january-31

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January 31, 1919: Jackie Robinson Is Born

On this day in 1919, baseball great and civil rights icon Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia. Robinson smashed records and knocked down major social barriers on his way to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.  



Test your knowledge of Jackie Robinson and his contributions off the field with PBS Black Culture Connection’s Jackie Robinson quiz.

Photo Credit: National Baseball Hall of Fame Library, Cooperstown, NY.

Happy Birthday Jackie Robinson!  January 31, 1919 - October 24, 1972

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Former National Baseball League player, Jackie Robinson with his son.], 08/28/1963

Rowland Scherman, photographer.

Born 95 years ago today, Jackie Robinson broke the color line in Major League Baseball when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. This decision would not only integrate baseball, but would help the country work to achieve equal rights for all. Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., once commented to baseball pitcher Don Newcombe, “Don, you and Jackie will never know how easy you made my job, through what you went through on the baseball field.”

Before becoming famous, Lt. Jack R. Robinson was court-martialed at Camp Hood, Texas, because he refused to move to the back of the bus after being told to do so by a bus driver and disobeying an order from a superior officer. Robinson was acquitted of all charges and received an honorable discharge, but this was not the only experience he would have in fighting discrimination.

After retiring from baseball, Robinson turned much of his attention to civil rights issues. He wrote to several Presidents about the cause, and even attended the March on Washington.

Many of these milestone events from Robinson’s life are documented in primary sources from the National Archives.

via The Rest of 42’s Story: Jackie Robinson as Civil Rights Activist

A Day In The Life - 31st January 1967: The Beatles complete filming for the Strawberry Fields Forever promotional video.

The second day of filming for the Strawberry Fields Forever promotional clip takes place on this day at Knole Park in Sevenoaks, Kent.
On the previous day The Beatles intended to film a sequence in which Paul McCartney drops down from a dead oak tree, but poor light makes it not possible. That sequence, and several others, are filmed on this day instead.
In the final edit, the sequence is reversed so it looks as though McCartney leaps into the tree. The planned sequence involves him jumping from the tree and running backwards towards a piano.
The director of both the Strawberry Fields Forever and the Penny Lane clips is Peter Goldmann. The latter promo is later filmed on 5 February 1967.
During a break in the filming John Lennon buys a circus poster dating from 1843 in an antique shop. The poster, which advertises a circus in Rochdale, subsequently provides the inspiration for Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite! on the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

James Meredith’s Letter to the Registrar, University of Mississippi January 31, 1961, 1/31/1961

File Unit: Ole Miss Integration - James Meredith, 5/1961 - 1963
Series: Assistant Attorney General Mississippi Files, 7/1959 - 1963
Collection: The Personal Papers of Burke Marshall, 1944 - 2003

After receiving application materials from the University of Mississippi, Prospective student James Meredith sent this reply, explaining his situation and identifying himself as an African American.  A segregated all-white institution, the university rescinded its offer of acceptance to Meredith once it was apparent he was African American, starting a series of legal battles including the involvement of the U.S. Supreme Court and President John F. Kennedy.

Read more at Integrating Ole Miss from the John F. Kennedy Library

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January 31st 1543: Tokugawa Ieyasu born

On this day in 1543, Tokugawa Ieyasu was born as Matsudaira Takechiyo, son of a provincial lord. During this time, the nation was in the midst of violent civil war between territorial lords. His father needed an alliance with his neighboring Imagawa clan, and sent his son as hostage to secure their support. Upon his father’s death, the future shogun began leader of the Matsudaira and changed his name to Tokugawa Ieyasu. Ieyasu allied with Oda Nobunaga, and the two embarked on a series of military campaigns that expanded their wealth and influence. Upon Nobunaga’s death, Ieyasu allied with his successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi. When the latter died, Ieyasu emerged as the main military leader of Eastern Japan, and eventually went to war against the forces of the West. Ieyasu defeated his rivals in 1600, and three years later was appointed shogun of all Japan by Emperor Go-Yozei. The Tokugawa shogunate was thus established, and continued to rule Japan under Ieyasu’s successors after his death in 1616. The shogunate remained in power until 1867, which marked the beginnings of the modernising Meiji Restoration, ending the era of the samurai.

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January 31st 1606: Guy Fawkes executed

On this day in 1606, Guy Fawkes (or Guido Fawkes) was executed for plotting against the British Parliament and King James I. Fawkes was born in York in 1570 and soon converted to Catholicism, which prompted him to fight in the Thirty Years’ War on the side of Catholic Spain against Protestant Dutch reformers. His Catholic zeal led to his involvement with Robert Catesby in England, who planned to assassinate King James I and restore a Catholic monarchy by blowing up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament. The group leased an undercroft beneath the House of Lords and stockpiled gunpowder there. The authorities were alerted by an anonymous letter and arrested Fawkes, who was guarding the explosives, on 5th November 1605. He was questioned and tortured until he divulged the details of the Catesby plot against the monarchy - Fawkes’s signature on his confession is a barely-evident scrawl after his long torture. Fawkes and his co-conspirators were hanged in Westminster, London on January 31st 1606 in front of jeering spectators. The failure of the plot is commemorated in England every November 5th; this tradition began soon after the original plot and was even enshrined in law until 1859.