Today in African History

Today in African History: January 15

Greetings and shalom, everyone! On this day of the Gregorian calendar, January 15, we remember the following events in global African history:


Year Territory Event
1827 USA 130 enslaved Africans and other possessions of Thomas Jefferson were sold at auction. Sally Hemmings and 5 members of the Hemings family were freed shortly thereafter.
1865 USA American Civil War: Fort Fisher in North Carolina falls to the Union, thus cutting off the last major seaport of the Confederacy.
1908 USA The Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority becomes the first Greek-letter organization founded and established by African American college women.
1929 USA Birth of American Civil Rights leader the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Atlanta, Georgia.
1951 USA The United States Supreme Court ruled that the “clear and present danger” of incitement to riot is not protected speech and can be a cause for arrest.
1961 USA The Supremes signed with Motown Records.
1966 USA The First Nigerian Republic, led by Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was overthrown in a military coup d’état.
1970 Nigeria Nigerian Civil War: Biafran rebels surrender following an unsuccessful 32-month fight for independence from Nigeria.
1970 Libya Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is proclaimed premier of Libya.
1972 USA Heavyweight Joe Frazier (b.1944) KO’d Terry Daniels.
1988 USA Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder made racist remarks about black athletes. The CBS football analyst was fired the next day.
2001 East Africa The presidents of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda formed the East African Community, a regional partnership reviving one that collapsed in 1978.
2005 Mozambique Visiting Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown revealed that Britain decided to cancel Mozambique‘s total debt to it of 150 million dollars (114 million euros) to help the southern African country combat poverty. Britain also “agreed to pay 10 percent of Mozambique‘s multilateral debt.”
2006 Nigeria Separatist gunmen shot dead several Nigerian troops and overran an oil plant run by the Anglo-Dutch Shell, amid fears for the safety of four kidnapped foreign workers. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Nigerian Delta (MEND) claimed responsibility. MEND told Shell to pay $1.5 billion to the state of Bayelsa for pollution it said Shell has caused.
2007 USA Forest Whitaker won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in Motion Picture Drama award for “The Last King of Scotland.
2008 Barbados The Democratic Labor Party led by David Thompson won Barbados‘ general elections, winning 20 of 30 seats in parliament.
2008 Brazil; Cuba Brazil signed accords with Cuba offering economic aid and sealed a deal to drill for oil off the island’s coast. Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Trade with businessmen in tow signed trade and investment deals totaling some $1 billion.
2009 Togo Togo agreed to extradite to the United States Solano Cortez Jorge, an alleged druglord from Colombia, who was arrested trying to smuggle hundreds of pounds (kilograms) of cocaine through this West African nation last year.
2010 Kenya At least 7 people were killed during a demonstration in Nairobi, Kenya by Muslim youth protesting the arrest of a radical Jamaican-born Muslim cleric whose teachings influenced one of the 2005 London transport system bombers.
2011 Ivory Coast The European Union raised pressure on Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo to step down, freezing assets of the country’s cocoa-exporting ports, its state oil firm and three banks.
2011 Somalia Somali pirates seized a South Korean freighter with 21 crew members in the Arabian Sea.
2013 Jamaica Jamaica’s Minister of Science, Technology, Energy & Mining, Phillip Paulwell, said his country may be able to benefit from newly found deposits of rare-earth elements that are key ingredients for smartphones, computers and numerous other high-tech goods.
2016 Kenya; Somalia The Kenyan Army suffered its worst defeat ever in a battle with Al-Shabaab Islamic insurgents in El-Adde, Somalia. An estimated 150 soldiers are killed.
2016 USA; Cuba The United States announced it would ease travel and trade restrictions with Cuba on January 16, implementing an agreement to begin normalizing ties with the Cold War-era foe.

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