in Reno “just to watch him die” – Cash explained that he wanted to come up with the most senseless reason imaginable for the speaker to have committed murder. A decade later, Cash’s alcoholism and addiction to pills had taken a marked toll on his health. Cash was popular in prisons across America and was known to correspond with imprisoned fans, and first played at Folsom in 1966 on the suggestion of a local preacher. Two years later, needing something to jump-start his career, he convinced his record company to let him record a live album there.

Cash felt a personal responsibility to put on a good show at Folsom. He rehearsed feverishly in the days leading up to the concert and taught himself “Greystone Chapel,” a song written by Folsom inmate Glen Sherley. Despite the presence of armed guards on the walkways above them, and the warden’s prohibition against standing during the show, Cash’s audience was raucous, invigorating the performers and lending a unique verve to the live recording. Cash tailored the setlist to prisoners, including the namesake song and ending with “Greystone Chapel.” The album went to No. 1, as did a subsequent album recorded at San Quentin, and suddenly Cash was a household name again.

The iconic performance linked Cash permanently with prisoners in the American imagination. In his 1971 song “Man in Black,” Cash explains that he adopted his trademark dark clothing in solidarity with “the poor and the beaten down” as well as “the prisoner who has long paid for his crime.” Cash testified before Congress and met with President Richard Nixon to discuss prison reform in 1972, and continued to crusade on behalf of the imprisoned for the rest of his career. Live at Folsom Prison stands as a testament to the bond he felt with inmates as well as a major entry in the canon of 20th Century American music.

READ MORE: I Went With Johnny Cash to Folsom Prison

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Douglas Wilder of Virginia becomes the nation’s first African American governor


Year
1990
Month Day
January 13

Douglas Wilder, the first African American to be elected governor of an American state, takes office as Governor of Virginia on January 13, 1990. Wilder broke a number of color barriers in Virginia politics and remains an enduring and controversial figure in the state’s political scene.

Born in 1931 in Church Hill, a poor and segregated neighborhood of Richmond, Wilder is the grandson of slaves and is named for Frederick Douglass. He grew up in the Jim Crow era, graduating from Richmond’s Virginia Union University in 1951. Wilder fought in the Korean War, earning the Bronze Star, before studying law at Howard University and returning to Richmond to practice.

Wilder entered politics by way of a special election to the State Senate in 1969, becoming the state’s first African American state senator since Reconstruction. A Democrat, he developed a reputation for taking on other members of his party. In 1982, he threatened to run for Senate as an independent after the presumptive Democratic nominee gave a speech praising the Byrd Organization, the powerful and formerly pro-segregation political machine that had long dominated the Virginia Democratic Party. In 1986, Wilder became the first African American to win a statewide election in Virginia when he was elected Lieutenant Governor. Four years later, in an extremely narrow race that triggered an automatic recount, he was elected Governor.

Some political scientists have speculated that the race was unexpectedly close due to the “Bradley Effect,” the effect on polls of racist voters lying about their willingness to vote for non-white candidates. Though Republicans had painted him as a liberal due to his pro-choice stance on abortion, Wilder governed as a “tough on crime” centrist. Bills aimed at reducing crime and gun violence, as well as infrastructure spending in the rapidly expanding suburbs of Northern Virginia, were hallmarks of his tenure. Wilder also divested all state institutions from the apartheid government of South Africa, making it the first Southern state to do so.

Virginia law prohibits governors from running for re-election, but Wilder remained active in state politics. In the 2000s, he was one of the leaders of a movement to directly elect the Mayor of Richmond—at the time, the City Council chose one of its members to serve as mayor. In 2003, an overwhelming majority of Richmonders approved the direct-election measure, and Wilder was elected mayor the following year with 79 percent of the vote. Wilder supported then-Senator Barack Obama‘s first run for president, although he declined to endorse him in 2012. Since leaving office in 2008, Wilder has taught at Virginia Commonwealth University’s school of public affairs, which is named for him, and has worked to establish museums and memorials in remembrance of slavery.

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After massacre, sole surviving British soldier escapes Kabul


Year
1842
Month Day
January 13

On January 13, 1842, a British army doctor reaches the British sentry post at Jalalabad, Afghanistan, the lone survivor of a 16,000-strong Anglo-Indian expeditionary force that was massacred in its retreat from Kabul. He told of a terrible massacre in the Khyber Pass, in which the Afghans gave the defeated Anglo-Indian force and their camp followers no quarter.

In the 19th century, Britain, with a goal of protecting its Indian colonial holdings from Russia, tried to establish authority in neighboring Afghanistan by attempting to replace Emir Dost Mohammad with a former emir known to be sympathetic to the British. This blatant British interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs triggered the outbreak of the first Anglo-Afghan War in 1839.

Dost Mohammad surrendered to British forces in 1840 after the Anglo-Indian army had captured Kabul. However, after an Afghan revolt in Kabul the British had no choice but to withdraw. The withdrawal began on January 6, 1842, but bad weather delayed the army’s progress. The column was attacked by swarms of Afghans led by Mohammad’s son, and those who were not killed outright in the attack were later massacred by the Afghan soldiers. A total of 4,500 soldiers and 12,000 camp followers were killed. Only one man, Dr. William Bryden, escaped to recount the details of the military disaster.

In retaliation, another British force invaded Kabul in 1843, burning a portion of the city. In the same year, the war came to an end, and in 1857 Emir Dost Mohammad, who had been restored to power in 1843, signed an alliance with the British. In 1878, the Second Anglo-Afghan War began, which ended two years later with Britain winning control of Afghanistan’s foreign affairs.

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James Joyce dies


Year
1941
Month Day
January 13

James Joyce, widely regarded as Ireland’s greatest author, dies in Zurich, Switzerland, at the age of 58. One of the most brilliant and daring writers of the 20th century, Joyce’s masterpiece Ulysses is ranked among the greatest works in the English language.

Born in Dublin in 1882, Joyce grew up in poor surroundings and was educated at Jesuit-run schools and the University College in Dublin. He wrote poetry and short prose passages that he called “epiphanies,” a term he used to describe the sudden revelation of the true nature of a person or thing. In 1902, he went to Paris but returned to Dublin in the next year when his mother fell ill. There he began writing the experimental Stephen Hero, a largely autobiographical work. For the Irish Homestead, he also wrote several Irish-themed short stories, which were characterized by tragic epiphanies and spare but precise writing.

In 1904, Joyce left Ireland with companion Nora Barnacle and lived in Poland, Austria-Hungary, Trieste, and Rome, where he fathered two children with Nora and worked. He spent his spare time writing and composing several other short stories that would join his earlier works to form Dubliners, first published in 1914. The most acclaimed of the 15 stories is “The Dead,” which tells the story of a Dublin schoolteacher and his wife, and of their lost dreams. During this time, he also drastically reworked Stephen Hero and renamed it A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

With the Italian entrance into World War I, he moved to Zurich with his family. Faced with severe financial difficulties, he found patrons in Edith Rockefeller McCormick and Harriet Shaw Weaver, editor of Egoist magazine. In 1916, Weaver published A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which received significant critical acclaim. Soon after, the American Little Review began to publish episodes from Ulysses, a novel that Joyce began in 1915. The sexually explicit work was banned in the United States in 1920 after only a few installments. Two years later, Sylvia Beach, a bookstore owner in Paris, published it in its entirety.

Ulysses brought Joyce international fame, and the work’s groundbreaking literary forms, including stream-of-consciousness writing, were an immediate influence on novelists the world over. The action of the novel takes place in Dublin on a single day but parallels the epic 10-year journey described in Homer’s Odyssey. Although colored with numerous allusions, the strength of Ulysses rests not in its intellectual complexity but in its depth of characterization, breadth of humor, and overall celebration of life.

Joyce spent more than 17 years on his last work, published in 1939 as Finnegans Wake. His most difficult work, Joyce carried his literary experimentation to its furthest point in this novel, which uses words from different languages to embody a cyclical theory of human existence. Because many find it difficult and inaccessible, Finnegans Wake is not as highly regarded as his earlier works.

Joyce lived in Paris from 1920 to 1940, but he moved back to Zurich after France fell to the Germans. In addition to his three major works, he also published several collections of verse and a play called Exiles.

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Pope recognizes Knights Templar


Year
1128
Month Day
January 13

On January 13, 1128, Pope Honorius II grants a papal sanction to the military order known as the Knights Templar, declaring it to be an army of God.

Led by the Frenchman Hughes de Payens, the Knights Templar organization was founded in 1118. Its self-imposed mission was to protect Christian pilgrims on their way to and from the Holy Land during the Crusades, the series of military expeditions aimed at defeating Muslims in Palestine. For a while, the Templars had only nine members, mostly due to their rigid rules. In addition to having noble birth, the knights were required to take strict vows of poverty, obedience and chastity. In 1127, new promotional efforts convinced many more noblemen to join the order, gradually increasing its size and influence.

READ MORE: 10 Reasons the Knights Templar Were History’s Fiercest Fighters

By the time the Crusades ended unsuccessfully in the early 14th century, the order had grown extremely wealthy, provoking the jealousy of both religious and secular powers. In 1307, King Philip IV of France and Pope Clement V combined to take down the Knights Templar, arresting the grand master, Jacques de Molay, on charges of heresy, sacrilege and Satanism. Under torture, Molay and other leading Templars confessed and were eventually burned at the stake. Clement dissolved the Templars in 1312.

The modern-day Catholic Church has admitted that the persecution of the Knights Templar was unjustified and claimed that Pope Clement was pressured by secular rulers to dissolve the order. Over the centuries, myths and legends about the Templars have grown, including the belief that they may have discovered holy relics at Temple Mount, including the Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenant or parts of the cross from Christ’s crucifixion. The imagined secrets of the Templars have inspired various books and movies, including the blockbuster novel and film The Da Vinci Code.

READ MORE: Why the Knights Templar Gave False Confessions of Depravity

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Michael Jordan retires for a second time


Year
1999
Month Day
January 13

On January 13, 1999, the National Basketball Association (NBA) superstar Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls announces his retirement from professional basketball, for the second time, in front of a crowd at Chicago’s United Center.

Jordan had an outstanding college career, but left the University of North Carolina after his junior year when he was selected by the Chicago Bulls as the third-overall pick in the first round of the 1984 NBA draft. Jordan helped the Bulls make the playoffs in each of his first six seasons on the team. In 1991, he got to his first NBA finals, where he led his team to the first of three consecutive championships.

Shaken and disillusioned by the murder of his father and an NBA investigation into allegations of illegal betting (of which he was eventually cleared), Jordan announced his retirement from basketball in 1993. He signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox baseball team and was assigned to a White Sox affiliate team, the Birmingham Barons. Though his very presence on the field drew crowds, Jordan batted only .202 in his first summer, striking out 114 times in 127 games. By March 1995, he had decided to put down his bat and return to the basketball court.

After a disappointing finish in the 1994-95 season, Jordan (aided by his old allies Scottie Pippen and Coach Phil Jackson, as well as the new star Dennis Rodman), turned things around for the Bulls. Jordan led the league in scoring that year with 30.4 points per game and helped his team to a 72-10 record, the best regular season finish in the history of the NBA. The Bulls won three more consecutive NBA championships in 1996, 1997 and 1998, becoming the first team in league history to win three straight championships twice. In his 12 full seasons with the Bulls, Jordan was voted the NBA’s Most Valuable Player five times and won six NBA Finals MVP awards, one for each final his Bulls played.

Jordan’s second retirement announcement, in January 1999, came after bitter tension between General Manager Jerry Krause and Coach Jackson resulted in Jackson’s leaving Chicago. Though he had earlier stated publicly that he would not play for any coach besides Jackson, Jordan explained his decision to retire by saying he had lost the drive and desire that was necessary to continue playing at such a high level, and that he wanted to spend more time with his family. When asked if there was a chance he would come back, Jordan said he was “99.9 percent” sure he would not.

In January 2000, Jordan became part-owner and president of basketball operations of the Washington Wizards, a struggling NBA franchise. After the Wizards won only 19 games in Jordan’s first full season in this position, he decided to rebuild the team, hiring the former Bulls coach Doug Collins. Most surprisingly, the 38-year-old Jordan got himself into playing shape and came out of retirement yet again in September 2001 as a free agent with the Wizards. Though he scored his 30,000th career point on January 4, 2002, against his former team, the Bulls, Jordan was never able to lead the Wizards into playoff competition. He retired for the third and final time on April 16, 2003. 

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Lyndon Johnson appoints first African American cabinet member


Year
1966
Month Day
January 13

On January 13, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson appoints the first African American cabinet member, making Robert C. Weaver head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the agency that develops and implements national housing policy and enforces fair housing laws. In keeping with his vision for a Great Society, Johnson sought to improve race relations and eliminate urban blight. As many of the country’s African Americans lived in run-down inner-city areas, appointing Weaver was an attempt to show his African American constituency that he meant business on both counts.

Weaver’s expertise in social and economic issues concerning urban African Americans was well-known. Prior to his appointment as HUD secretary, he held key positions in several Democratic administrations. Under Franklin D. Roosevelt in the mid-to-late 1930s, he advised the secretary of the interior and served as a special assistant with the Housing Authority. In 1940, he was appointed to the National Defense Advisory Commission and worked to mobilize black workers during World War II. From 1955 to 1959, Weaver served as rent commissioner for the state of New York, then went on to serve as head of the Housing and Home Finance Agency under President John F. Kennedy.

As HUD’s senior administrator, Weaver expanded affordable housing programs and, in 1968, advocated for the passage of the Fair Housing Act, which prohibited discrimination against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin. Weaver and Johnson shared the goal of revitalizing America’s urban areas through improved housing, the creation of inner-city parks and support for African American-owned businesses.

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