Today in African History

Today in African History: January 31

Greetings and shalom, everyone! On this day of the Gregorian calendar, January 31, we remember the following events in global African history:


Year Territory Event
1620 USA Virginia colony leaders wrote to the Virginia Company in England, asking for more orphaned apprentices for employment.
1865 USA American Civil War: The United States Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, abolishing slavery and submits it to the states for ratification.
1865 USA American Civil War: Confederate General Robert E. Lee becomes general-in-chief.
1919 USA Birth of Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), the first African-American player in major league baseball, in Cairo, Georgia.
1925 USA Birth of Benjamin Hooks (1925-2010), civil rights leader, in Memphis, Tennessee.
1961 USA In South Carolina, 10 black men were arrested for ordering lunch from a whites-only counter at McCrory’s variety store in Greensboro. One man paid a fine and the rest became known as the “Friendship Nine.” In 2015 prosecutors sought to vacate their arrests and convictions.
1994 Somalia In Somalia, a convoy of U.S. soldiers opened fire on hundreds of Somali civilians outside a food distribution center, killing at least eight.
1997 Liberia The deadline for some 14,000 rebels to hand in their weapons.
1999 USA Scientists from the University of Alabama at Birmingham reported that the AIDS virus originated from a subspecies of chimpanzee in western Africa and that it jumped to humans in the last 50 years.
1999 UN Kofi Annan called on large corporations to enact and uphold standards of conduct for themselves and sub-contractors for investments and operations in poor countries.
2001 USA The state of Georgia hoisted its new flag above its statehouse, one featuring a smaller Confederate battle emblem.
2002 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe enacted a new media law that required local media people to be licensed and restricted foreign reporters from working freely.
2006 USA Death of Coretta Scott King, wife of civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
2007 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe’s central bank chief Gideon Gono unveiled a battery of belt-tightening measures which include slashing the money supply and state spending to put the brakes on four-digit inflation. The Zimbabwe dollar traded at 250 against the greenback on the official market while fetching up to 4,200 on the black market.
2009 USA President Barack Obama promised to lower mortgage costs, offer job-creating loans for small businesses, get credit flowing and rein in free-spending executives as he readies a new road map for spending billions from the second installment of the financial rescue plan.
2009 USA; Rwanda In Maryland, Goucher College President Sanford Ungar told faculty and students in an e-mail that Professor Leopold Munyakazi was removed from teaching after officials learned he had been indicted in 2006 on genocide charges in Rwanda.
2009 Sudan Sudan’s state media reported that a US aid group has been thrown out of the Darfur region after officials found thousands of Arabic-language bibles stacked in its office.
2009 Kenya At least 113 people were killed and over 200 injured following an oil spillage ignition in Molo, days after a massive fire at a Nakumatt supermarket in Nairobi killed at least 25 people.
2010 USA Beyonce, pop’s reigning diva, earned six Grammys, more than any woman on a single night of the 52-year-old awards show.
2010 African Union In Ethiopia, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attended the AU’s annual summit in Addis Ababa and again failed to pledge peacekeepers for Somalia. Ban Ki-Moon criticized power-grabs in Africa in a speech to the continent’s leaders as Libya’s Moamer Kadhafi reluctantly handed over the presidency of the African Union to Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika. The AU agreed to consider a Senegalese proposal to resettle Haiti’s earthquake homeless and possibly create a state for them in Africa.
2010 Haiti Ten American Baptists were being held in the Haitian capital after trying take 33 children out of Haiti at a time of growing fears over possible child trafficking. Doctors skirted a bureaucratic logjam to save the life of two critically ill child victims of Haiti’s earthquake, flying them to US hospitals on a private jet to avoid a military suspension of medical evacuation flights.
2011 African Union Leaders of 53 African countries met In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to tackle festering conflicts in Sudan and Somalia at a summit overshadowed by Egypt’s popular uprising and the leadership crisis in Ivory Coast. The African Union named a panel of six African presidents to mediate Ivory Coast’s political crisis.
2011 Niger Niger, an impoverished country on the edge of the Sahara, took another stab at democracy as it voted for a new president and parliament that are expected to take over leadership from the military.
2012 Haiti Haiti’s President Michel Martelly awarded actor Sean Penn the honor of ambassador at large.
2012 Ivory Coast Ivory Coast’s top court annulled the election of 11 lawmakers from Pres. Ouattara’s party in a December vote after complaints that they breached campaign laws.
2012 South Africa South African Airways launched non-stop flights to Beijing. China became South Africa’s top trade partner in 2009.
2013 South Africa South African officials said that 57 rhinos have been killed by poachers across the country so far this year. A record 668 rhinos were killed in South Africa in 2012, an increase of nearly 50 percent over the previous year.
2015 DR Congo; Rwanda DR Congo‘s foreign minister said government troops have started their long-awaited offensive against Rwandan Hutu rebels in the east of the country.
2017 African Union; Morocco The African Union readmitted Morocco after a 33-year absence, deferring the issue of Western Sahara for another day.
2017 Sierra Leone Human rights defender Abdul Fatoma appeared on a radio show in which he challenged the government and the anti-corruption commission to do more to make authorities accountable, in a system that he says answers only to itself. He was later arrested, bailed without charge, and summoned twice to parliament to answer questions, yet denied an audience when he showed up.
2017 South Sudan Fresh clashes broke out around Malakal, the latest turn in the struggle for the capital of the oil-producing Upper Nile region.

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