MPSHome Alumni Calendar Contact
This Day in History: January 20


1783 – The Kingdom of Great Britain signs a peace treaty with France and Spain, officially ending hostilities in the American Revolutionary War

1887 – The United States Senate allows the Navy to lease Pearl Harbor as a naval base.

1920 – The American Civil Liberties Union is founded.

1929 – In Old Arizona, the first full-length talking motion picture filmed outdoors, is released.

1937 – Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Nance Garner are sworn in for their second terms as U.S. President and U.S. Vice President, the first occasion a Presidential Inauguration to take place on 20 January following the ratification of the 20th Amendment

1942 – World War II: At the Wannsee Conference held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee, senior Nazi German officials discuss the implementation of the "Final Solution to the Jewish question".

1949 – Point Four Program a program for economic aid to poor countries announced by United States President Harry S. Truman in his inaugural address for a full term as President.

1954 – In the United States, the National Negro Network is established with 40 charter member radio stations.

1981 – Twenty minutes after Ronald Reagan was inaugurated, Iran released 52 American hostages.

1986 – In the United States, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated as a federal holiday for the first time.


1732 – Richard Henry Lee, American lawyer and politician, President of the Continental Congress (d. 1794)

1883 – Forrest Wilson, American journalist and author (d. 1942)

1888 – Lead Belly, American musician (d. 1949)

1894 – Harold Gray, American cartoonist, created Little Orphan Annie (d. 1968)

1896 – George Burns, American actor, comedian, and producer (d. 1996)

1920 – DeForest Kelley, American actor, singer, and screenwriter (d. 1999)

1930 – Buzz Aldrin, American colonel, pilot, and astronaut

1942 – Linda Moulton Howe, American journalist and producer

1956 – Bill Maher, American comedian, actor, and television host


1891 – Kalākaua of Hawaii (b. 1836)

1921 – Mary Watson Whitney, American astronomer and academic (b. 1847)

1947 – Josh Gibson, American baseball player (b. 1911)

1962 – Robinson Jeffers, American poet and philosopher (b. 1887)

1965 – Alan Freed, American radio host (b. 1922)

1984 – Johnny Weissmuller, American swimmer and actor (b. 1904)

2003 – Al Hirschfeld, American painter and illustrator (b. 1903)

2012 – Etta James, American singer-songwriter (b. 1938)